Best Fishing Near Denver

Best Fishing Near Denver

There’s nothing quite like sitting down with the guys and cracking open a couple of nice cold beers over a bit of fishing. Sometimes, one of the biggest problems is finding the right spot for your tastes. Looking for that quiet, undisturbed spot with all of the biggest catches? Or perhaps you don’t mind the crowds and just want somewhere close to town and convenient to get to? We’ve compiled a list of the best fishing near Denver to help you find the best place suited to your own needs.

1. Cherry Creek Reservoir, Aurora

Fishing Cherry Creek Resevoir

  • Fish: Walleye, Wipers, Crappie, Rainbow Trout, Perch, Largemouth Bass
  • Distance From Denver: 19 Miles

Found within the Cherry Creek state park, the size of this lake and it’s location in the middle of the park make for some of the best fishing spots available. Because it is one of the most well known and popular fishing locations in Denver, you’ll be sure to see many other anglers there to try and catch a bite. Despite this there’s still plenty of opportunity to find and claim a good peaceful spot of your own if you are willing to walk around for a bit first.

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2. Sloan’s Lake

Sloans Lake Fishing

  • Fish: Northern Pike, Bluegill, Brown Trout, Cutthroat Trout, Rainbow Trout
  • Distance From Denver: 4 Miles

A popular spot for recreational activities of all types, Sloan’s lake is surrounded by a number of popular restaurants for a bite to eat before or after a long day of fishing. While being smack dab in the middle of an urban environment means that it’s not densely packed with large fish, it also means that this spot is incredibly convenient and accessible.

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3. Bear Creek Lake Park, Lakewood

Bear Creek Fishing

  • Fish: Trout, Bass, Bluegill, Perch
  • Distance From Denver: 19.6 Miles

Want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city life in Denver without going too far from home? Bear Creek Lake Park straddles the outer edges of the city, being just far enough to make the perfect fishing retreat without being too far away.

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4. Grand Lake, Granby

Grand Lake Fishing

  • Fish: Kokanee, Mackinaw, Brown Trout, Brook Trout, Rainbow Trout
  • Distance From Denver: 102 Miles

Those looking for a true get away should give Grand Lake some consideration. Nestled in the heart of the famous Colorado Rocky Mountains, Grand Lake is perfect for a multi-day trip. Rent a cabin and head on down with the guys to enjoy some peace and hopefully land a few catches.

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5. Westminster City Park Pond

Westminister City Park

  • Fish: Bluegill, Black Crappie, Channel Catfish
  • Distance From Denver: 14.2 Miles

The best spots often don’t remain a secret for long- locations with optimal conditions and a variety of fish often inevitably end up seeing higher traffic. Westminster City Park Pond for whatever reason is an exception to this rule however, as the traffic here never gets too out of hand despite it’s amazing fishing conditions.

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6. Cheesman Lake, Sedalia

Fishing Cheesman Lake Colorado

  • Fish: Bluegill, Yellow Perch, Sucker, Rainbow Trout, Largemouth Bass
  • Distance From Denver: 83 Miles

Despite having undergone some serious damage in the past on behalf of a fire, restoration efforts have made this park once again a lively and beautiful fishing location.

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7.Chipeta Lake, Montrose

Chipeta Lake Fishing Colorado

  • Fish: Trout, Sunfish, Bass, Catfish
  • Distance From Denver: 299 Miles

One of the furthest spots on this list is Chipeta Lake, located right at the base of the San Juan mountains. While not the biggest lake, Chipeta still sports a varied selection of fish available to catch. It’s relatively low elevation compared to some of the other mountain parks makes it easy to reach by car.

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8. Corn Lake, Grand Junction

Corn Lake Fishing Colorado

  • Fish: Bass, Bluegill, Channel Catfish, Crappie
  • Distance From Denver: 240 Miles

Sometimes it’s all about the amenities. Corn lake has plenty of fishing spots with nearby picnic and hiking areas. This means you can settle down and get to fishing while allowing the rest of the family to set-up nearby. Looking for clean and well stocked bathrooms? Corn Lake’s also got you covered there as well.

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9. Georgetown Lake, Georgetown

Fishing Georgetown Lake Colorado

  • Fish: Rainbow Trout, Brook Trout, Brown Trout
  • Distance From Denver: 43 Miles

Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter, you’ll find Georgetown Lake to be a popular fishing location all year round. While lively and energetic during the Spring as one would expect, once Winter rolls around ice fishing keeps the lake as interesting and full of potential as it was during warmer seasons.

