In 1994, the greenback cutthroat trout was named the state fish, supplanting the rainbow trout, which had long been considered the unofficial state fish. Still, when was the last time you saw trout on a Denver menu? Meanwhile, there's a sushi joint on just about every corner. Such raw ambition deserves official recognition.
Legislators adopted the square dance as the official state folk dance in 1992, but it's so, well, square -- particularly since Colorado is jam-packed with more jam-band fans per capita than any other state in the union. In honor of this peculiar set of folks, the Go Ger Swing -- that dazed, trancelike step so often seen at Red Rocks and other dreadlockian venues -- should take its rightful place as the state's folk dance.
Governor Dick Lamm made the mighty stegosaurus our state fossil in 1982, 150 million years after it lived in Colorado. Just a few years later, a new dinosaur moved into Colorado when child psychologist James Dobson established his Focus on the Family headquarters just north of Colorado Springs.
The Ailanthus is also known as the Chinese sumac (because it looks like a sumac) and Tree of Heaven -- but there's nothing heavenly about this rapidly growing, unbearably stinky tree that's springing up from sidewalk cracks and patches of dust all over town. Still, it has one decided advantage over the Colorado blue spruce, our official state tree since 1939: No bugs can kill it. In fact, it's impossible to kill.
What has rhodochrosite, the state mineral since 2002, done for us lately? Compare that with the titanium sheathing on the Frederic C. Hamilton Building. It's elemental and should be the state mineral.
Give Girl Scout Troop 357 of Lakewood a special merit badge for convincing the legislature to make Yule marble the official state rock in 2004. Coincidentally, that's about the time some real rock -- as fashioned by the Fray -- was coming into its own. C'mon, Colorado: There's more to this state's music than John Denver.
One-stop shopping for all you need to know -- and more -- on state symbols and emblems, including the state tartan, gemstone and insect.
"If you have an ugly girlfriend and she changes her name, she is still ugly," Commerce City mayor Sean Ford says, by way of explaining his opposition to renaming his town. Not that Commerce City is a town without pretty, he hastens to point out; the ugly truth is that all those johnny-come-latelies to the burg northeast of Denver want to gussy it up with a superficial name that gives no hint of the town's deep, personality-filled roots. While Ford's own name won't be on the April 3 ballot -- his eight years on council are enough -- he definitely plans to hit the polls to vote down the renaming proposal. Save Commerce City!

Best Threat to the Tranquility of Highlands Ranch

The Question Alliance

There's a growing threat to the manicured Pleasantville atmosphere of Highlands Ranch: the Question Alliance. Spearheaded by locals James and Diane Schrack, the Question Alliance is essentially the community-outreach wing of the increasingly loud and proud Highlands Ranch Democrats. These inquisitive activists requisition the corner of University Avenue and Highlands Ranch Parkway roughly one Saturday morning a month and wave carefully coordinated signs, which bear a new question each session: "Should more of our soldiers die in Iraq?" "Has our government forgotten Katrina victims?" "Is the U.S. doing enough to stop the genocide in Darfur, Sudan?" These are not the usual thoughts that occupy Highland Ranchers as they go about their weekend errands, but the Question Alliance isn't going away -- at least not until they get some answers.

Best Real World: Denver Cast Member

Alex

We thought long and hard about this. Far longer than any member of The Real World: Denver has ever thought about, well, anything. And although a prize should probably go to the Real World producers for finding an entire cast capable of out-vapiding LoDo, Alex is the up-front winner. For a while there, Tyrie was running away with the prize -- but then he up and almost smacked a ho. Alex, on the other hand, doesn't smack girls, he just sleeps with them. Often. We can't remember the last time we saw a cast member hook up with not one, but two roommates -- repeatedly! And then pull whoever he wants out of Monarck to swap some bacteria in the hot tub. Plus, one time he said this: "My penis's brain is saying, 'You need to have sex with Colie.' My penis's heart is saying, 'No.'" Our penis's gut is saying, Our man!

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