City Council convenes on future of stock show in Denver


Posted Mon, Oct 10, 2011

The Denver Stock Show, a 102-year-old tradition, might be moving to Aurora. Photo by Laurence Washington

As long as Denver’s been Denver, there’s always been the stock show. The annually held, 16-day National Western Stock Show has never been just an “event” – it has been as integral a part of the city’s legacy as those commanding mountains to the west. And when a movement to relocate that 102-year-old tradition to the adjacent town of Aurora, City Councilors were less than happy – and many even confused.

“It’s always puzzled me why the citizens of Denver would support a move [as this]. To me, it’s faulty logic,” said Denver City Councilman Charlie Brown. His sentiments came during a convening of the Denver City Council on Oct. 6, 2011at the City and Counting Building concerning the move, and was met with often agreeable response.

Councilman Charlie Brown

The proposed plan came after the National Western Stock Show (NWSS), under contract with Denver until 2040, suggested that Denver upgrade its facilities or risk losing the show as a viable source of income. The conflict largely rides in whether Denver should lose the stock show in hopes of collecting a percentage of a more prosperous relocation to new facilities in Aurora, or remain in place and consider facility upgrades to the Denver Coliseum.

Ford Frick, an economist belonging to the BBC Research and Consulting firm, was contracted by the city to give financial estimates of the possible relocation. His reported losses to the city of Denver annually numbered at $980,000 per year if the move were to be made.

“The big question is: Should this new complex be built?” said Frick. Frick cited the development of the First Bank Center as a case study, a recently opened venue that the city hoped would attract revenue from the nearby college town of Boulder– and fell to become a massive disappointment. Frick concluded his findings with concern that “the risk does not fall evenly among all the parties of interest.”

Other councilmen suggested alternatives to a move. “What if the proposed land near D.I.A. became a part of Denver?” asked Councilman Nevett. Brown, vehement in his support for the NWSS to remain as-is, still thought that a risk. “We are the land-lord, and I think we all need to remember that,” he said.

Yet a conclusiveness as to what to do with the Coliseum was still undecided. Ken Bryce, Director of Arts &Venues for the city of Denver, was there to comment. Bryce mentioned that on its own, the Coliseum was not a very viable source of revenue without the stock show – and that it’s only merit-able use would be “to use it for skating in the Olympics if that ever where to come to Denver.”

The open space at 67th and Tower Road (Aurora) near DIA is the proposed site for the Stock Show. Photo by Laurence Washington

Additionally, a move would necessitate a grounds clean-up where the former site of the Coliseum was as well as inflict economic repercussions for the adjoining neighborhoods. “What would it take on those 94 acres to make up for the loss?” Nevett asked.

As well as economic fears, the city council also expressed fears as to what the move would mean to Denver’s populace. “The people of Denver believe that the NWSS belongs to us. It would be a devastating move,” said Councilman Fox.

And residents found themselves in agreement. “The stock show’s been going on here forever…why do they suddenly need this new complex so badly?” said Denver resident Charles Shields, 33.

While an official vote was never held during the council meeting, councilors eventually agreed that the pre-existing proposal will now be put on ballot to be withdrawn.

“The cowboys have an expression,” said Brown, “that you never kick a cow-pie on a hot day. I think that the stock-show’s that cow-pie.”

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4 Responses to “City Council convenes on future of stock show in Denver”

  1. James Crussell Says:

    Great quotes by the City Counsilman


  2. Kevin Rostad Says:

    This was a very interesting story. I was unaware that this was going on. This is something good for all of the people of Denver and Aurora to be aware of.


  3. Nikki Says:

    Interesting story, I’ve heard about this, just not quite this in depth. One thing I think might help in the future is to seek out sources supporting the other side of the story – the people who support the proposed move.


  4. Caitlin Sievers Says:

    Good quote at the end. I agree with Nikki, need at least one source who thinks the move is a good idea.


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