Denver Rustlers meet again, head to State Fair in Pueblo

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne William mingled with fellow Denver Rustlers this morning in Greenwood Village before heading to the State Fair in Pueblo. From left to right, Rep. Dominque Jackson, D-Aurora, Williams, lobbyist Peggi O’Keefe and Rep. Matt Gray, D-Broomfield. (SOS photo)

Few organizations bring folks from across the aisle together as much as the Denver Rustlers, a group of business, civic and political leaders who work to help the Colorado State Fair and the rural kids who show their animals there.

The Denver Rustlers mingled this morning in Greenwood Village before boarding three buses headed south to Pueblo.

State Sen. Kevin Priola, R-Henderson, and his 2-year-old daughter Cora, at the Denver Rustlers event. (SOS photo)

“I’m always honored to spend the day with these people and see the young 4-H’ers and their animals at the fair,” said Secretary of State Wayne Williams.

“This is a proud Colorado tradition that brings people together from across the state.”

The event began at the Tavern Tech Center with lawmakers and lobbyists, City council members and congress members and more. The Rustlers wear distinctive shirts from Rockmount Ranch, courtesy of Mizel’s firm, MDC Holdings/Richmond American Homes Foundation, and straw cowboy hats donated by the Koncilja law firm.

“Sure, people get a little nervous putting that shirt on the first time, but this is one of the great bipartisan days of the year,” said Rep. Matt Gray, D-Broomfield. “It’s great to invest in our young people, and it’s just as great to spend a day with people from all parties enjoying each other’s company with no political pressure at all.”

Read moreDenver Rustlers meet again, head to State Fair in Pueblo

Thanks, Arkansas Valley P.E.O.s, for letting me talk about Cottey College

Sharon Kolomitz of P.E.O. chapter W in La Junta and Lynn Bartels, a 1977 Cottey College graduate, at the Akransas Valley P.E.O. brunch held at the Koshare Indian Museum in La Junta on Aug. 26.

A while back, political consultant Greg Kolomitz was browsing through Facebook when he called out to his mother, Sharon, “Hey, Mom, Lynn Bartels went to Cottey College and she really promotes it.”

That’s how I ended up in La Junta one week ago today speaking to the Arkansas Valley P.E.O. chapters at their annual brunch about the incredible two-year college I attended from 1975 to 1977.

Sharon Kolomitz is a member of P.E.O.’s Chapter W in La Junta. P.E.O. is a philanthropic educational organization that owns and supports Cottey, which was founded in Nevada, Mo., by Virginia Alice Cottey Stockard in 1884, back when women really wanted an education and their choices were limited.

The program for the Arkansas Valley P.E.O. brunch.

I talked about my Cottey experience, and how it influenced my 35-year career in journalism and current job as spokeswoman for Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams.

The women laughed when I told them my friends accuse me of “Cheneying” the job, because Wayne had called me to ask about the credentials of the some of the applicants for the position.

Now, Cottey might be a small school — and “one of the finest,” as the song goes — but the Cottey connections are quite widespread.

Just ask Channel 9’s award-winning producer Nicole Vap, but more on that later.

Former state agricultural commission John Stulp is the latest example of a Cottey connection, which I discovered at the P.E.O. gathering in La Junta.

Read moreThanks, Arkansas Valley P.E.O.s, for letting me talk about Cottey College

Here’s to the Colorado State Fair

Four Southern Colorado lawmakers on Friday helped introduce their colleagues at the Colorado State Fair legislative barbecue. From left to right, Rep. Don Valdez of La Jara, Sen. Leroy Garcia and Rep. Daneya Esgar, both of Pueblo, and Sen. Larry Crowder of Alamosa. (SOS photo)
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, a Republican, and Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, at the Colorado State Fair’s legislative barbecue Friday night in Pueblo. (SOS photo)

One of the best things about late August is back-to-back activities at the Colorado State Fair.

Friday night it was the Greater Pueblo Chamber of Commerce barbecue, which draws lobbyists and legislators, the governor and cabinet members, local school board and city council members and more.

“I love the legislative barbecue each year,” said Rep. Clarice Navarro, R-Pueblo. “It’s an awesome experience to be able to showcase all that I’m so very proud of in Southern Colorado.

“The chamber never ceases to amaze me at how it draws a who’s who in Colorado to the fair that I love,” she added.

On Tuesday, attention switches to the Denver Rustlers, a group that raises money to buy livestock from kids showing animals at the State Fair.  Members of the bipartisan organization board buses in the metro area and head to the fair for the day.

“Best philanthropic day of the year,” is how Matthew Leebove, Mountain States senior campaign executive at Jewish National Fund, referred to the Rustlers’ rendezvous.

Sen. Randy Baumgardner and Rep. Jim Wilson pose with two former state lawmakers who now are on the Colorado State Fair board, Lois Tochtrop and Ron Teck. (SOS photo)

“The highlight for was the Centennial Farm awards,” said Sen. Larry Crowder, referring to the program started under former Gov. Dick Lamm in 1986.

“And everyone was on their best at the legislative barbecue!”

Read moreHere’s to the Colorado State Fair

Denver Rustlers break records

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams is a member at the Colorado State Fair. (Denver Rustlers photo)
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams at the Colorado State Fair with the Denver Rustlers. (Denver Rustlers photo)
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams at the Colorado State Fair. (Denver Rustlers photo)
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams at the Colorado State Fair. (Denver Rustlers photo)

The Denver Rustlers once again participated in the Colorado State Fair’s Junior Livestock sale, which for the second year in a row broke the half million dollar mark.

The sale on Aug. 30 raised $524,700, with the Denver Rustlers contributing $176,250, according to unofficial records.

Josh Hanfling, whose firm Seward Hanfling is helping with the Denver Rustlers event, reports 324 Rustlers participated, with 116 new Rustlers — both are records.

“It’s an event I really look forward to,” Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams said.

The Rustlers raise money to buy livestock from kids showing animals at the State Fair.  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.

The Rustlers wear their distinctive shirts from Rockmount Ranch, courtesy of MDC Holdings/RichmondAmerican Homes Foundation, and straw cowboy hats donated by the Koncilja law firm. The event begins every year with an early lunch at Del Frisco’s Grille.