January 2011


Denver’s Cowtown Moment: Going to the Rodeo

Cowboy Hat!I went to see a rodeo at the National Western Stock Show with a friend my first day in Denver.

At its heart, Denver has a longstanding struggle over what best represents the city. On the one hand there are the gleaming skyscrapers and its reliance on the telecommunications and cable industry, and, on the other, there are the cows.

I suspect, given their druthers, most people in Denver would rather overlook the National Western Stock Show, an annual convention and rodeo with a 105 year long tradition held right in the heart of the city.

Let’s just say it’s a culture clash of sorts.

Teams of 6For 16 days Denverites see things they are not used to seeing: Men wearing Cowboy hats for functional reasons instead of fetish gear; Beef that’s still alive and mooing on the hoof; and the local news media turns itself inside out to get pictures of cute children staring in awe at horses.

Naturally there’s also reverse culture shock of sorts since most rodeo events are held in more rural areas, and for a lot of people attending the only time of the year they see a large urbanized area is when they go to the National Western Stock Show.

I vaguely remember that my first trip to the stock show was when I was in elementary school and that I went at least three or four more times whilst growing up.

This year, for the first time in years, I am in Denver during the stock show—which is why I went to the rodeo. However I’m not really an expert on the subject of rodeo—I only know that when you’re doing riding contests, one should ride for 8 seconds. So I really was out of my comfort zone, but it was fun.


Team calf roping!

Tie Down Roping

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