Bill Ritter takes his last ride in the National Western Stock Show Parade (PHOTO)

Outgoing Governor Bill Ritter mounted up for a ride through the streets of downtown Denver Thursday as part of the National Western Stock Show Parade, an annual tradition that kicked off at Union Station at noon. See him in action below.

The parade was a ride into the sunset, as Ritter will leave office next Tuesday when John Hickenlooper is sworn in as his replacement. Ritter said Wednesday that he will take a job as director of the Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University.

Ritter, who kept a low profile and had no visible security as he waited for his cue, let kids pet his horse and chatted up the Stock Show girls and onlookers. Before kick-starting his ride, Ritter vowed not to fall off and break any ribs as he did in March after a bicycle spill. "I'll be going a lot slower today," he said.

In addition to Ritter, the parade featured longhorn cattle, marching bands, trained dogs, horseback riders, cavalry and performing cowgirls in the parade. The Stock Show runs January 8-23.

More from our Follow That Story archive: "Bill Ritter's top 5 accident-related announcements on Bike to Work day."