Super Bowl of Rodeo

Hesston was all buckled up for the National Finals Rodeo. PLUS Click through a gallery of Hesston NFR belt buckles.

By Richard Banks

It’s the big roundup—the National Finals Rodeo (NFR)—where the best of the best come to vie for the title of world champion and their share of a $6 million purse. In 7 events, such as bareback riding, barrel racing and steer wrestling, cowboys and cowgirls from across the U.S. ride the national circuit all year for a chance to compete at the event.

Held in the Las Vegas area since 1985, the NFR not only plays host to contestants, but also to some 180,000 spectators, and for the first time in several years, Hesston by Massey Ferguson has returned as a sponsor of the rodeo.

Beginning in 1975, Hesston had sponsored the event, a partnership that has also featured the famed Hesston/ NFR belt buckle. First produced in 1974 as a Hesston-only promotion, the belt buckle has since featured a new design every year. It’s now considered one of the most sought-after and enduring series of buckles ever made, much like Hesston is to hay equipment and the NFR is to rodeos.

The 2011 NFR was held December 1-10 at the University of Las Vegas’ Thomas & Mack Center. If you missed this year’s big rodeo, Hesston and NFR plan to partner again in 2012, with dates tentatively set for December 6-15.