Boot Up

The drive to Pueblo, some ninety minutes south, perhaps seems a long way to go to see a bunch of boots, but I’ve got to tell ya — it’s the idea of the thing, the cultural wrap-around of it all. I love Pueblo, with its red-brick-and-cold-steel hide and its dusty, tough-as-nails downtown. Pueblo wears it all well, like the working-class stiff that it is and always will be. It’s also the perfect place to host an inaugural Wild Wild West Fest, a five-day community event all pasted together with leather and sweat — part street fair and part whoopin’ it up — that started yesterday and culminates over the weekend with a heady dose of pro bull riding at the Colorado State Fairgrounds.

I also love the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center, which shores up the edge of downtown with a contemporary burst at 210 North Santa Fe Avenue. I always try to visit at least once a year, usually to take in the center’s themed summer art shows. But I might have to make the trip a bit early this time, because the center’s contribution to the Wild West-style doin’s is Art & Beauty to Boot, a three-day show of famous cowboy boots from the likes of Dale Evans, Robert Redford and Nolan Ryan, past presidents Reagan and Clinton and, from closer to home, U.S. Representative John Salazar. There are more than twenty pairs in all, and the viewing — which begins at 11 a.m. daily, through Saturday — is enhanced by a selection of cowboy paintings from the King Collection. Plus, no fewer than three Miss Rodeo Americas will emcee a reception and silent auction tonight from 5 to 7 p.m.

For festival details, visit; log on to or call 1-719-295-7200 for information on the boot show.
Thu., May 14, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Fri., May 15, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sat., May 16, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., 2009


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