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Pee-wee roundup

By Pam Mellskog
The Daily Times-Call

DENVER — Sisters Megan and Allison Eichner were gung-ho enough about the National Western 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.

Littleton resident Caden Stewart, 4, cautiously surveyed the scene from the coliseum’s mezzanine. He looked the part, with his toy double-holstered six-shooter belt, cream-colored cowboy hat, boots and rainbow-swirl lollipop.

The boy was hunting for a “real cowboy,” not a shootout, according to his grandfather, Lakewood resident Mike Vakoff.

“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 shirts.

“I didn’t like that very much, either, because I thought (the cowboys) would hurt them,” Megan Eichner said.

Her 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 entails.

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.

Matthew 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.”

Anthony 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 pmellskog@times-call.com.


 

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