Before the National Western Stock Show & Rodeo throws open the gates on its 107th edition Saturday, Texas longhorns, cowboys, old tractors and more will take to the streets of downtown Denver on Thursday.

The annual parade begins at noon at Union Station and heads southeast on 17th Street for 14 blocks, disbanding near Broadway.

This year's parade grand marshal is Denver Mayor Michael Hancock.

Before, during and after the parade, folks are invited to enjoy the National Western Barbecue in the atrium of the Wells Fargo Building at 1700 Broadway. Serving starts at 11:30 a.m., and the $9 price benefits 4-H International.

The fundraiser also includes Western music and a VIP Western fashion show.

The stock show, held at the 100- acre National Western Complex at Interstate 70 and Brighton Boulevard, runs daily through Jan. 27.

On Wednesday, Hancock declared Thursday Dress Western Day to commemeratore the approaching show, an annual mayoral tradition.

"The National Western is a time-honored tradition and cherished cultural and economic asset for our entire state," Hancock said in a statement.

"With a reenergized sense of optimism for our shared future, Denver is excited to kick-off the stock show and rodeo's 107th year here in our Mile High City. I encourage our employees, residents and visitors to get into the 'cattle-drivin' ' spirit and join us in donning your best western wear on Thursday."


The Denver Post's special section with information about events, personalities and a map of the grounds will be published Thursday and available online, with news, features, articles, photos and videos added throughout the 16-day show.

Tickets, daily parking information and other details are available on the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo website.

More information, including tickets and parking, Full details of these events and more are available at the National Western website.