Colorado State University (CSU) has a history with the National Western Stock Show (NWSS) dating back to the first Stock Show in 1906. From exhibiting the first Grand Champion steer at the Stock Show, to becoming a key partner in the reimagining of the National Western Center more than 100 years later, CSU is proud to honor its agricultural roots, and to provide educational outreach and cutting-edge research – recognized by Carnegie as one of nation’s highest research activity institutions.

1870

Territorial Bill authorizes creation of Colorado Agricultural College (CAC), a land-grant institution, in Fort Collins.

1899

National Exhibition of Range Cattle is held January 24-26 in Denver.

1902

Colorado Cattle and Horse Growers Association hosts a small livestock show in November.

1903

The success of the Colorado Cattle and Horse Growers Association’s livestock show triggers the development of an animal husbandry department at CAC.

1905

On March 10, the Colorado Cattle and Horse Growers Association elects Elias M. Ammons as president of the Western Stock Show in recognition of his outstanding service to the range industry and his influence in solving range problems and meeting new conditions.

In December 1905, the “executive committee” meets at the Denver stockyards to complete plans and the final details for the Western Stock Show. Harry Petrie, superintendent of the Denver Stockyards, is selected as the show’s general manager. Two committees are established: a tent committee and a judging committee. The tent committee members are Ammons, Petrie, G. W. Ballentine, J. S. Temple, and George W. Vallery. The judging committee members are Petrie, A. E. deRicqles, Harry Gebhard, Fred P. Johnson, and J. W. Springer.

1906

The first National Western Stock Show is held from January 29 to February 3. During the show an organizational meeting is held and the Western Stock Show Association (WSSA) is born. The name is selected on the motion of Dean W. L. Carlyle of the CAC. Today, the WSSA operates the NWSS, the Denver County Fair, and the All-Star Rodeo each year.

The first grand champion steer exhibited at the Stock Show comes from CAC. The 1,150-pound Shorthorn steer is bought by a Denver butcher, James D. Miller, at a record price of 33 cents per pound.

CAC wins $475 for first prizes in Aberdeen-Angus bulls and females, two-year-old Shorthorns, and the Grand Champion Shorthorn Bull. Complaints that the Aggies (CAC) capture so many awards lead to a rule disqualifying them from competing in future shows. The rule is not enforced.

A trainload of students from CAC in Fort Collins arrives on the first day of the NWSS and spends the full day “practicing judging and practical look studying of the animals.”

Alpha Zeta, the first honorary fraternity at CAC, forms to recognize scholarly achievement in agriculture.

1907

George E. Morton accepts an animal husbandry position at CAC and soon after becomes the head of the department and a member of the governing board of the NWSS.

1908

The WSSA reelects Ammons as president for another term.

1912

After campaigning on a platform emphasizing the need for development of Colorado’s natural resources in agriculture and mining, Ammons is elected Governor of Colorado by one of the largest pluralities ever given a governor in the state’s history.

The Livestock Club at CAC is founded by Roud McCann of the Animal Husbandry Department.

1914

CAC has its first livestock judging team at the Stock Show – a tradition that continues today.

1922

CAC debuts the Pure Seed Show in Colorado Springs and quickly moves it to the Stock Show.

Beginning in the 1920s, faculty from CAC serve on special committees for the Stock Show.

1925

Elias Ammons dies in May at the age of 64.

W.L. Petriken, president of the Great Western Sugar Co., fine horse fancier, and exhibitor in the Horse Show, replaces Ammons as president of the WSSA.

1929

The first female livestock judge at the Stock Show is Evangeline Simmonds from CAC’s livestock judging team.

1934

CAC creates the Little National Western for young children to participate in the Stock Show – a tradition that continues today. Students gain experience in training, grooming, and showing livestock.

Beginning in the 1930s, members of CAC’s Livestock Club serve as ushers at the Stock Show. Members currently include John Matsushima, a professor emeritus in the Department of Animal Sciences at CSU.

1935

John T. Caine, the general manager of the NWSS, with the assistance of C. W. Ferguson, extension director at CAC, starts the “Catch-it and you can have it” contest, now known as “Catch-a-Calf.”

1941

Well-known herdsman George Lawrence, of Colorado State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts (or Colorado A&M, formerly CAC), shows the Reserve Grand Champion Steer, an Angus bred by Albert Kniese of Anton, Colorado.

1950s

Colorado A&M graduates three of the past presidents of the National Cattlemen’s Association: Robert D. Josserand (1953), Don B. Smith (1956), and Merlyn E. Carlson (1957).

1954

The Fed Beef Contest is inaugurated, replacing the carload fat cattle classes.

1965

The Fed Beef Contest increases in entries and becomes one of the major practical education highlights under John Matsushima of CSU (formerly Colorado A&M), the Colorado Cattle Feeders, and the Colorado Beef Board. Matsushima continues to this day as honorary chairman of the Fed Beef Contest.

1983

NWSS president Nicholas R. Petry announces the creation of a National Western Scholarship Trust, with eight annual $1,000 four-year grants to students attending CSU and other higher education institutions.

1989

NWSS President Patrick Grant heads up “National Western 2000,” a fundraising group organized to support the City of Denver ballot proposal for a $30 million NWSS building expansion.

1990

Robert E. Moreng becomes the first CSU faculty member to be elected to the Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame.

2001

Patrick Grant joins the CSU System Board of Governors.

2002

Albert C. Yates, the 12th president of CSU, receives the Stock Show’s Citizen of the West award.

2005

Dr. Robert Shideler, NWSS scholarship committee chairman and CSU alumnus and retired faculty member, receives the Livestock Leader of the Year award from the University’s Department of Animal Sciences. Twenty-seven CSU students receive $2,500 scholarships from the Stock Show.

2006

The NWSS celebrates its Centennial anniversary.

2014

The WSSA, CSU, City and County of Denver, Denver Museum of Nature & Science, and History Colorado sign a Memorandum of Understanding to work on re-envisioning the NWSS as a center for year-round learning, competition, the arts, and commerce.

2015

The Denver City Council approves the Master Planfor the new National Western Center.

2018

Dr. Tony Frank, the 14th president of CSU and chancellor of the CSU System, receives the Stock Show’s Citizen of the West award.

CSU’s history with the Stock Show continues – read through this site for the latest information on the CSU Campus at the National Western Center.