It’s been a while since Denver had dirt roads or watched herds of cattle pass on through to Wyoming. The tradition is upheld every year with a small herd of steers parading through downtown and kicking off the annual National Western Stock Show. It’s not the biggest on the national circuit but it’s top five for sure, and I had to check it out.I
The Stock Show started in 1906 and has been running, continually, for the last 105 years. To put that in perspective, the Capitol building was built in the 1890’s and Sante Fe Dr. was the first paved road in CO in 1916. FFA (Future Farmers of America) supplies some of the contestants and show stock is a-whole-nother bread.
Walking in at 7:30 has it’s pro’s and con’s; it quieter and you have the place to yourself (mostly). On the other hand, if you order two beers at once because the beer cart is closing, expect to get judged. It’s nothing you wouldn’t expect and something about it felt just like home. Most of the livestock is showed in the basement and held in trailers outside so if you’re looking for that homey smell, then wander around.
Downstairs is huge; it houses a livestock prep area where manicured sows, bulls, all manor of goats and sheep, horses are held for the arena showing. I saw the prettiest cow I’ve ever seen. It reminded me of a dog show except the end result is usually hamburgers. We missed any bulls in the main arena but stumbled onto a herd of drunk Texans and an interesting, actual, dog show.
These dogs, are not your run of the mill mutts, they are working dogs. Mastiff’s, Rottweiler, Husky Wolf beautiful beasts, worked out and trained to pull enormous amounts of weight, at least for dogs. A hardworking American could get 1500 pounds moving on a sled but it’s not easy and dogs don’t understand the concept of momentum.
All in all, it was a fantastic show and the smell alone was worth the visit. Rounding out the evening, two rhinestone boot-clad cowgirls declared my friend and I too adorable to belong at a stock show and tried to adopt us for the evening. Pretty soon everything besides the Stock Yard Bar was closing and we headed out. There are rodeos and events all week, so go. It’ll remind you of home, or your grandparents.