For a part of my life I was ashamed of being from the middle of the country. As a fourth-generation Colorado native, I knew that Denver was a cool place, but I was acutely aware that the rest of the world didn't consider us a "city" at all. If they did consider us, we were a cow town in a flyover state.

The first few times I went to Europe I would say I was from "the United States," without specifying which state. I wanted to be seen as a sophisticated New Yorker, or a cool California girl, not a farm girl from the bible belt.


Over time, I've embraced my country side. I lived in Oregon where the radio station played mostly country music. I fell in love with a boy from Oklahoma, and after years of hearing how cool Tulsa was, I finally went there with him. I was surprised to learn it's true, Oklahoma is cool. For my 30th birthday, I rented a cabin in the woods and my friend bought me a BB gun. We rang in my new decade drinking beer and shooting cans off the porch.

Last week, when the National Western Stock Show came to Denver, my office took a break to watch the parade of longhorn bulls march down 17th Street. There is something truly surreal about standing next to investment bankers in three-piece suits and watching cowboys casually herd 2,000-pound bulls down a city street.


And this year, for my friend's 30th birthday we donned our cowboy boots and went to the rodeo. We watched the bull riding and the calf roping, we cheered when the rodeo clown escaped being gored by jumping in a barrel.

Late into the evening we somehow found ourselves at the beef auction, which could accurately be categorized as "Cowboy Wall Street." We were there as casual observers, trying not to itch something and accidentally buy a prized bull for $50,000. The fast-talking auctioneer stood between his two Stetson-hatted helpers who watched the crowd for bids. Whenever someone bid, the first helper would yell, "yawh!" and the second would, "yip yip!" in acknowledgment.

Even though I'd still rather ride a subway than a horse, it's nice to know I can buy four breeding-age heifers and a tank of prize bull semen for less than $10,000, right in my own backyard.

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