Denver Broncos and Stock Show on a cultural collision course: Hold onto your hat!

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Today is officially "Dress Western Day," with a parade through downtown Denver marking the kick-off of the 107th National Western Stock Show; tomorrow is "United in Orange Friday," pushing this town's other show ponies, the Denver Broncos. What's a busy mayor to wear?

An orange cowboy hat, of course, created by Rockmount Ranchwear, the homegrown Western wear store, and loaned to the mayor by the Denver Broncos. That's what Mayor Michael Hancock will be sporting today when he oversees the parade from a surrey as its grand marshal, a spot he earned through his efforts to keep the Stock Show in Denver, according to National Western officials. The parade -- which also includes cowboys and cowgirls herding cattle, floats and entertainers -- leaves Union Station at noon, and winds up at the Wells Fargo building at Broadway for a 4-H fundraising barbecue.

"The National Western is a time-honored tradition and cherished cultural and economic asset for our entire state," Hancock says. "With a re-energized sense of optimism for our shared future, Denver is excited to kick-off the stock show and rodeo's 107th year here in our Mile High City. I encourage our employees, residents and visitors to get into the 'cattle-drivin'' spirit and join us in donning your best western wear on Thursday."

But Hancock will want to hold onto that hat, because he's declared tomorrow "United in Orange Friday" to support the Denver Broncos before Saturday's playoff game. "From training camp all the way through, this has been an inspiring season, and we couldn't be more excited to see the Broncos positioned as the team to beat in the AFC," he says. "The road to the Super Bowl runs through Denver. Let's go deep to show the support our team has earned. It's time for Broncos fans to step up as the 12th man!"

The Broncos will be hosting a "United in Orange" Pep Rally for the AFC Divisional home game from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday on the south side of Sports Authority Field. And beyond encouraging fans to wear orange, the mayor's office notes that the City and County of Denver is showing its support for the Broncos by:

Placing a friendly mayor-to-mayor wager with Baltimore's Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake on Friday, Jan. 11;

Lighting the City and County Building with orange and blue lights beginning Friday;

Illuminating with orange and blue lights the DIA sign on Peña Boulevard and several large LED signs along 14th St. in orange and blue lights;

Displaying "United in Orange" on the Denver Convention Center billboard and on all Denver Smart (parking) Meters;

Greeting DIA passengers with a Broncos message from John Elway on the train, hanging banners and adorning DIA employees and ambassadors with "United in Orange" buttons; and

Encouraging downtown building owners and businesses throughout the city to display orange and blue lights and Broncos signs.

In addition to that, the Downtown Denver Partnership, VISIT DENVER and the Denver Art Museum are:

Lighting the D&F Tower in orange and blue lights;

Setting the Denver Art Museum's titanium-covered Hamilton Building aglow in orange and blue lights;

Hanging Broncos banners along the 16th Street Mall and in Larimer Square;

Broadcasting 850KOA's live game coverage over the Southwest Rink at Skyline Park sound system for ice skaters to enjoy; and

Offering free skating and skate rentals at Southwest Rink to skaters who wear orange or a Broncos gear! The rink opens at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Early risers can get free lessons and skate rentals from 8 to 10 a.m.

This collision of cultural icons doesn't just present dressing dilemmas: The first day of the Stock Show is Saturday, the same day the Broncos will play the Baltimore Ravens. But National Western officials promise that there will be places to watch the game -- including the Cowboy Bar in the Hall of Education


From the archives: "Snap! Jack A. Weil showed us how the West was worn."

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