December has become one of the "busiest months of the year in Las Vegas, fueled in large part" by the popularity of the National Finals Rodeo, according to Todd Dewey of the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL. The 10-day event last year drew 175,275 fans to Thomas & Mack Center and "generated a nongaming economic impact of $60.1 million." Las Vegas Events President Pat Christenson said, "I would argue the experience around the NFR is more unique and targeted than the Super Bowl or World Series. ... It's like a championship sports event with a 10-day Coachella on steroids." The Las Vegas Convention Center will be "the site of a pair of large-scale events open to the public: the long-running Cowboy Christmas, a 300,000 square-foot Western shopping experience; and FanFest, a new, 100,000 square-foot interactive experience featuring replicas of the NFR arena and an Old West town." The NFR is the "most valuable client to the Thomas & Mack Center, selling out 17,000-plus seats for 10 straight nights in each of the past 25 years." Thomas & Mack Center Exec Dir Mike Newcomb said, "It's the cornerstone of our operation, that's for sure. It's the biggest event we do in scope and magnitude, days and manpower, as well as the economic impact for the city and university." The contract between the NFR and Las Vegas Events "runs through 2014, and negotiations to renew it have already begun" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 12/5). In Las Vegas, Dave Toplikar writes, "Expect to see seven MGM Resorts properties going cowboy." MGM Resorts Int'l Exec Dir of Event Marketing & Sponsorships Phil Cooper said, "From retail outlets to restaurants, nearly every aspect of the MGM Resorts Las Vegas experience is enhanced for those 10 days." Cooper said that "to varying degrees, each resort will create experiences and special offers around the Western lifestyle to cater to rodeo fans." Cooper added that some of the "hottest country music artists and 'blue-collar comedy' favorites, including Rodney Carrington and Ron White, are booked at lounges and showrooms at MGM properties" (LAS VEGAS SUN, 12/5).