By Pam Mellskog
The Daily Times-Call
DENVER — Sisters
Megan and Allison Eichner were gung-ho enough about the
Stock Show matinee rodeo
Friday to dress up early in their Broomfield bedrooms.
Even before changing out of their pajamas, Megan, 7, and
Allison, 5, had stuffed their red and pink cowgirl hats over
their bed heads and jumped into their boots.
Turns out the youngest fans at the stock show dress up
almost more than the rodeo queens do. But the costuming,
the flattery by imitation, was not just a girl thing.
resident Caden Stewart, 4, cautiously surveyed the scene
from the coliseum’s mezzanine.
He looked the part, with his toy double-holstered six-shooter
cream-colored cowboy hat, boots and rainbow-swirl lollipop.
boy was hunting for a “real cowboy,” not
a shootout, according to his grandfather, Lakewood resident
“He called me last night and said, ‘Gumpy?
Are we going to see the cowboys?’” Vakoff said.
Straw polling of 15 kindergartners from Willows Olde Mill
School in Centennial revealed that the cowboys were cool.
But the clowns were cooler, the kids said, while clutching
the knotted rope they use to keep together on field trips.
Only calf roping fell out of favor with the little ones
decked out in hankies, hats, boots, and red, white and blue
“I didn’t like that very much, either, because
I thought (the cowboys) would hurt them,” Megan Eichner
initial interest stemmed from computer rodeo games depicting
Barbie — yes, she of the pink chiffon outfits
and high heels — barrel racing and hunting on horseback
for a lost horse named Lucky.
Other kids seemed oblivious to the risks the live sport
Lafayette resident Matthew Kandel, 4, was not concerned
about riders getting bucked off of horses. Instead, he is
practically counting down the days to his fifth birthday
because turning 5 makes him eligible to mutton bust, according
to his mother, Annie Kandel, 35.
Kandel’s sister also picked
up on the rugged Wild West spirit watching bull riding.
“But I’m not scared for them,” said Abby
Kandel, 5. “And I bet it wouldn’t be scary for
me to do it.”
Kandel, 46, described his children as “city
slickers born in Massachusetts.” But he and his wife
said the kids took to rodeos and dressed up to go early on.
That is OK with them.
“It’s definitely an all-American family crowd,
unlike the professional sports athletes, where you don’t
want your kids to be like them,” Annie Kandel said. “These
guys are safe to emulate.”
Pam Mellskog can be reached at 303-776-2244, Ext. 224, or
by e-mail at email@example.com.