Denver 2013

January 15, 2013

All photos at the end! 

After arriving here in Denver, I dropped my stuff off at Maddie’s apartment and we headed to Denver University to see their Ice Hockey team play Omaha!

I’ve only been to one other ice hockey game in my life, so this was pretty fun and, of course, we won! Maddie’s favorite part was the Zambonis that came out in between the periods (3 Periods in an ice hockey game).

My favorite was the adorable little children who came out to play. It was hilarious, they’d fall over, flail around, and pop back up.

Maddie has a three-legged cat named LaTarian Milton, who she rescued a couple years ago. He’s pretty much awesome. I’m not a big cat person (allergic) but LaTarian thinks he’s a dog, so it works out.

He also puts up with us attempting to take funny photographs of him, like this one with his feet in this big KU slippers.

But it was a bit of a struggle. I think he was feeling camera shy…

Monday morning we headed over to the Denver Art Museum to see their Van Gogh exhibit. It’s been in town a couple months but it’s over soon and completely sold out. They’re even keeping it open for 40 hours straight the last weekend!

Since Maddie works at the DAM, she got us tickets a long time ago, so we were set! We got there a little early, so we checked out one of the other fun exhibits they have going on: the Paint Studio!

It has several different hands-on activities, which is great for kids at the Museum (and 25-year-olds…). The DAM is actually a great museum for families because they have a ton of hands-on activities throughout the museum for kids to participate in. Look at my beautiful art! The Paint Studio will be there through April if you live in the area and want to check it out.

After that, it was off to Van Gogh! The exhibit chronicled Van Gogh’s development as an artist throughout his life, and had an audio component as well, the kind where you carry around headphones and a remote thing and plug in a number based on the piece of artwork you’re looking at.

I really enjoyed the exhibit and learned a lot about Van Gogh that I didn’t know. We all know him for Starry Night and his more impressionist influenced pieces, but I knew very little about his early work and all the other artists who influenced him throughout the years. It was also great to have Maddie there to tell me some of the more behind the scenes fact, like how it took the curator five years to put together the exhibit and get other museums to lend their pieces to the DAM.

After Van Gogh, we walked around a bit and saw a sculpture by one of my favorite artists: Deborah Butterfield!

It was a lot of fun! After the museum, we went to a cute local restaurant for lunch called Parsley (sorry, forgot pictures!) which I highly recommend for anyone who lives around Denver. After lunch, we headed home to get ready for the rodeo!!!

The National Western Rodeo is also known as the Superbowl of Rodeos! To say I was excited would be an understatement. I've been to stock show type events before, but the last time I went to the rodeo I was pretty little and didn't remember much about it.

The actual rodeo wasn’t until 8, but we arrived plenty early since they had activities and an expo going on all day (well, all week actually). There were rows and rows different vendors on several floors of the exhibition hall, selling anything from food to clothes to anything you'd need for your ranch or farm. A few big companies were giving out free stuff if you entered to win (aka gave them your email and information) so, of course, we did. Got a camo koozie from Gator!

One of many fun items… I also test drove a Dodge Ram! Okay, sat in it… but I tested out the cup holder so that counts, right?

I also entered to win a truck, so I'm just waiting for that phone call to let me know I won. Still waiting...

While we were there they had some sort of alpaca competition going on. We were walking through part of the expo and a man yelled: “Alpacas coming through!” And then there they came! Totally normal…

They judged them kind of like a dog show, although they all looked pretty similar to me. Don’t worry, we didn’t watch for long.

Why not? Well, we had a petting zoo to find!

This was pretty much awesome (and no, I'm not being sarcastic). They had a ton of goats, lambs, donkeys, and alpacas roaming around in the petting zoo. Maddie fell in love with this miniature donkey, so cute!

After roaming around for several hours, having a few drinks and a lot of laughs, we headed into the Coliseum for the rodeo! They really made quite a spectacle out of it, starting the show off with a bunch of pyrotechnics!

There were five events in this rodeo: bareback bronc riding, saddle bronc riding, barrel racing, steer wrestling and bull riding.

I absolutely loved it. For all four riding events, the cowboy had to stay on the animal for 8 seconds and once those 8 seconds were up (if they hadn’t fallen off – most didn’t), two men on horses would come riding up next to them and the cowboy would grab onto one of them to get off and the other man would pull the strap off the animal to get him to calm down.

Steer wrestling was a little odd, they literally leaped off their horse onto a steer and threw it to the ground. Fastest time won. Haha, not something I would try.

The barrel racing really had me on the edge of my seat though. This was the only event women competed in and it was a women’s only event. The Cowgirls started outside of the arena and then would race in on their horse and had to circle three barrels and race back out without tipping over the barrel. Tipping it over added 5 seconds per barrel, which basically meant you were out of the running. The fastest time won, and let me tell you it was down to the milliseconds. Every single cowgirl that didn’t hit a barrel came in at 15.something seconds!

At the end, they did each event again, with the top contender from “Team Colorado” and the top contender from “Team World” competing, and then gave awards to the winner in each category. I was amazed to learn that these cowboys made their living doing these competitions, and a pretty good one at that!

I really loved getting to go to this rodeo and highly recommend going to one if you ever get the opportunity!

This is kind of embarrassing to admit, but we actually spent way too much time entertaining ourselves with Maddie’s cat, LaTarian. 

There was also a game on her iPad specifically for cats. This provided way too much entertainment. There’s a little mouse that runs around, and when your cat hits it, it makes a squeak. Also, whenever your cat’s paw touches the screen a paint splotch shows up! Here is LaTarian hard at work:

And his art:

We’re considering selling his pieces. You’d totally buy this, right?

Other activities included checking out a big Whole Foods, Mellow Mushroom for lunch, perusing the GoodWill (don’t ask), and a night of serious fun at a local bar called the Bull and Bush. The crowd was a bit… older than us, but the band was horribly amusing and the place had a fun atmosphere.

For brunch on Monday, we went to Snooze. We’d tried to go on Sunday but there was an hour and a half wait. Even on Monday, we waited 30 minutes for a table!

It had a really cute retro atmosphere and the food was creative and delicious. Obviously, I forgot to take a picture… But they offered gluten-free bread and for the gluten eaters, they had a lot of very creative pancakes.

On the way to the airport, we stopped at Menchie’s for frozen yogurt. I kid you not, Menchies is by far the best frozen yogurt I’ve ever had. I thought this over a year ago when I tried it and I confirmed it again yesterday – SO GOOD. The actual froyo is just fluffier, like it’s creamier and almost whipped. It’s so hard to describe. But go.

And then I had a GORGEOUS flight over the mountains to my next location: SAN FRANCISCO! I love these kinds of flights, being up so high and seeing the earth way below always gets you thinking about the bigger picture.

Today I’m off to explore San Francisco! Have a great Tuesday!