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10. Waterton Canyon

Waterton Canyon Fishing

  • Fish: Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout
    Distance From Denver: 39 Miles

While not a lake like the other entries, Waterton Canyon is still a fantastic spot absolutely rife with aquatic wildlife. Those looking for running water will find what they’re looking for here. The hiking trail which runs along the canyon also makes this location a great choice to get in a walk among the beautiful scenery on your way out.

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Denver Western Wear

Top Western Wear Stores in Denver

From the cowboy boot to the ten gallon hat, the iconic trappings of Western apparel were shaped by the day to day needs of the frontier lifestyle. Even now, Western apparel is about more than just style, it’s about practicality and durability. This cowboy style is still alive Colorado with plenty of establishments dedicated to Western apparel to be found in Denver and beyond.

Denver Western Wear


Location: 14100 E 35th Pl, Aurora, CO 80011
Selection: Boots, Workwear, Men and Women’s Apparel, Accessories, Ranch Gear
Price Range: Affordable

The name says it all- Roper is a true cowboy’s brand. While you don’t have to work on a ranch in order to wear their fine selection of rugged western clothing, you can rest assured that Roper is the real deal. They understand the unique needs of the hardworking ranch hand.

Grizzly Rose Gear

Location: 5450 N Valley Hwy, Denver, CO 80216
Selection: Country Music Merchandise
Price Range: Affordable

In addition to live music and line dancing, the Grizzly Rose concert hall also is home to a fine selection of western themed apparel. Pick up some Grizzly Rose merchandise and show off to your friends.

Boot Barn

Location: 4 Locations

  • 8500 E Orchard Rd. Greenwood Village, CO 80111
  • 6360 S Parker Rd. Aurora, CO 80016
  • 10300 Bannock St. Northglenn, CO 80260
  • 14384 Lincoln St. Thornton, CO 80023

Selection: Boots, Workwear, Men and Women’s Apparel, Accessories, Ranch Gear
Price Range: Varies

Boot Barn is a part of a larger chain franchise also found throughout California and Texas. While connoisseurs of local mom and pop places might be turned off by this, the trade off is that Boot Barn sports a larger selection of inventory that is shared across stores. If you are unable to find what you’re looking for at the time of your visit, you can always have them order it from one of their other stores.

Denver Western Clothes

Panhandle Slim Western Wear

Location: 451 E 58th Ave. Denver, CO 80216
Selection: Men and Women’s Apparel, Accessories
Price Range: Varies

The gear of choice for rodeo enthusiasts, this brand has been worn by champion barrel racers, bull riders, and tie down ropers. Mixing comfort with performance, Panhandle brand western apparel won’t let the fashion get in the way of the function.

Rockmount Ranch Wear

Location: 1626 Wazee St. Denver, CO 80202
Selection: Boots, Workwear, Men and Women’s Apparel, Accessories
Price Range: Varies

The legacy of this brand can be seen still to this day, with many modern staples of Western apparel such as snap buttons having been first pioneered by Rockmount. Their timeless designs have been present in popular media such as movies and television shows for about as long as the brand has been around.

El Forastero

Location: 2 Locations

  • 8346 Northfield Blvd #1415, Denver, CO 80238
  • 4391 N Federal Blvd Unit B, Denver, CO 80211

Selection: Boots, Accessories
Price Range: High-End

Many of the ranchers and farmers that settled the West were Mexican or of Mexican descent. Because of this, the culture and aesthetic of Western apparel has been greatly influenced by the stylings of classic Mexican apparel. The brands found at El Forastero are beautiful examples of this fusion style as they are designed by Mexican artisans.

Denver Cowboy Hats

Hill Brothers Boots

Location: 1901 S Broadway, Denver, CO 80210, USA
Selection: Men’s Boots, Workwear
Price Range: Affordable

Locally owned and operated, the personalized touch and great service found at Hill Brothers makes them stand out. Whether you’re not sure what you’re looking for or you’ve got just the thing in mind, the friendly and knowledgeable staff at Hill Bros will help you find what you’re looking for. It must be noted though that while their selection is wide and varied, they only carry men’s boots.

