DENVER (KDVR) — The National Western Stock Show is back in the saddle again this year, but worker and supply shortages, plus decreased attendance have made an impact on the nonprofit event.

There were only two times the National Western Stock Show did not happen. It didn’t happen in 1915 due to hoof and mouth disease, and the other cancellation was in 2021.

“The financial hit we took was over $24 million that the organization usually brings in,” said National Western Stock Show President and CEO Paul Andrews.

This year, the historic event is open for business, thanks in part to a grant from the state of Colorado.

 “The Colorado Legislature, through their great leadership and the governor granted us $3.5 million of operational money,” said Andrews.

Hungry pigs squealing in the early morning are music to the ears of Kylie Kaiser from Eaton. The money she will earn from selling her male pig Yenni will go toward her future.

“Yeah I am really excited. If I make a sale, I will be really grateful and blessed just because that money will go towards my college education,” said Kaiser.

While attendance was 100% better than last year, the numbers are still lower than pre-COVID — down by about 50,000 people.

Attendance may be down, but shopping enthusiasm may be heating up.

“We are having a great year this year. Hat sales have gone up really well,” said Rick Bishop of Western Tradition Hats from Cheyenne, Wyo.

Willa Rice from Cortez spent $525 on a new cowboy hat.

“You could always use more,” said Rice.

We could not agree more.