ColoradoPolitics.com’s Joey Bunch gave you an eyeful of the Denver Rustlers in his coverage of the civic group’s annual ride Tuesday from the Queen City of the Prairie to the sultry Steel City, home of the Colorado State Fair. Yet, no coverage of the annual charitable event — involving Colorado’s political potentates and business big shots — would be complete without getting Lynn Bartels’s take.
Owing to her decades in the news biz, the former political correspondent and now minister of information for the Secretary of State’s Office is on a first-name basis with many of the state’s high and mighty — and has a keen eye for capturing them in pictures and in print. She didn’t disappoint with her rendering of this year’s Rustler ride, which she posted on her blog. She included some great pics, which (apologies to Bartels) are reprised here — Lynn’s captions and all:
A do-gooder delegation of more than 300 state and metro Denver politicians and business leaders descended on Pueblo, the Home of Heroes, Tuesday for the Junior Livestock Auction at the Colorado State Fair.
The Denver Rustlers rode again for the 33rd year.
More than 300 Rustlers filled three luxury buses to Pueblo, with several statewide officials — Gov. John Hickenlooper, Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne and Secretary of State Wayne a Williams — doing their best to visit with everyone on board all three, making their way down the center aisles and switching buses at rest stops on the way.
Once at the fair, the Rustlers were joined by members of groups that have sprung up to give the Rustlers some competition– the Pikes Peak Posse, the Pigskin Buckaroos and the Fair Ladies, a bidding group from Pueblo and Otero counties.
“They grow the numbers every year and match or set records every year, and it all goes toward a great cause, which is paying for college for these kids,” said state Rep. Justin Everett, a Littleton Republican and a candidate for state treasurer.
Everett said he’s been to Pueblo with the Denver Rustlers going on eight years. “It’s great because everybody ignores partisanship and focuses on the kids and spending the day in Pueblo. Metro Denver legislators get to step outside their comfort zone.”
Wearing white Rockmount Ranch Wear shirts with flowered embroidery, they gathered Tuesday morning at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse in Greenwood Village. The posse loaded into buses for a trail ride to the fair to drive up the auction prices and reward young livestock-raising competitors.
“This is one pork project we can all support, and that’s getting down to the state fair and buying some of the livestock from these kids who have worked so hard around the four corners of Colorado,” said Sen. Cory Gardner, a Republican from Yuma, after marveling at the number of “Yuman beings” from his hometown in the crowd.
He was introduced by one of the founding Rustlers, businessman and philanthropist Larry Mizel, who joked, “We’ll take short comments, starting with Cory,” and the crowd groan and laughed. Mizel added of his own height, “our U.S. senator, one of the guy’s my size.”
Gov. John Hickenlooper, a former pub owner, turned the subject to beer, noting 33 years of the Rustlers made him think of 1933, the year the Volstead Act was repealed ending Prohibition. He noted that a bottle of Rolling Rock beer (brewed in St. Louis, by the way) has the number 33 on the front of the bottle and 33 words on back.
“Now I’m not superstitious, but I’m just saying 33 is a good number, so this better be a good trip,” the governor said before shoving off.
Hickenlooper told the dignitaries that the state fair is a “big deal,” and so is their annual trip.
“This expedition is a big deal for the entire state, because it allows us to support agriculture in a very powerful way,” he said.
Tim Schultz, another of the founding Rustlers, talked about how it all started. There was a great concern at the time about cancelling the junior livestock auction at the state fair, because the bidding seemed to be in a deep wane.
“This is one of the rare times folks from the metropolitan area can reach out and help kids from all across Colorado,” Schultz said.
The late Tom Farley, a former state legislator from Pueblo, approached Tim Schultz, who was then the state agriculture commissioner, along with Mizel and Denver dairy operators Dick and Eddie Robinson, who enlisted their friends.
State Rep. Steve Lebsock, a Democrat from Thornton running for state treasurer, is a veteran Rustler. He was born in Sterling and comes from generations of family farmers in northeast Colorado.
“I think it’s important as a legislator to understand all the different parts of our economy,” he said. “Because I was born in the rural part of Colorado, I get it.”
Rep. Paul Rosenthal, a very urban Democrat from Denver, said the event opens pathways of communication that hopefully pay off later when legislation, partisanship and pressure are intertwined in the House and Senate.
“This is so Colorado, people coming together,” he said at Del Frisco’s. “This is what we say we do, but this is us actually doing it. We bring people together, we have conversations across party lines, across socio-economic lines. It’s just people getting together. … This is that one time you chat with that person from the other side who you’ve meaning to get ahold of, but you just never were able to. Now you can. We’re together all day.”
Sen. Larry Crowder, a Republican from Alamosa, said good economic relationships are forged, as well, and rural Colorado needs both. He supported reclassifying the state’s hospital provider fee to an enterprise fund for two years. The legislation passed this year, when lawmakers understood more clearly that in big cities healthcare is big business. In rural Colorado they are a literal and economic lifeline.
“I’m from rural Colorado, so i don’t always understand how metro (areas) work,” he said outside Del Frisco’s. “I couldn’t imagine going to school with thousands of students. It’s a two-way street on a lot of these issues.”
