Denver Rustlers: another great Colorado tradition

Businessman Eddie Robinson, Secretary of State Wayne Williams and philanthropist and businessman Larry Mizel at this year's Denver Rustlers event. (SOS photo)
Businessman Eddie Robinson, Secretary of State Wayne Williams and philanthropist and businessman Larry Mizel at this year’s Denver Rustlers event. (SOS photo)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams considers it a privilege to attend the Denver Rustlers event, which raises money to buy livestock from the kids showing animals at the Colorado State Fair.

Democrats, Republicans and business leaders come together every year for a light lunch at Del Frisco’s Grille, donated by the restaurant. They then head down to Pueblo to bid on livestock and mingle and eat some more. The event began 32 years ago, when an economic downturn threatened to shut down the Junior Livestock Sale at the State Fair. Since then, Denver Rustlers has raised nearly $3 million.

Among those attending the Denver Rustlers event this year were U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner; U.S. Reps. Jared Polis, Mike Coffman and Diana DeGette, legislators, city council members and various chiefs of staffs. That means you Doug Friednash.

State Sen. Nancy Todd, D-Aurora,  and her husband Terry at today's Denver Rustlers lunch.  (SOS photo)
State Sen. Nancy Todd, D-Aurora, and her husband Terry at today’s Denver Rustlers lunch. (SOS photo)

From the Denver Rustlers website: “At the urging of the late Tom Farley {a Pueblo native and former legislator, who at the time, served on the board of Colorado State University), Tim Schultz (then Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture), approached Dick and Eddie Robinson, as well as Larry A. Mizel, asking them to step in and make sure the hardworking 4-H and FFA exhibitors could continue to participate and raise money for their futures. The three rallied their friends and colleagues to invest in these terrific kids’ futures by supporting the livestock sale.”

Some of those present today have been mentioned as gubernatorial candidates in 2018 when Gov. John Hickenlooper is term limited. They include state Treasurer Walker Stapleton and Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler on the Republican side, and former Denver Deputy Mayor Cary Kennedy and state Sen. Mike Johnston on the Democratic side.

Former state Agricultural Commissioner Don Ament, Pueblo native Francis Koncilja and Joshua Hanfling. Koncilija is passing the reigns of the Denver Rustlers to Hanfling. (SOS photo)
Former state Agricultural Commissioner Don Ament, Pueblo native Francis Koncilja and Joshua Hanfling. Koncilija is passing the reigns of the Denver Rustlers to Hanfling. (SOS photo)

The Rustlers wore their distinctive shirts from Rockmount Ranch, courtesy of MDC Holdings/RichmondAmerican Homes Foundation, and straw cowboy hats donated by the Koncilja law firm.

Those who help to pull off the event every year include Mizel, Pueblo native Frances Koncilja and Laura Teal. The Denver Rustlers reports that after “two decades of courageous” leadership  Koncilja is passing the reins of the Denver Rustlers to Joshua Hanfling.

Hanfling and R.D. Sewald operate Sewald Hanfling Public Affairs, an influential public relations and lobbying firm in Denver.