Opening day of this year's National Western Stock Show was warm and sunny, nothing like my first experience visiting the stockyards years ago when I had to dig out my large down coat to avoid freezing while taking pictures and gathering audio for a story about perfectly-trimmed cattle.
 
That year, I learned what people meant when they talked about "Stock Show weather".   

But this past weekend's warmth probably contributed to the show's second highest opening day in history.  

National Western officials say 44,290 people came out Saturday, just 327 fewer tickets sold than 2008's record-breaking first-day attendance. 

I don't mind my boots coated in dung and straw, so I enjoyed a stroll through the stockyards to see the various breeds of cattle getting prepped for showing.

Angus, Limousin, Lim-Flex: their caretakers constantly brush bits of bedding off their coats.  

All types of horses were up for auction at Saturday night's horse sale and every year I'm amazed at the calmness of the well-trained mares and geldings as their trainers show the crowd how giving they can be.  

Alpacas and llamas filled the small livestock pens Saturday with their owners busily shuttling them back and forth between their pens and the show floor.  

Every year I urge others to go out and experience this event.  After all, if you tire of the animals, you can browse through rows of colorful cowboy boots and ranch-wear studded with rhinestones.

But I never get tired of the animals.