Winning isn't everything. We've all heard this expression a million times, but it really hit home for this group of Grand Champion hogs at the National Western Stock Show, sometime during the mid-20th century in a picture shot by Lloyd Warren Rule.
These winning hogs were, of course, bound for an appointment with the butcher. Fortunately, most folks who've visited the National Western Stock Show since its opening in 1906 have had a much better time.
The National Western Stock Show, a true Denver tradition, hasn't always been as national, and international, as it is today. In fact, for its first two years of operation it only catered to Western ranchers and stockmen. By 1908, however, the show was expanded to include international entries. In 1931, the Stock Show added its now ubiquitous rodeo. The National Western Stock Show Parade, which literally turns the Mile High City into a cow town, wasn't added until 1984.
During its 110-year history, the National Western Stock Show has produced winners of all kinds including rodeo champions; 4-H kids who raise champion steers; and, of course, the unlucky Grand Champions who bypass agricultural college and a big night in Downtown Denver for a date with the slaughterhouse and trip to King Soopers.
The 2017 National Western Stock Show runs from January 7-22 at the National Western Complex.