Botas Lucero

Location: 1550 S Federal Blvd # E, Denver, CO 80219
Selection: Cowboy Boots
Price Range: High-End

The most iconic and recognizable piece of western apparel is of course the cowboy boot. A good boot can last years and will provide support and comfort through even some of the most rigorous conditions. Because of this, it pays to not skimp when it comes to high quality boots.

Goldmine Vintage

Location: 227 N Broadway Ste 102, Denver, CO 80203
Selection: Secondhand Apparel, Authentic Vintage Clothing, Country Music LPs
Price Range: Affordable

Looking for more unusual finds? Then head on down to Goldmine Vintage and spend the day digging through a treasure trove of rare and unique collector’s items and apparel. There is no knowing just what might turn up among Goldmine’s eclectic stock.

Country Line Dancing

Popular Country Line Dances

One of things that makes country music the very best of all the tunes out there is the ability it has to bring folks together on the dance floor. Some would even say you’ve never truly listened to country music until you’ve danced to country music. There is something charming and old-fashioned about dancing in a group, which makes going out line dancing to country music such a fun time. Compared to Salsa or Tango, line dancing is friendly to those who are learning the steps, so no need to be shy.

We’ve wrangled up a list of the most popular country line dances that are sure to get your boots tapping!

Popular Country Line Dances

Electric Slide

An oldie but a goodie, the Electric Slide offers the perfect place for dipping your cowboy boots into line dancing for the first time. This four wall, 18 count line dance was originally choreographed by Richard L.”Ric” Silver in 1976, gaining viral popularity in the late 80s and early 90s. Branching beyond the country genre, it was paired with Marcia Griffiths’ Electric Boogie. For a more traditional get down we recommend Josh Turner’s “Why Don’t We Just Dance” or Tim McGraw’s “I Like It, I Love It.” Here’s a step sheet and a tutorial video below that will have you doing grapevines all over the dance floor before you know it!

The Cowboy Cha Cha

Choreographed by Kelly Gellette & Michelle Stremche, this one has a lot of turns. It might take a bit of practice, but trust us, it’s a heck of a lot of fun once you’ve got it down! This step sheet gives a good run down of the four wall, 20 count dance. Colorado’s own Brooke & Company does an excellent demo (shown below) of this one, dancing you through everything you’ll need to know. The Cowboy Cha Cha lends itself to a handful of songs, but most often you’ll find yourself rocking back and forth to Neon Moon by Brooks & Dunn. From time to time, it will be paired with a more uptempo to tune such as Gone Country by Alan Jackson.

Double D

The Double D, also known as Duck Dynasty, is a newer line dance on the scene, choreographed by Trevor Thorton in 2015. A four wall, 32 count dance this is done to “Cut ‘em All” by Colt Ford Featuring Willie Robertson and has plenty of rocking back and forth to get you grooving. Here’s the steps break down and you can try it out for yourself with this Double D demo:

Tango with The Sheriff

Most of us do our best to avoid run-ins with law enforcement, but Tango with The Sheriff is one encounter you won’t want to miss out on. Choreographed by Adrian Churm, this four wall, 48 count dance is a delightful mixture of slides and box steps. Practice stomping along with the video below and gear up to dance to this one with “Cha Tango” by Dave Sheriff.

Bring on the Good Times

This four wall, 32 count dance choreographed by Gary O’Reilly & Maggie Gallagher absolutely lives up to its name. With a mixture of claps, slides, and struts Bring on the Good Times makes for a fun transition between beginner to intermediate level line dances.  Coupled to Lisa McHugh’s song of the same name, you’d never know this one has Irish roots…to us it sounds as country as all get out! For this one, we will have these French cowboys and cowgirls show how it’s done:

Tush Push

On par with the popularity of the Electric Slide is the Tush Push, one of the most widespread line dances found on the dancefloor over the last twenty years. Choreographed by Jim Ferrazzano, this four wall, 40 count dance earns its name from plenty of hip bumps and cha-chas as detailed in this step sheet. Some great songs are Brooks & Dunn classic “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” which makes for a great match with Tush Push, as does Alan Jackson’s “Chattahoochee.” Let’s have Robert Wilson, five-time world champion of country dance, working with artists like Taylor Swift, Kerry Underwood, Brad Lesley, take us through this one:

Step sheets and YouTube videos are helpful, but there is no replacement for hitting the dance floor to practice those shuffles and slides! With thousands of different line dances out there, we could keep rambling on, but why not grab your dancing boots, come on by the Grizzly Rose for a line dance lesson or two? We promise to show you why the most popular country line dance steps and a hoot and hollerin’ good time!

