Each year around this time, Forbes magazine reveals the identities of the wealthiest Americans — and since 2014, we've highlighted the five richest Coloradans according to their position on what's popularly known as the Forbes 400. But while the same quintet appears on this year's roster as was the case three years ago, there's been a notable shift in position that's lifted Fort Collins's Pat Stryker into a tie with President Donald Trump. As of today, October 24, though, Stryker is worth more.
How so? The Forbes 400 roster for 2017 includes each individual's net worth as of October 17, as well as what's dubbed "Real Time Net Worth," updated daily. In the case of both Stryker and Trump, their October 17 net worth is calculated at $3.1 billion, leaving them tied for 248th among the top 400. One week later, Trump's value hasn't risen, but Stryker's has, bumping up to $3.3 billion.
Stryker and two of the other Coloradans on the list have risen on the Forbes 400 since last year, while two have slipped a bit, including the state's richest person — again.
Our introductions to the five include Forbes data from 2014 to 2016 and excerpts from their respective bios from the magazine.
Number 5: James Leprino
REAL TIME NET WORTH as of 10/24/17: $3.1 B
2017 FORBES 400 NET WORTH as of 10/17/17: $3 B
James Leprino owns the world's largest mozzarella cheese maker, with $3 billion in annual sales. His Leprino Foods exclusively sells cheese to Domino's, Papa John's and Pizza Hut. The company also makes cheese by-products like whey protein, lactose, and sweet whey powder used in baby formula and yogurt. It started in 1950 with his father, an Italian immigrant, who had a Denver corner store that sold specialties like fresh mozzarella balls. Today, Leprino Foods has more than 50 patents. Those innovations are essentially how Leprino created the "pizza cheese" that Americans eat today.
2014 Forbes 400 ranking: 194
2015 Forbes 400 ranking: 211
2016 Forbes 400 ranking: 232
2017 Forbes 400 ranking: 264
Number 4: Pat Stryker
REAL TIME NET WORTH as of 10/24/17: $3.3 B
2017 FORBES 400 NET WORTH as of 10/17/17: $3.1 B
Pat Stryker is a philanthropist and founder of Bohemian Foundation, which supports strong communities through music, the arts and civic programs. Her grandfather founded Stryker Corp., which sold $11.3 billion in medical equipment and software in 2016. In 2016, she and her brother, Jon Stryker, gave a combined $10 million to fund the nation's first memorial to the victims of racial terror lynchings. In September 2017, her foundation offered to match Coloradoans' donations to hurricane relief up to $3 million.
2014 Forbes 400 ranking: 324
2015 Forbes 400 ranking: 293
2016 Forbes 400 ranking: 264
2017 Forbes 400 ranking: 248
Number 3: John Malone
REAL TIME NET WORTH as of 10/24/17: $8 B
2017 FORBES 400 NET WORTH as of 10/17/17: $8.2 B
Nicknamed the "Cable Cowboy," John Malone is known for his penchant for media deals and complicated corporate structures. From the 1970s to the 1990s, Malone built up cable TV firm TCI as right-hand man to founder Bob Magness (d. 1996). Malone's first major deal was at TCI, where he became the CEO in 1973 at 29 years old, then sold the firm to AT&T for more than $50 billion in 1999. His Liberty Media, which owns the Atlanta Braves baseball team, closed a $4.4 billion acquisition of auto-racing league Formula 1 in January 2017. In July 2017, Malone's Discovery Communications announced an $11.9 billion bid for cable TV Scripps.
2014 Forbes 400 ranking: 60
2015 Forbes 400 ranking: 68
2016 Forbes 400 ranking: 61
2017 Forbes 400 ranking: 56
Number 2: Philip Anschutz
REAL TIME NET WORTH as of 10/24/17: $12.6 B
2017 FORBES 400 NET WORTH as of 10/17/17: $12.6 B
Over five decades, Philip Anschutz has built fortunes in oil, railroads, telecom, real estate and entertainment. He owns the NHL's Kings and a third of the Lakers, plus the building they play in, the Staples Center. His Anschutz Entertainment Group operates more than 100 arenas and concert venues worldwide. On 300,000 acres he owns in Wyoming, Anschutz aims to build the world's biggest wind farm.
2014 Forbes 400 ranking: 40
2015 Forbes 400 ranking: 43
2016 Forbes 400 ranking: 39
2017 Forbes 400 ranking: 35
Number 1: Charles Ergen
REAL TIME NET WORTH as of 10/24/17: $14.6 B
2017 FORBES 400 NET WORTH as of 10/17/17: $15.8 B
Charlie Ergen is the cofounder and chairman of satellite TV provider DISH Network, and satellite communications firm EchoStar. In 1980 he began selling satellite dishes outside of Denver, Colorado from the back of a truck. That business grew into DISH Network and EchoStar. DISH went public in 1996; Ergen owns 48 percent. EchoStar, which operates the hardware side of the business, was spun off from DISH in 2008. Four years after leaving as chairman of DISH, Ergen returned as CEO in 2015.
2014 Forbes 400 ranking: 26
2015 Forbes 400 ranking: 28
2016 Forbes 400 ranking: 28
2017 Forbes 400 ranking: 30
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