Preserving Western Roots

Here in Colorado, Western culture is part of our treasured heritage.

The National Western Stock Show in Denver kicks off with a parade through downtown Denver. Photo by Visit Denver
The National Western Stock Show in Denver kicks off with a parade through downtown Denver. Photo by Visit Denver

No place ever stays the same. Experiences, people, and even natural events leave their mark on ever-changing cultures and landscapes.

My own hometown is no different. I grew up in the American state of Colorado, smack-dab in the middle of the United States. Colorado’s semi-arid climate was not the most welcoming, but the rich veins of gold and silver in the foothills and Rocky Mountains drew thousands of miners looking to get rich. Ranchers and farmers soon followed, and western culture become entrenched in our roots.

Today, our capital city of Denver is one of the fasted growing cities in America. Yet even with a population of almost three million, it still retains a small town feel. Western culture mixes easily with vibrant companies leading the pack in space exploration, high-tech and energy. And those ranchers and farmers? Well, they’re still here and thriving.

Each January, the National Western Show has a parade through Denver to kick off the event. Photo by Janna Graber
Each January, the National Western Show has a parade through Denver to kick off the event. Photo by Janna Graber

Each January, Denver celebrates its western roots at the National Western Stock Show, a three-week event honoring the country’s Old West Heritage. With more than 15,000 animals and hundreds of events from rodeo and livestock competitions to bull riding, the National Western Stock Show is a treasured local tradition. Colorado cowboys compete with cowboys from Canada to Mexico and many of the states in between.

I’ve loved going to the National Western Stock Show for as long as I can remember. Even though the January weather was (and still is) always cold, my family would bundle up, pull on our cowboy boots and head to the stock show. Today, I still love the smell of the animals, the thrill of the rodeo and feeling close to the many other Coloradans who cherish the event just like I do.

The annual event kicks off with a National Western Stock Show & Rodeo Parade. Yesterday, like many others, I bundled up to watch the spectacle of a herd of Texas Longhorn being driven through Downtown Denver. Here are a few of my favorite photos.

National Western Stock Show Parade
An old timer leads his dogs and burro in the annual parade. Photo by Janna Graber

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