Vegas Weekender: Saddle up with this weekend’s major events


Whether you’re here for all the rodeo events or just looking forward to galloping away from your city, Las Vegas has more than enough events to get you moving.

nfrThe Wrangler National Finals Rodeo comes into town Thursday, Dec. 1 through Saturday, Dec. 10,  at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center. In addition to this week-and-a-half long competition, Las Vegas holds events on the Las Vegas Strip sure to unleash your inner cowboy (or cowgirl).

Throughout the rodeo, downtown’s Golden Nugget hotel transforms into country central. Performers include Clay Walker on Tuesday, Dec. 6 at 10 p.m.; Clint Black on Dec. 2 – 3 at 10 p.m.; Travis Tritt on Dec. 4 – 5 at 10 p.m. and Tanya Tucker on Dec. 7 at 10 p.m.

Garth Brooks sings his hits at Encore Las Vegas Dec. 2 – 3 at 7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Lee Ann Womack delights fans with her smooth vocals on Dec. 2 – 4 at the Orleans at 8 p.m. Other country sensations coming to town include Rodney Carrington at the MGM Grand, Dec. 4 – 10 at 10 p.m. and Dwight Yoakam at the Las Vegas Hilton, Dec. 6 – 7 at 10 p.m.


Garth Brooks is one of many country stars performing in town during NFR week.

PBR Rock Bar & Grill at Planet Hollywood’s Miracle Mile Shops offers 10 percent off your tab with an NFR ticket stub. Dinner options include Texas-style beef brisket or slow-smoked Memphis-style ribs.

Rockhouse Bar & Nightclub at Imperial Palace parties for NFR with a 10-day celebration. Thursday, Dec. 1 through Saturday, Dec. 10, your NFR ticket stub gets you free entry and $5 shots. Catch up on rodeo footage on 28 high-definition television screens throughout the bar and patio.

Known for its fine Western apparel and accessories, Pinto Ranch at Fashion Show Mall kicks off the celebration on Saturday, Dec. 3. For NFR, Pinto Ranch will have special trunk shows, runway shows and in-store celebrity appearances. Shoppers can enjoy makeovers, special merchandise and cocktails courtesy of Crown Royal. This event is from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. Meet country singer Christian Kane, known for the hit singles, “The House Rules” and “Let Me Go,” from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.



Fans of Michael Jackson can catch Cirque du Soleil's "Immortal Tour" on select days in December at Mandalay Bay.

In celebration of “Michael Jackson: The Immortal Tour,” Marlon, Jackie and Tito Jackson make a special appearance at the Michael Jackson Fan Fest on Sunday, Dec. 4 inside Mandalay Bay. Scheduled for Dec. 3 – 14 at Mandalay Bay, the Michael Jackson Fan Fest takes guests through the life of the superstar. See career memorabilia including costumes, awards, the famed rocket plane from the “Leave Me Alone” video, the Fantasy glove collection from the 1980s and much more.

This exhibit kicks off the “Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour” and can only be seen in Vegas. Fan Fest is open from noon to 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Dec. 3 – 4, 9 – 11 and 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Dec. 6 – 7, 13 – 14. Tickets start at $35.

On Saturday, Dec. 3 ladies can strap on a pair of heels and run the night away. Located at the Palazzo hotel, this year’s “Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Stiletto Dash” gives women the chance to kick up their (high) heels for charity. Hosted by Brooke Burke of “Dancing with the Stars,” the 50-yard dash begins at the Palazzo’s lobby and finishes in the casino near Laguna Champagne Bar. First place wins a $5,000 purse, but each runner receives an exclusive gift bag and an invite to attend a post-dash party.


Get in the holiday spirit and run for a good cause at Town Square's annual Santa run.

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Stiletto Dash kicks off the largest nighttime running event in the world taking place on Sunday, Dec. 4.  Starting and finishing at Mandalay Bay, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon begins at 4 p.m., with the half marathon starting at 5:30 p.m. 

Get pumped up before the run with the Health & Fitness Expo on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 2 – 3. Located at the Sands Expo & Convention Center, the event features more than 60 showcases featuring the latest in running gear, sports apparel, health and nutrition information and more.  This expo is free and open to the public.

If you want to run and be festive at the same time, the Las Vegas Great Santa Run at Town Square Las Vegas gives you the perfect opportunity. Put on your Santa suit and help raise money for local charities on Saturday, Dec. 3.


The King of Pop lives on in Cirque du Soleil’s “Michael Jackson – The Immortal World Tour” at Mandalay Bay. Combining dance, music and breathtaking special effects, fans of all ages can enjoy the spirit of the pop superstar. See the limited-time tour on Dec. 4, 6 – 11, 13 – 18, 22 – 27 at 7 p.m., with additional 10:30 p.m. shows Friday through Sunday.


Barry Manilow performs his classic hits at Paris Las Vegas.

If you’re here for a long weekend, Barry Manilow performs at Paris Las Vegas from Dec. 7 – 11. Show times are at 8 p.m.

“America’s Got Talent” season five winner Michael Grimm performs at the Flamingo, Dec. 1, 3 – 4, 6 – 8 at 7:30 p.m.

Ron White brings his “Blue Collar” comedy to the Mirage, Dec. 2 – 3 and 9 – 10 at 10 p.m. The laughs continue with Bill Engvall at Treasure Island on Dec. 1, 8 – 9 at 8 p.m.

See comedian Jeff Dunham perform “Controlled Chaos” at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 2 – 3. Show begins at 8 p.m. both nights.

Located inside The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel, “Holiday Havoc 2011” features Jane’s Addiction on Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. Special guests include The Naked and Famous and The Joy Formidable.



Tiësto gets the crowd hyped at Hard Rock this weekend.

Enjoy Whiskey Wednesdays at Andre’s inside the Monte Carlo, on Dec. 7. This restaurant features unlimited whiskey tasting. Tickets are $25 in advance and $35 at the door.

Tiësto hypes the crowd with a live concert on Saturday, Dec. 3 at the Joint inside the Hard Rock Hotel.

“Peepshow” star Holly Madison celebrates her birthday at Chateau nightclub inside Paris Las Vegas on Saturday, Dec. 3.


Vegas provides rest and relaxation time to complement your vacation. If you venture to Lake Las Vegas to escape the hype, Ravella spa celebrates the holidays with its “Sip & Spa” series every Thursday in December. On Thursday, Dec. 1 from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m., enjoy Appletinis & Aromatherapy. Mix a blend of essential oils into a body butter, which makes a great gift for a friend (or yourself).  Sip on a sweet apple martini for the ideal night out with the ladies. “Sip & Spa” is $25 and includes the treatment, cocktail and hors d’oeurves ($10 without the treatment).


Most folks take their Vegas jackpot winnings back home, but my dad decided to stay here instead. That’s how I left Seattle almost 20 years ago. I moved from greenery and rainy days to hot summers, palm trees and desert. As much as I love my hometown, I decided to stick around Vegas. This city just has so much to offer. You don’t even have to be a gambler, bar hopper or an all-night partier. I love Vegas for its awesome vegan-friendly spots, concerts, swanky hotel suites and spas so big, they’re like castles. The pool scene is not too shabby either, which is why I love taking stay-cations. Besides living it up -- Vegas style -- I’m hanging out with my adorable baby girl, two cats and super-fluffy Shih-Tzu. I’m also a huge fan of '90s music, shows and movies. You can find me on Google+ and Twitter.