It’s not every day that you’ll find a couple of steers presiding over high tea at the ornate Brown Palace Hotel and Spa. But that’s exactly what visitors will see on Friday, when Denver’s historic hotel hosts the National Western Stock Show’s Grand Champion Steer for the 73rd time, and the Reserve Grand Champion Steer.
The guests of honor will receive the Brown Palace’s royal treatment, entering the 125-year-old hotel on a red carpet, surrounded by fans and Rodeo Queens, and accompanied by live music from pianist John Kite. The steers will stay in a pen in the palace’s atrium lobby, where they’ll be adorned with roses and pose for photos with visitors.
The annual event benefits There with Care, a local nonprofit that provides day-to-day support to families and children facing critical illness. With a donation of $10, guests will receive a digital and hard copy of their photo with the steers and be entered for a chance to win a range of prizes, including an overnight stay at the hotel, brunch for two at Ellyngton’s, a selection of 125th anniversary liquors, and more, according to Mark Shine, director of sales and marketing at the Brown Palace. VIP guests will also be invited to the Brown Palace’s Afternoon Tea event, which includes a taste of new menu items, a meet-and-greet with chefs, and of course, tea.
There with Care, founded in 2005, has chapters in Boulder and Denver, as well as a chapter in Redwood City, California. Founder Paula DuPre Pesman says they serve an average of 165 families in 15 hospitals and hospice agencies in Colorado every day. “It has been an honor partnering with The Brown Palace the past three years,” she says. “Our mutual interest in bringing people together with compassion and care makes it a wonderful fit.”
The steers are raised by junior exhibitors—young 4-H (an extracurricular youth organization for agriculture) and FFA (Future Farmers of America) members between the ages of 9 and 18. The Grand Champion and Reserve Grand Champion Steers will be announced during the Junior Market Steer Champion Selection on Thursday at 5 p.m. at the National Western Complex. After the Brown Palace event on Friday, the steers will be two of 96 animals auctioned off at the Auction of Junior Livestock Champions. Last year’s Grand Champion Steer was bought for $135,000. The majority of the money raised goes to the junior exhibitor, while 10 percent of the bid supports the National Western Scholarship Trust, which provides scholarships to students studying agriculture, rural medicine, and veterinary science.
So don your Western wear, rally your friends, and check out this only-in-Colorado event to support a good cause.
If You Go: The Grand Champion Steer will enter the hotel by 11 a.m.; photo-op begins shortly after. Visit There With Care’s website to learn about volunteer opportunities.