Road Trip Country

Country Road Trip Essentials

One of the great adventures of living in America the beautiful is a good old fashioned road trip. Whether you’re crossing state lines, exploring your home state, or spanning the entire length of our great nation, there’s something very American about the open road. If you’re based in Colorado like we are, the potential for epic road trips is seemingly endless in almost any direction. Whether your heading into the surreal landscapes of Utah or making your way south to the mountains and deserts of New Mexico, a road trip should be on everyone’s bucket list who lives in Colorado. At the Grizzly Rose we are huge fans of road trips and we’ve put together a list of country road trip essentials you will need to best enjoy your next one!

Country Road Trip Essentials

Driving Hoodie

The one sure thing about a road trip is that you are going to be spending a lot of time in the car. Whether you are driving, being the navigator up front, or lounging in the back, feeling comfortable is a crucial part of enjoying the open road. There’s no better article of clothing for comfort in the car than a quality hoodie. We never embark on a road trip without one! We think our Graphite Black Grizzly Rose Hoodie is the perfect road trip companion. It’s very soft and comfortable and why not rep your favorite country saloon while out on the road!

Catch Phrase

Depending on how far you go, entertainment in the car will become something you need. Once you’ve listened to all your music, told your best stories, and realize you still have 5 more hours to go, you will want something to do. Catch Phrase is the perfect car game that even the driver can play (only guessing of course) which has kept us entertained over lengthy road trips. If you’re going to invest in Catch Phrase we recommend splurging a bit and getting the 5,000 Word Catch Phrase Edition. The cheaper/smaller versions only have about 1,500 words, which can get repetitive very fast.

Trucker Hat

No road trip would be complete without your crew wearing matching trucker hats throughout the entirety of the journey. Now, unless you are all already sporting Grizzly Rose Hats, the next best thing would be a trucker hat that’s red, white, blue, and patriotic. We think these MURICA Trucker Hats would fit the bill nicely!

Road Trip Essentials


Sunglasses are a requirement during a road trip and regardless of what other styles you own, the aviator reigns supreme as the classic road trip eyewear. There’s a reason every highway patrolmen you meet rocks this certain type of shade, it just pairs well with the open road. These cheap, but good looking Duduma Aviator Mirrored Sunglasses should do the trick!


Another crucial part of a good road trip is having the right snacks. While there are hundreds of choices depending on what you like, there are two snacks that we always associate with a road trip.

Sunflower SeedsThey help you stay focused and awake while driving as they take a bit of effort to eat. They are delicious, salty, and we think are the ideal road trip snack. We’re fans of the Original David Jumbo Seeds which you can by for cheap on Amazon in a 12-pack to save you some money.

Beef JerkyThe other thing you will always find with us on a road trip is beef jerky. We like the Jack Links Variety Pack that comes in little packages of both original and teriyaki flavors.


Driving fatigue can be a serious problem when you have long distances to go. That’s why it’s always important to have a fresh, rested copilot who you can switch with if you ever feel sleepy. We also always have a case of energy drinks in the car to make sure we are awake and alert all the time! Our go to is the Original Monster Energy.

Road Trip Things You Need

Neck Pillow

It’s not always easy getting comfortable in a car. As long as you aren’t the driver then you will probably be sleeping at some point during your road trip. Rather than the pain of waking up with your chin to your chest and your neck muscles strained from your head bobbing around, we always recommend a good neck pillow for a road trip. We like this Cloudz Microbead Neck Pillow, it’s cheap and comfortable.


Besides the car itself, we believe the most important thing to bring with you on a road trip is good music. Nothing beats the feeling of blasting your favorite tunes while cruising down the freeway with some friends. Country music and road trips go together like peanut butter and jelly, but there’s so many good songs to choose from how do you pick what to listen to? We’ve made it easy for you by putting together a list of our favorite country road trip songs. These tunes range from classics to newer tracks, but all have the common theme of being travel oriented. Give er’ a listen!

Hunting in Colorado: Then vs Now

Colorado was a big frontier back in the days of the Wild West. The area sits where the Great Plains come crashing into the majestic Rocky Mountains, and this gives the state a diverse amount of areas for wildlife to roam.

