Luxe Life Blog
Photo Gallery: NFR athletes play with pain, love and passion
First let’s say a big thank you to the cowboys and cowgirls of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo who by Saturday night will have boosted our economy by more than $50 million! For 10 days and another 10 sold-out performances, Las Vegas has truly been Cowboy Town -- and we’ve enjoyed having y’all in town!
Congratulations on 227 consecutive sold-out shows to date here, and we hope you’ll continue chalking up those kinds of records through 2014 as the current contracts stands. I hope you’ll renew it and then stay another decade, as there’s no better place on Earth to perform, stay and play!
Our contributing photographer Tom “Snap Happy” Donoghue was back behind the lens last night for his Day 7 report. We only have two more competition days remaining -- tonight and tomorrow -- before the big finals Saturday that determines the winning riders for the $5.5 million purse.
Each day we’ve happily posted Tom’s new photos of the night-before action and then added all of them to an ever-expanding album you’ll find as the ultimate souvenir on our Photo File pages -- just click on the button in the menu above!
For Wear Your Pink Night during Day 7 of the NFR, country soul singer Ronnie Milsap opened the evening’s excitement with Whitney Duncan, who performed the national anthem. It was the first time that Tom was permitted by NFR officials to go right behind the chutes with the riders -- and their animals spoiling for a fight! This is a rarely seen set of action photos from this vantage point.
Tom told me: “I was literally two feet from the bucking horses and the bulls. I have never felt so much tension and pressure in a photo shoot before. It was so exciting!
“The cowboys who help the riders in and on the animals are under so much pressure. These riders are the real athletes of today -- they have to ‘play with pain’ or no payday, unlike some high-dollar athletes of baseball or football who sit out with a hangnail and still get paid. If these cowboys want to feed their families, they have to take part -- it’s their absolute love and passion of the sport.”
In addition to last night’s activities at the Thomas & Mack Center, country music artist Cody McCarver and former Hawaiian Tropic model turned country recording artist Amanda Henkel gave a rodeo song and dance party at the Planet Hollywood Miracle Mile hot spot Hawaiian Tropic Zone.
Now that we’re in the wind-down stage of the NFR visit, the big guns come in for the final weekend of star-power entertainment. Country funnyman Bill Engvall starts a two-night comedy gig at Treasure Island, and the former nightclub DJ from Dallas turned best-selling author gets right to the bottom of blue-collar comedy, which has fans in hysterics whether live or on his TV shows.
With 50 best-selling albums to their credit, country music kings and icons The Charlie Daniels Band play those special Southern bluegrass sounds at the Golden Nugget for two nights. Gary Allan will hopefully blow “Smoke Rings in the Dark” for two nights at the House of Blues in Mandalay Bay. His seven albums and greatest hits CD produced 21 singles on the Billboard Hot Country charts, three of which reached No. 1.
And Texas Opry circuit star and country singer Matt Jenkins, who is a favorite of Keith Urban and Taylor Swift, performs at the Canyon Club in the Four Queens downtown.