This weekend my family and I put on our Western garb and headed on down to the 105th annual National Western Stock Show and Rodeo. It’s a tradition we’ve been doing since 1983 but it’s an annual event that dates back to the time of the unsinkable Molly Brown.
I savored every minute at the Stock Show. I enjoyed sitting next to real cowboys and learning that Colorado has its own variety of cattle which was developed here, Irish Blacks. Those real cowboys had traveled all the way here by truck from Alberta Canada to pick up an Irish Black bull. They were taking him back this morning on the 20-hour trip home.
Denver is a relatively new city with towering skyscrapers, trendy lofts, and ever-expanding suburbs. But once a year we collectively remember our Western Heritage when the National Western Stock Show And Rodeo have come to town.
Cattle are herded through the streets of downtown Denver on the fashionable 16th St Mall on their way to the stock show complex. We put on our hats and boots and join the real and urban cowboys down at the Coliseum.
The hundred and fifth annual National Western Stock Show And Rodeo came to its conclusion last night. Hundreds of thousands of locals and out-of-town visitors had attended the event this year. Local hotels and restaurants were jam-packed. Denver’s bleak January weather seemed to give way to the warmth of large crowds celebrating an American tradition, the culture of the American ranch.
Of course, I liked the bull riding best but so do most guys. This year the Mexican Charro was a huge highlight displaying horse and the ropes skills I’ve never seen before. As usual, the young Westernaires preformed synchronized horse skills that were truly amazing. The all-volunteer organization is comprised of high-school riders who have performed all around the country but live right here in Jefferson County.
When I started attending the Stock Show a guy was a little corny. But the more I go the more I realize a lot of our traditions might seem corny but they created a necessary culture to be able to live on land and raise animals. After all, that’s how the American West began and what sustained even to this day. Agriculture is still the number one economic activity in the state of Colorado.
The National Western Stock Show and Rodeo is a truly unique event. If you live in Denver or considering a Denver relocation, I hope you get to see it someday. It will be here next January and hopefully for many more to come. If you’ve never been to it you’re missing a part of the American West and our common heritage.