For survival and sport, generations of people have tried to outsmart nature and hunt animals here. But, there have been some sharp shifts over the years, and it hasn’t always been smooth and nice.

Let’s mosey through history and see how hunting in Colorado has changed over the years.

Hunting in Colorado

Native American Hunting Habits in Colorado

Quite a few tribes have called Colorado home, and they had quite different lifestyles. Some lived out on the plains, others spent more time in the mountains, and some even carved their homes into cliffs.

One trait that most of the tribes followed was that they were sustainable with their hunting practices. Many of them had traditions and spiritual beliefs that caused them to respect the ecosystem where they lived. They didn’t overhunt their prey, and they tended to be very resourceful about using as many parts of the animal as possible.

Overall, they did a good job at having a small impact on the ecosystem.

In Came the Wild West

As you know, they were eventually joined by people coming from other parts of the planet. People came for many different reasons, but most of them were not very concerned about the ecosystem, and their hunting practices made that pretty obvious. They didn’t have moral or spiritual reasons to be more responsible with hunting, and there wasn’t any sort of governing body telling them what to do. It was the Wild West, after all.

There were a few different types of people hunting at the time. For example, there were the settlers who were only concerned with getting food to survive. Or, there were trappers and other types of professional hunters who were trying to get fur pelts and other parts of animals to send east and sell. They were interested in catching as many furry creatures as possible. There were also soldiers, who at the best of times had to feed large groups of people, and at the worst tried to exterminate species in order to starve their enemies.

Native American Hunters

Times Changed

Fortunately, we’ve moved into a sort of third stage now, and it’s much closer to the first one than the second. It came down to the government stepping in to regulate who could hunt what, and they do it with the intention of preserving and protecting the animals, as well as the ecosystem they live in. This benefits hunters as much as it does the animals and people living in the areas, because it makes sure that one animal doesn’t become overpopulated and lead to starvation problems among others.

How the System Works

The system is a little bit complicated, but that’s what it takes to organize such a big state. It depends on the type of animal that a hunter wants to go after, but they generally are required to have a license to be allowed to hunt (and there are strict penalties for anyone caught with an animal for which they don’t have a license!).

For many of the big game types of animals, they hold a sort of lottery. If they’re lucky, they win the right to hunt in certain areas of the state, but they have to stick to the specific area that their license covers. Hunters can’t always get the license for the animal they’d like in the place they want, but they can accumulate points that will give them better odds in future years.

What People Hunt Now

Times may have changed, but Colorado hunters are still going after many of the same animals. There are ten big game species that they like to chase, and some of the favorites are elk, deer, and bears. Also, they like to go after ducks, geese, turkeys, and other types of birds. They even hunt small animals, such as rabbits.

Elk Hunting

Not Just Bullets

No matter how many things change, some things will just stay the same, and this whole concept has another example of that. Guns are the most common weapon used for hunting these days, but they aren’t the only type. Bows and arrows are still very popular, but they’re far more advanced than what was seen on the plains a few hundred years ago!

Licenses for Non-Residents

Many states only allow local residents to receive hunting licenses, but that’s not the case in Colorado. Because of this, it’s just like the old days. There are still plenty of adventurers coming from far and wide to try their skills against a wild animal.

The Modern Days of the Wild West

We may have missed out on living in the exciting days of the Old West, but there are still surviving parts of it. Hunting has gone through some big changes, but you can still try to learn the skills you would’ve needed had you been roaming the plains or exploring the mountains as an old explorer.

And, on the bright side, you have something that those people didn’t. After your big adventure, you can come visit us at the Grizzly Rose for another great Western experience!

Big Ranches

The Biggest Ranches in the World

Wouldn’t it have been great to live in the good old days of the Wild West? If you were feeling a bit claustrophobic in your city life, you’d have the choice to head off and become a rancher. Endless days of roaming through nature, and plenty of animals to keep you company.

The good news is that this fantasy can still be a reality! The Wild West may have been tamed, but there are still plenty of ranches around the globe. As a matter of fact, some of them are massive. Have a look below to see some of the biggest ranches in the world.

Biggest Ranches in the World

What Is a Ranch?

If you didn’t grow up roaming the open plains and sleeping under the stars, you might have trouble knowing exactly what a ranch is. Many people confuse them with farms, but there is a bit of a difference. Basically, ranches raise animals, and farms grow food. It can get tricky because they often overlap, but you’ll be safe if you stick with that definition.

