The iconic welcome arch spanning the main street in Golden, Colorado proclaims “Howdy Folks! Welcome to Golden – Where the West Lives!” And no time is that more appropriate than when the National Western Stock Show & Rodeo comes rip-roaring into town and Golden shows off its Western heritage with Western-themed events, January 11 – 18, 2020.
Just 15 miles west of the National Western Complex in Denver, Golden is a world away in atmosphere. Walking down Golden’s main street, Washington Avenue, is like taking a stroll back into the Old West with historic storefronts, colorful murals, and covered arcade sidewalks. The most famous character of the West, William “Buffalo Bill” Cody, is buried in Golden, and here you’ll also find Colorado’s largest collection of historic steam locomotives. Downtown’s Golden History Park features an authentic homestead with a barn, working blacksmith shop and a chicken coop where youngsters can feed a variety of heritage chickens. And of course, Golden is home to Coors Beer and the largest single-site brewery in the world
Here are Western Week highlights and things to do in Golden during the Stock Show.
Listen to Authentic Cowboy Songs at the 2020 Colorado Cowboy Poetry Gathering – A Festival of Western Song, Poetry and Storytelling, Jan. 16-19, 2020 -- This colorful, musical festival celebrates cowboy heritage and entertainment, which grew out of the traditions of cowboys sitting around the campfires at night during the great cattle drives of the American West. It’s an artistic link to the past, where a handshake was your word and the Code of the West meant living a life of integrity and respect. It’s also a lot of fun with music and laughs mixed with some authentic Western History. Staged at the American Mountaineering Center in downtown Golden.
Enjoy Western Week in Golden -- There’s no place else on the Front Range of Colorado quite like downtown Golden, which offers lots of Western hospitality during the Stock Show with special events and discounts including: a guided Wild West Walking Tour, live Western music throughout Golden, a Wild West Brewery Crawl & History Tour, discounts at the miner-themed challenge at the Golden Puzzle Room, Old West photos sessions at Oh! Susanna Vintage Photo Parlor and more. You’ll also want to mosey down Clear Creek walking path, which will be illuminated with thousands of holiday lights lining the banks of the creek and reflecting in the water. Don’t forget to visit Golden’s “saloons” and craft breweries! There are seven craft breweries in Golden, and a variety of great restaurants, from the Southwestern ambiance of Table Mountain Grill & Cantina to mouthwatering BBQ at the Old Capitol Grill & Smokehouse (housed in the building that served as the first capitol of the Colorado Territory). The Golden Hotel’s acclaimed Bridgewater Grill offers Stock Show special drinks and dining deals. For a full list of Golden’s Western Week activities, visit: visitgolden.com.
Tour Coors -- Coors is the official beer of the National Western Stock Show. The brewery has a 30-minute, self-paced tour of the malting, brewing and packaging of Coors Beer. After your tour, enjoy beer samples in their Hospitality Lounge. Sample of their great beers are available in limited quantities to those 21 years and older with a valid government-issued ID. Call 866-812-2337 for tour information.
Meet Buffalo Bill – As a buffalo hunter, Pony Express rider, and scout for the U.S. Army, “Buffalo Bill” Cody was the most famous character in the history of the American West. Starting in 1883, his Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show was performed in more than a thousand cities in 12 different countries. Bill brought along 640 cowboys, Indians, Vaqueros, ropers, trick riders, and sharpshooters to the performances. A version of his show takes place at the National Western Stock Show & Rodeo every year.
Buffalo Bill was visiting his sister in Denver in 1917 when he died and his funeral on top of Lookout Mountain was the largest in Colorado history. Today, an interactive museum near the grave brings his incredible story back to life with costumes, guns, artifacts like Chief Sitting Bull’s headdress, posters, and pictures from the show.
The drive to the grave site on top of the mountain begins in historic downtown Golden on the Lariat Loop Trail. This is a white-knuckle thriller, with cliffs on every turn, and the panoramic view from the museum’s outdoor deck takes in everything from snowcapped peaks to the plains and downtown Denver.
Climb Aboard a Steam Locomotive -- It was the railroads that won the West and the Colorado Railroad Museum has the largest collection of steam locomotives, private cars, and model trains in the state, all of which offer hands-on experiences. Climb up into the cab of a locomotive and ring the bell. On Saturdays, you can ride the famous Galloping Goose – a 1928 Pierce Arrow limousine put on train wheels with a bus welded on the back. The Galloping Goose once delivered mail over Colorado’s Lizard Head Pass, and it’s a fun ride as it circles the museum on a half mile of track. There’s a huge HO model railroad in the basement, and on weekends, there are large G-scale model trains running outdoors, blowing whistles and making chugging sounds as they circle around on a gigantic setup that operates even in snow.
For more information on Golden, check out visitgolden.com.