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Trail Rides: Denver’s multiple personality disorder

Paul Marchant for Progressive Cattleman Published on 06 February 2018
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It seems that no matter where I go, or whomever I talk to, everyone thinks that his particular corner of the world has the worst or most unique weather in the world. People in my home country of southern Idaho are fond of whining about the wind, especially in the springtime.

My counter to those complaints is that they should glance to the southeast at Wyoming – at any time of the year.

Speaking of schizophrenic weather, though, I believe my favorite climatic bipolar city of all time is Denver – more precisely, Denver in January. Denver’s flaky weather patterns didn’t disappoint me for the 2018 version of the National Western Stock Show. The first couple of days I basked in 50-plus degree Chinook glory. On my last morning, I was greeted with a rather unpleasant 18 degree ice and snowstorm, accompanied by idiot drivers, whom you’d think would have a clue about treacherous winter driving. (You’d be wrong in that assumption.)

Although I had planned on an interruption in my annual pilgrimage to the National Western Stock Show this year, a last-minute change in my schedule allowed me to keep the string alive – unlike the Denver Broncos’ playoff appearances. I kind of missed the playoff buzz that lingers in the air during the National Western. It was conspicuous in its absence this year.

My usual Denver routine revolves around the early part of the show. My annual visits with Red Angus, Limousin and Gelbvieh folks like Jim Schott of South Dakota, Trent and Melissa Coleman of Montana, Samee Charriere of eastern Washington and Steve and Tracey Koester out of North Dakota were replaced by the company of Charolais, Simmy, Angus and Hereford crowds. I was thrilled to visit with Ned and Jan Ward from Wyoming, Texans, Bubba and Janie Bain and Jo Jo Carrales, and the Kaehler outfit out of Minnesota.

My best visit, though, was when I made a quick trip to neighboring Wyoming to check in on my brand-new, week-old granddaughter in Cheyenne. She was a great antidote for the famous Denver Crud.

The Rocky Mountain High I get from visiting Denver in January has nothing to do with the state of Colorado’s ridiculous love affair with Mary Jane. Instead, I am exhilarated and invigorated by good cattle and the people who tend them. Say what you will about the nonsense that often accompanies the show ring, there is nothing quite equal to the excitement in the air and the fancy cattle In the Yards and On the Hill in Denver in January.  end mark

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PHOTO: Nothing says January in Denver like a trip through the yards at National Western. Photos by Paul Marchant.