Who Owns Them?

One interesting tidbit about these ranches is that they’re not all owned by cowboys. They’re big investments, and a lot of the people holding the deeds are rich folk who spend more time in boardrooms than on horses. The American who owns the most land is John Malone, a big shot in the cable business, and he’s followed by another media man, Ted Turner. These two seem to have a friendly competition on who can own more acres! Also among the top 10 is Stan Kroenke, the owner of the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche.

Vermejo Park Ranch

Vermejo Park Ranch

Location: Colorado and New Mexico, U.S.A.

It’s easiest to start this list off with something local, even though this one only has a small part in Colorado. It’s one of the spots owned by Ted Turner, and it’s so big that it can’t even stick to one state. It covers 590,823 acres, and it’s primarily used for conservation and recreational activities, but it does offer hunting, fishing, and natural gas collection.

Waggonner Ranch

Waggoner Ranch

Location: Texas, U.S.A.

Another massive ranch in the United States unsurprisingly sits in Texas. This one got its start back in 1852, and over time it grew to about 520,527 acres. It’s been in the news a lot over the past few years because it was sold back in 2012. Even with the asking price of $725 million, Stan Kroenke, the owner of two sports teams in Denver, bought it in 2012.

King Ranch

King Ranch

Location: Texas, U.S.A.

Those ranches are big, but they can get bigger. King Ranch comes in at about 825,000 acres, and this makes it the biggest ranch in Texas. Unfortunately, it’s not as amazing as you would first expect. Instead of one massive area full of cows roaming around, it’s split into four neighboring parts.

Anna Creek Ranch

Anna Creek Station

Location: Australia

Australians have a lot of different vocabulary words, and one of them is their word for ranch. Instead, they call it a station. And they’re allowed to do this because they host the world’s largest cattle station. It has 6,000,000 acres, so none of the ranches in the United States even come close!

Interestingly enough, it was first started as a place to raise sheep. Unfortunately, the dingoes were eating too many of them, so they switched to the much more durable cow.

Alexandra Station

Alexandria Station

Location: Australia

To put into perspective how large Australia is, this is another cattle station on their list. Not being as big, it only covers about 4,000,000 acres. If you truly want to be a modern-day cowboy or cowgirl, you might want to take a trip down under.

Chinese Dairy Farm

Mudanjiang City Dairy Farm

Location: China

Sometimes the amount of land becomes even less impressive than the number of cows. There’s a place being built in China that will be able to hold up to 100,000 cows. This is a dairy farm instead of a classical ranch, but it still is impressive because that capacity is far bigger than any ranch in North America.

Preserving the Land

These large ranches are big business, there’s no doubt about that. However, it’s inspiring to think that some of the biggest landowners buy up land in order to preserve it. This is a nice step towards making sure we always have those wide-open spaces we love so much.

Is It Time to Be a Rancher?

Now that you know there are such big tracts of land where cowboys and cowgirls are spending their days exploring with cattle, does it make you want to make a lifestyle change? You have plenty of options! If you don’t, you can always come by the Grizzly Rose when you want to get into the spirit of the Wild West!

Wild Western Towns in USA

Wild Western Towns in the USA

Maybe you’re a cowgirl or cowboy at heart, but you were born in a time when the Wild West has disappeared. You dream of roaming the plains on horseback, playing cards in a saloon, and waking up each morning ready for an adventure.

But wait, is the Wild West really gone?

It’s not the same as it was in the 1800s, but there are still plenty of towns left that feel just like the Wild West.

How We Chose Them

Before giving the list, let’s go over how we picked the towns. Looking for something with a Wild West feeling can lead you to a few different types of places, so we focused on three kinds. The first is the most obvious, and those are places that were famous in the Old West, and are preserved to look the same. The next is places which have modernized, but have the comfortable feeling of present-day cowboys and cowgirls. Third, we chose towns that have updated to modern standards, but kept some of the crazy nature of the Wild West.

Wild Western Towns in USA

Dodge City, Kansas

This famous town in Kansas got its start in 1847 when Fort Mann was built to protect people on the Santa Fe Trail. Times were hard, however, and it only survived about a year. But, it wasn’t long before a safer fort popped up in the same place, and this eventually led to a town next to it. Then the railroad came, and cows were shipped through on their way to other parts of the country. It may have modernized, but it still has a lot of bits of old Dodge spread around.

