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Fifty reasons Colorado is the best state in the country, 2013 edition

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In 2011, we published a post counting down the fifty reasons Colorado is the best state. But that wasn't enough to express our affection for our home, so we followed up in 2012 with the fifty latest reasons why Colorado is the best state in the country. And still, we didn't cover everything. So now, continuing the tradition, we bring you the 2013 edition, with fifty new reasons, illustrated with photos and videos and lovingly assembled by the Westword staff. Look below to remind yourself why you live here -- and to let everyone else know why we love it so much. 50. Colorado's welcome signs are better than your state's welcome signs. 49. We have the second-most craft breweries of any state, behind only California -- and ours are better. 48. The Denver Zoo's elephant exhibit is too big to fit into a trunk. 47. Want proof of Denver roller derby's badassery? Five members of the Denver Roller Dolls will be part of Team USA for the 2014 Roller Derby World Cup. 46. Denver's booming comedy scene is nothing to laugh at. Wait: Actually, it is. 45. When it comes to politics, being purple is a lot more interesting than being either red or blue.

44. Is there a better name for an institution of higher learning than the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics?

43. Crocs may seem kinda corny, but we love them anyhow. 42. We've got some of the liveliest zombies around.

41. The Ouray Hot Springs

Continue to keep counting down the fifty reasons Colorado is the best state in the country, 2013 edition. 40. Avalanche legend turned Avs coach Patrick Roy is certifiable -- just the way we like it.

39. First Fridays are so much fun we wish they were every Friday. 38. Almost all of the places in our "Guess Where I'm Eating" posts are worth eating at. 37. Excuse our lack of modesty, but the Westword Music Showcase.

36. Palisade peaches.

35. Our homegrown restaurant chains are a smash.

34. Kenneth Faried -- coolest professional athlete, and the one who looks best naked? Oh, Manimal....

33. Our biggest university's symbol of strength is definitely capable of doing some damage....

32. ...and if anything ever happens to Ralphie, the City of Denver's get bison herds of its own.

31. The Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls & Toys comes up big. Continue to keep counting down the fifty reasons Colorado is the best state in the country, 2013 edition. 30. No other state can claim the headquarters of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, which protects the hemisphere from attack by aircraft, missiles or "space vehicles." And every Christmas, they track Santa's sleigh. 29. The Tomato Battle at Copper Mountain. 28. Living at altitude makes winning a drinking contest with a flatlander that much more fun. 27. Boulder is the only city with its own glacier. 26. Denver Public Library's Western History collection -- the premiere place for Western artifacts and lore, from John Muir's glasses to the stakeout notes ofa 1920s Denver detective to oral histories of the Ku Klux Klan. Number 25. Even when the Rockies suck, they play in a place that definitely doesn't.

24. Summit Lake Mountain Park.

23. Public pot consumption is against the law -- except, apparently, on one day, in one place. 22. Even before there's snow in Denver, there's usually enough snow to hit the slopes. 21. Now Red Rocks concerts don't only happen in the summertime. Continue to keep counting down the fifty reasons Colorado is the best state in the country, 2013 edition. 20. Denver is the vinyl solution. 19. Estes Park is open again -- and so is Rocky Mountain National Park. 18. We've got some of the most livable cities in the country. 17. Four reasons why so many national artists love to play in Colorado: the Boulder Theater, the Fox Theatre, the Bluebird Theatre, the Fillmore Auditorium. 16. Colorado's home to the first legal U.S. hemp harvest in more than fifty years. 15. The antique arcade games of Manitou Springs. 14. Denver's new film incentives are bringing more moviemakers to our state. But the folks behind Fast and Furious came just because it looks amazing. 13. B-cycles are now available during the winter, too.

12. If only they awarded an NBA title for best mascot.

11. The demon steed of DIA isn't going anywhere. Continue to keep counting down the fifty reasons Colorado is the best state in the country, 2013 edition. 10. The Denver Film Society's got a new home no one can kick it out of. 9. The country's most unusual tourist attraction. 8. The mountains are so gorgeous that they're worth driving in this to visit. 7. Flooding victims have shown that even when their roads and homes are torn apart, they can still stand strong together. 6. What's better than being home to the Tattered Cover? Being home to three of them. 5. The planet's most amazing movie theater. 4. A season of Denver Cruisers rides. 3. The Great American Beer Festival deserves a toast. Or twelve. 2. Peyton Manning is pretty good. 1. Maybe the reason it's not easy being green is because it's so delicious. More from our Lists & Weirdness archive circa 2012: "Fifty latest reasons Colorado is the best state in the country."

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