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Courtesy of National Western Stock Show.

As the National Western Stock Show begins its transformation into a larger, more comprehensive, entertainment and educational center, a few things will change.

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Courtesy photo.

To NWSS President and CEO Paul Andrews, 2019 is the final year the historic Yards will be in its current configuration before being moved as part of the redevelopment of the National Western Center in Denver, Colorado.

“This is ‘The Year of The Yards,’ I’d have to say,” Andrews said.

The Yards will move to a temporary position farther north of the current location in 2020 and 2021. Then in 2022, they will be in a new, permanent, position sitting north of the current Yards.

“The new Yards are moving to historic grounds,” Andrews said. “At one time, they were all the way up to Race Court and beyond. The Yards are going where they once used to be.”

With all the demolition of old buildings around the National Western Center as reconfiguration and reconstruction begins, there will be more parking than ever.

“These lots will have shuttles to the front door and some will be close walking distance. We will use the lot of the old 7-Eleven store at 47th and Brighton for a new dropoff area for Uber and Lyft drivers. Buildings north and west will have parking as we prepare for their demolition,” Andrews said.

“As we prepare to move Interstate 70 underground, 46th Avenue will be closed from York Street to Brighton Boulevard. That’s a cut-through for a lot of veteran attendees, but that will be closed. So, stay on I-70 and exit at Brighton Boulevard.”

All of the roads around the grounds will be open, Andrews added. There might be a section of sidewalk under repair, but all lanes will be open on Brighton from downtown all the way north.

“Brighton Boulevard will be a brand new and better experience for everyone,” Andrews said.

While The Yards will be completed by mid-2021 in time for 2022, other new facilities are taking shape. The new Legacy Building, Equestrian Center and Livestock Center will be completed by mid-2023 in time for 2024. The City and County of Denver has mapped out the process of how it is going to start accepting bids on a new arena to replace the Denver Coliseum.

“It’s part of the timeline for Expo Hall and Rodeo Arena to see bids in mid-2019,” Andrews said. “How long the rest takes is, in part, up to the city.”

One more thing that should make show patrons smile is that the walkway under the BNSF Railway tracks has been widened.

“We’ve significantly improved the width of the cut-through between The Hill and The Yards. The area for both livestock and people is far larger than last year. You’ll be really surprised the first time you go through there how much easier that will be. I know I was,” Andrews said. “That’s good news.”

Denver’s National Western runs Jan. 8 to 27.

Larry Dreiling can be reached at 785-628-1117 or ldreiling@hpj.com.

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