“Say what you mean and mean what you say,” is the trademark of Peter Coors and the motto by which this year’s Citizen of the West lives his life. That quintessential Western characteristic wasn’t lost on more than 800 enthusiasts who feted the beer company scion at the annual National Western dinner benefitting scholarship recipients at 10 institutes of higher learning in Colorado and Wyoming.
Those assembled at the Sheraton Denver Downtown to pay honor to Coors included leaders in business as well as politics, including Gov. Bill Ritter, whose last night as governor coincided with the Citizen of the West gala, and former Gov. Bill Owens, donning a turquoise bolo tie for the occasion. Denver mayor John Hickenlooper, who was set to be sworn-in as governor the very next morning, also was there, as well as a host of other politicos: former U.S. Sens. Wayne Allard, Hank Brown (Citizen of the West in 2008) and Wyoming’s Alan Simpson (Citizen of the West in 1990), Rep. Mike Coffman, Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead, and Pat Grant, National Western Stock Show’s just retired president and former Denver lawmaker.
Bruce Benson, president of the University of Colorado, paid tribute along with his wife Marcy. Same with former CSU President Al Yates (Citizen of the West in 2002) and UNC President Kay Norton. Andy Love and Virginia Morrison Love were in attendance as well as Love’s sister, Becky Kourlis, one of last year’s Citizens of the West.
Ritter had signed proclamation naming Jan. 11 as ‘Pete Coors Day’ in Colorado. The proclamation cited Coors’ commitment to perpetuating the West’s agricultural heritage and ideals; his countless hours of dedication to his community; his vast philanthropic efforts; his promotion of wildlife and environmental conservation throughout the country; and his commitment to his family and to protecting the Legacy of the West.
The National Western Stock Show is Denver’s largest convention, attracting more than 630,000 visitors and impacting the local economy by more than $100 million annually. The nonprofit organization is celebrating its 105th anniversary.
Guests went home with souvenir six-packs of Pete’s Rocky Mountain Root Beer — soda bottled for the occasion and used for the custom brewed root beer floats which topped the meal of garlic herb tenderloin filet.