The National Western Stock Show has been a Denver tradition for more than 100 years and the opening parade where cattlemen drive livestock right down main downtown thoroughfares has long been a cherished event.
But while the stock show attracts about 650,000 visitors a year, not everyone has had a chance to catch the parade, which is usually in the middle of a weekday in downtown. Denverite chatted with a few first-timers at the 2020 parade. Spoiler: they were all happy and they all said they would come back if given the chance.
David Kroll, 55, just moved to Denver last year. He and his wife decided they wanted to see the “old Denver” at the stock show parade. “It smells really great,” he said, laughing before adding that the crowd at the parade was unusually polite.
“People are worried about standing in front of you and blocking your view,” he said. “That wouldn’t ever happen on the East Coast.”
Chris Mendez, 25, walked over to the parade from his office up the street with a coworker who had been to the parade many times before. He moved to Denver five years ago, but had never gotten the chance to see the parade.
“Oh my gosh, I love it,” he said. “I was born in Honduras and partially raised there and seeing how these animals are herded reminds me of my trips home to my dad’s ranch.”
Chamos Richardson, 6, came to the parade for the first time with his grandmother on a field trip from their home school in Aurora. Richardson said his favorite part of the parade was the longhorn bulls because they look like Ferdinand, a cartoon bull. He also liked the bands and the drums and was excited that there were “teens in the band.”
“It’s cool that kids do that too,” he said.
Sandy Confetti, 70, came out from her home in Broomfield to attend the parade. She said that she had been meaning to come see the parade for many years. She volunteers with the Therapeutic Riding Center and loves horses.
“It’s inspired me to want to go to the stock show and watch,” she said. “I’m amazed at all the animals and respect them for what they do every year.”
Matt Brooks has regularly attended the stock show parade over the years, but brought Sammi Brooks, 7, and Jacoby Robinette, 11, for their first parade this year.
“I thought it was a really great parade,” Robinette said. “The longhorns were amazing. They came and there were like 20 of them all with their big horns.”
Brooks said her favorite part was seeing the military march at the beginning of the parade.