National Finals Rodeo took over Las Vegas for the first half of December.
Between December 7-16th, Las Vegas went country when the 65th Annual Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) came to town. The event, which just signed a 10-year deal to remain in Las Vegas, had a record-breaking turnout this year with over 17,000 fans attending each night, on average.
The NFR has sold out 360 consecutive performances and attracts the top 15 contestants in bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping, saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping, barrel racing, and bull riding.
The NFR Held a Nationwide National Anthem Contest
Prior to the 2023 event, the NFR held a National Anthem contest where US residents of all ages could enter to win roundtrip airfare to and from Las Vegas, two tickets to the rodeo, two nights of accommodations, and the opportunity to sing the National Anthem during the event.
To enter, applicants had to submit entry forms and a video of themselves singing the Star Spangled Banner a capella between August and October of this year. The selection of the two Grand Prize winners was left up to the public as they were able to view and vote for their favorites on the NFR Experience website.
6-Year-Old Christopher Sverdsten Sings the National Anthem for Round 5 of NFR
One young singer won over the hearts of Americans. 6-year-old Christopher Sverdsten from Northern Idaho went viral for his video singing the National Anthem at the Kootenai County Arena this past summer and became one of two NFR Grand Prize winners.
On Saturday, December 16th, Sverdsten took the stage in front of a sold-out rodeo crowd. Decked out in patriotic garb, he sang his heart out and showed a great amount of courage for someone so young.
The Coeur d’Alene Press reported that Christopher is no stranger to performing and often sings at events in his area. In addition, his father is a musician and they often sing together. His dad shared:
“It just amazes us how confident he is in the spotlight. No hesitation, minimal nerves, and just so genuinely happy to get to do what he is doing. He loves to perform, and we’re all lucky enough to be a part of it.”
See the video of Christopher singing the National Anthem at NFR below!