What We Saw and Heard on Day One of the Western Conservative Summit

The greatest thinkers of their generations.
The greatest thinkers of their generations. Westword
The Western Conservative Summit, the "largest gathering of conservatives outside of Washington, D.C.," as it likes to boast, descended on the Colorado Convention Center today, June 8, for two days of workshops and speeches given by luminaries of the right.

In one large hall, Senator Cory Gardner, attorney general candidate George Brauchler and others spoke to convention-goers about the ills of socialism (Gardner) and wanting to take the politics out of Washington (Brauchler). Across the way in another one of the convention center's cavernous enclaves, various conservative groups and candidates hawked merch and pamphlets in advance of today's main event: a speech by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. (Michael Roberts will be there and plans to tell you all about it...if he makes it out of the center alive.)

In the meantime, here are some of the things we saw and heard at the Summit.

click to enlarge The exhibit hall. - WESTWORD
The exhibit hall.
Exhibit Hall
Though the main hall hosted the big-name speakers, the exhibit hall was just as informative. Some of our favorite booths belonged to Planned Childhood (like Planned Parenthood, but different), Mission Messiah Television (?), an anti-abortion group with a plastic fetus on display, representatives of the Israeli tourism board, and the Raymond Garcia campaign, which was selling the candidate for House District 21 and snacks, including Snickers bars and bananas.

click to enlarge Light reading material at the Western Conservative Summit. - WESTWORD
Light reading material at the Western Conservative Summit.
Reading material
We're at war, idiots!

click to enlarge The very hospitable-looking media hospitality suite. - WESTWORD
The very hospitable-looking media hospitality suite.
Media hospitality suite
Admittedly, this was one of our last stops, so we couldn't say for sure whether earlier in the day this room had hosted a cornucopia of refreshments and masseuses waiting to ease our tense shoulders.

Say what you will about conservatives, they're certainly creative. This booth belonged to Fix Our Damn Roads, a proposed ballot initiative that, if it gathers enough signatures, will ask Colorado voters in November to consider backing $3.5 billion in transportation bonds to fix roads and bridges. Players of this game were asked to drive a toy around the track without hitting a pothole. We lasted about two seconds before bottoming out...just like on Colfax.

click to enlarge "GetaRoofGetaGun.com" - WESTWORD
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"Is that Cory Gardner? That's what I need to hear." — convention-goer arriving at the Western Conservative Summit

"Diamond and Silk just tickle me!" — aforementioned convention-goer

"I want more Colorado and less Washington, D.C." — George Brauchler, district attorney for Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln counties and candidate for Colorado attorney general, during his speech in the main hall

"Strong marriage is an antidote to poverty." — Jennifer Marshall, vice president of the Heritage Foundation, during her speech in the main hall

"I'm all about women in leadership!" — convention-goer in exhibit hall

"It's popular to hate Trump." — exhibitor

"Atheists, Christians — we're gonna form an army!" — convention-goer in exhibit hall

"You're not as ancient as those of us who listen to Sean Hannity." — convention-goer to me

"You're taking a lot of notes." — exhibitor to reporter

"Simply believing homosexual behavior is wrong could become criminal!" — convention-goer in exhibit hall

"Have you ever held a fetus?" — convention-goer in exhibit hall

"That's the difference between us and them: They have to wear everything on their sleeve." — convention-goer in exhibit hall

"Faith is really important in our lives. It gives us centeredness." — Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton during his speech in the main hall

"Millennials, c'mon, are there any millennials out there?! There've gotta be a few of you!" — speaker in main hall whose question was met with mostly silence

"How about this: Hire someone based on their diploma." — exhibitor

"Nobody worries about the freedoms of cockroaches and rabbits and mushrooms. Vegans might, but I'm talking about rational people." — speaker in main hall

"It was a good crowd."
"And they kept wanting to clap for you!" — speaker to his (presumed) aide, and her response
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Ana Campbell has been Westword's managing editor since 2016. She has worked at magazines and newspapers around the country, picking up a few awards along the way for her writing and editing. She grew up in south Texas.
Contact: Ana Campbell