Beef lovers and traditional westerners rejoice: The 114th Annual National Western Stock Show is finally here.

Since 1906 the National Western Stock Show has served as the must-attend livestock, rodeo and horse show for folks who appreciate the good ole' western traditional lifestyle. The nonprofit organization hosts 4-H competitions, live rodeos and livestock shows throughout the 15-day-long exhibition.

To get things started on Thursday was the annual National Western Stock Show Kick-off Parade, presented by Arrow Electronics.  The parade was set to consist of cowboys and cowgirls geared out with their steers out for a traditional cattle drive through the downtown streets of Denver.

National Western Stock Show announced on Dec. 11 that Colorado businessman and stock show enthusiast Jake Jabs was chosen to be the 2020 Parade Grand Marshal.

The parade was scheduled to start at noon on Thursday and follows a route down 17th Street, ending at 17th and Tremont.

The National Western Stock Show announced in September that Marcy and Bruce Benson have been chosen as the 2020 Citizens of the West, another annual Western Stock Show tradition.

"This prestigious annual award recognizes those who embody the spirit and determination of Western pioneers and perpetuate the West’s agriculture heritage and ideals. A committee of community leaders selects recipients," said the stock show on its website.

The National Western Stock Show will host nearly 30 professional rodeo performances, world-class horse shows and the “Super Bowl” of livestock shows.  There will be more than 15,000 head of livestock and horses that pass through the grounds, with 25 different breeds of cattle and six other species, including miniature cattle, goats, lambs, alpacas, llamas and poultry.

For especially spirited cowboys and cowgirls, calf-wrangling events and rodeo reining invitationals with cash prizes are scheduled.

The National Western Stock Show is Colorado's largest western trade show. It attracts around 650,000 people to the Denver area every year.

On its website, National Western Stock Show says that it "strives to strengthen American agriculture through enrichment programs and youth education in livestock, equestrian, farming, ranching, animal awareness and appreciation.  We celebrate western lifestyles, our communities, provide life-long memories and family traditions.

The National Western Stock Show will drive $120 million in economic impact to the Denver Metro area this January and raise more than $500,000 for the National Western Scholarship Trust, which distributes more than 100 scholarships to students studying in the fields of agricultural sciences, rural medicine and veterinary medicine.  Grounds admission and event tickets are on sale at nationalwestern.com and all King Soopers locations.

To lovers of the Old West, beef aficionados and perhaps even those looking to learn more about showing livestock, the National Western Stock Show calls. The fun began Thursday and continues until Jan. 26.

cburney@ljtdmail.com