State Sen, Tim Neville, a Republican from Littleton, built on that point, “We’re state legislators,” he said. “We should think of all of Colorado and what’s best for Colorado as one all the time. Things like this remind of us of that.”
His son, House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, a Republican from Castle Rock, had a simpler answer that nearly Republicans and Democrats could all agree with on a hot summer day.
“It’s always good to get out of Denver and see the rest of Colorado,” he said.
Would he buy a cow at the auction? No, he said, though his money was in the Rustlers pot to bid. He already has chickens that provide him eggs. The steak can come from elsewhere.
It’s that time of year again, when hundreds of business, political and community leaders dust off their straw hats and polish their cowboy boots — not to mention freshening up their iconic, embroidered western shirts — to get ready for the Denver Rustlers’ 33rd annual trip to the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo.
Twenty-five Years Ago this week in The Colorado Statesman … Forty Front Range bigwigs piled aboard a chartered Continental Airlines airplane loaded down with stuffed animals and other memorabilia for the brief return flight from Pueblo after yet another successful venture by the Denver Rustlers.
Success in Denver is defined more by how much you give back than by the amount you earn. Our community is brimming with individuals and organizations committed to making our city, state and the world a better place. Throughout the decades, in the face of economic ebbs and flows, few events have stood the test of time, proven more valuable and garnered more enthusiasm than the Denver Rustlers. Rooted in our Western history, the Rustlers draws people from every corner of state to the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo.
The Denver Rustlers launched three decade ago when an exceptional economic dip threatened to end the Junior Livestock Sale at the Colorado State Fair. The sale marks a significant milestone for 4-H kids and the Future Farmers of America, as they learn the details and value of the rural economy, crucial ranching and business skills.
DENVER — Good morning, and happy Hump Day! Your Statesman team was on hand for the whirlwind Denver Rustlers trip to the Junior Livestock Sale at the State Fair in Pueblo yesterday — and wow, just about everybody who's anybody in Colorado politics was there.
Here comes the who's-who list. Ready? OK, here goes ... Donning the Rustlers signature western wear for a good cause yesterday were Gov. John Hickenlooper, Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne, Secretary of State Wayne Williams, State Treasurer Walker Stapleton, Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, Sen. Michael Bennet, Sen. Cory Gardner, U.S. Reps. Diana DeGette, Jared Polis, Mike Coffman, Scott Tipton and Ed Perlmutter, Colorado Auto Dealers Association President Tim Jackson, state Reps. Angela Williams, Clarice Navarro, Rhonda Fields, Beth McCann, Steve Lebsock, Dan Pabon, state Sens. Mike Johnston, Ray Scott, Beth Martinez Humenik, Jerry Sonnenberg, Bill Cadman, Kevin Grantham, Mark Scheffel, Chris Holbert, Jack Tate, Larry Crowder and Leroy Garcia, to name just a few. Many, many more were there, including many candidates running for the office. Former state Rep. Bob Gardner and El Paso County Commissioner Mark Waller were also both at the Junior Livestock sale riding for the Pikes Peak Posse.
Hewlett-Packard CEO and politico Meg Whitman even stopped by the Rustler's lunch at Del Frisco's before the group departed for the Livestock show in Pueblo. Noticeably absent were U.S. Rep. Ken Buck and his conservative star friend in town for the day, U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, but they were busy fundraising and rallying.
DENVER — Good morning and HAPPY MONDAY! Too loud? Sorry. The weekend was full of canvassing, door knocking, phone calling, barbecuing and other campaign events across Colorado — including visits from two women in national politics carrying torches on opposite sides of the island, Carly Fiorina and Jill Stein. And, of course, there was the legislative BBQ at the Colorado State Fair, House Majority Leader Crisanta Duran's Annual Birthday Bash and the Independence Institute's big yearly Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms Party. Whoo! You're no doubt exhausted — but alas, it's another work day! With the kids back in school, we are now officially in the heart of presidential general election campaign season. All you campaign circus performing gypsies, enjoy those larger than average paychecks — or that peaked interest in your race for village dog catcher — while it lasts. OK, I understand you want to gallivant around the neighborhood throwing unruly animals in jail, but where do you stand on the Clinton Foundation? What about Trump's immigration stance? Remember, it only happens but once a quadrennial. Good luck this week.
DENVER — Good day to all you Colorado politicos. A confirmed earthquake hit southern Colorado yesterday along the Colorado/New Mexico border south of Pueblo, measured by USGS at 3.9 in magnitude. This has induced speculation among some wonks that the incident is somehow related to the potentially earthshaking Senate District 35 battle between two Wild West giants, Sen. Larry Crowder versus Sheriff Jim Casias, or perhaps the 2016 Republican primary shock ousting of House District 64 Rep. Tim Dore, but we will leave that to the conspiracy theorists and late night talk radio hosts. And then, of course, others believe the quake might have to do with the army of Denver Rustlers preparing their journey to the state fair while still other, more scientific types speculate it may have to do with wastewater injection in the area.
Read on for more earth shattering news in Colorado politics today ...