Explainer: Complex vs. Center

It’s complicated … er, complex.

Rule of thumb:

Read on….

map of national western center and national western complex

expo hall and events centerFor more than 100 years, the site in north Denver that’s east of the South Platte River, north of I-70  and west of Brighton Boulevard has been home to the National Western Stock Show.

The location is known to Denverites as the National Western Complex. It houses the National Western Stock Show every January, and many other events throughout the year. The complex includes the Hall of Education, Events Center, and the historic 1909 Stadium Arena. The buildings and grounds are managed and operated year-round by Stock Show staff.

With a name this nice, they’d use it twice.

rendering of stockyards event center buildingIn 2015, when the partners were envisioning a year-round campus, they decided with a name this nice, they’d use it twice.

The new National Western Center’s modern and purpose-built facilities will become the new home of the National Western Stock Show for the next 100 years. Eventually, the new buildings will replace the older ones*, marking the end of the National Western Complex.

But the future National Western Center isn’t just new buildings. It’s a destination unto itself. It’s a mission-oriented place that will be lively and active all year round — with new events and experiences around every corner. The center’s staff has already begun to plan for programs and events that will happen here. (Here’s what to expect when it’s complete in 2024.)

So, a good rule of thumb for now is: The facilities you’ve known for years comprise the National Western Complex. The new and under-construction buildings are part of the future National Western Center.

Of course, there’s more to it than that, but … it’s complicated.

Complex vs. Center: What will it be in 2022?

The 2022 National Western Stock Show will deliver an even better experience than in past years. While still held at the National Western Complex, visitors will get their first taste of the new facilities on the west side of the site at the future National Western Center!

New in 2022:

  • CSU Spur. At least one building at CSU Spur will be active and open to the public.
  • New stockyards. Home of the NWSS Yards Show in January. With plazas for gathering, and opportunities for year-round activation.
  • The new Stockyards Event Center. Site of auctions and other Stock Show events, and designed for year-round use for performances.


* But not the historic ones! These beauties aren’t going anywhere.


Internet Explorer versions 8 and 7 are currently not supported by this website.