Dodge City Kansas

Tombstone, Arizona

This town deep in the Arizona desert was one of the big spots towards the end of the Wild West time period. It was a big mining town, and it had plenty of cultural activities (like an opera house) for the rich folk, and a great selection of saloons, gambling halls, and other less respectable place for the grittier types. It’s most famous for the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, and you can still see recreations of this on a regular basis in its original setting, as much of the town is preserved how it was.

Tombstone Arizona

Oatman, Arizona

This town in Arizona isn’t as well-known as some of the others, but it has some pretty distinct characteristics. To start, the name comes from a pretty interesting story. It was chosen in honor of Olive Oatman, who was the daughter of settlers that had been kidnapped for slavery by a Native American tribe. She was sold to the Mohave tribe, and eventually set free.

Nowadays the town is a revived ghost town (still giving it that Wild West appearance), and is most famous for its wild burros that wander the streets and happily accept food.

Oatman Arizona

Cody, Wyoming

This town was named in honor of “Buffalo Bill” Cody, and it doesn’t get much more Western than that. Not only does it have a whole selection of museums from the good old days, but it also hosts enough rodeos to comfortably call itself the “Rodeo Capital of the World.”

Cody Wyoming

Virginia City, Nevada

This town struck it rich with silver, but the atmosphere was preserved long after the mine was empty. You can view some museums, take a trip into the mine, stroll down the main street at high noon, or just drink whiskey in a saloon.

Virginia City Nevada

Deadwood, South Dakota

You might immediately think of a TV series when you hear this name, but it’s far from fictional. Gold was found in the nearby Black Hills in the 1870s, so the town attracted plenty of ambitious people. However, it wasn’t in the safest area, so many of these were a little rough around the edges. Gambling and prostitution were big business, and many locals took the law into their own hands (you know, with their revolvers). Even the famous gunman Wild Bill Hickok was shot here!

Deadwood South Dakota

Durango/Silverton, Colorado

Both of these Colorado mountain towns have quite the cowboy character, but one of the best parts is the thing that links them. This narrow gauge railroad is pulled by a steam engine for 45 miles through a beautiful stretch of mountains. You won’t even need to use your imagination to feel like you’ve gone back in time.

Durango Colorado

Bandera, Texas

This town doesn’t shy away from calling itself the “Cowboy Capital of the World.” There are gunfight reenactments, dude ranches, chuck wagon dinners, plenty of rodeos, and enough saloons to sit in and feel like you’re still in the Old West.

Bandera Texas

Denver, Colorado

Just because it’s become one of the most popular cities in the country lately, most people would write off Denver as a Wild West Town, but that would be a mistake. It’s loaded with cowboy history, annually hosts the National Western Stock Show (one of the largest of its kind), and it’s home to the Grizzly Rose. What more could you really want?

Denver Colorado

Explore the Wild West!

If you know anything about the Wild West, you’d know there’s no way to list all of its best towns at once, so this is just a taste. Saddle up your horse, and let us know what other spots you find!

Interview with Big SMO

Big SMO February 10th at the Grizzly Rose: Click Here for More Information

Have you played at the Grizzly Rose before?

Yes! We sold the Rose out our first time there and have been looking forward to our return show since then.

What is the most memorable concert you ever attended (not played at yourself)?

It was Pink Floyd in 1994  at the Division Bell Tour in Nashville, TN at Vanderbilt University. I was with my brother and is was “far out.”

What is the most memorable show that you played that sticks out as your favorite of all time?

When I opened up for Lynyrd Skynyrd in Louisiana. We were filming for the TV show & I got to freestyle on Sweet Home Alabama Live With The Band!

Who is currently your favorite artist to listen to in any genre (besides yourself)?

There are many artists I listen to in different genres:

  • Country: Jerry Reed, William Michael Morgan, ZacBrown
  • Hip-Hop: RickRoss, Hopsin, MGK, Yelawolf
  • Pop: Adele, The Weeknd, Amy Winehouse
  • Tech Pop: Elephant, Chainsmoker, Skrillex
  • Classic Rock: Pink Floyd, The Doors, Led Zeppelin
  • Rock: Alice In Chains, Tool, STP

What moment in your life did you feel the most ‘Country’?

When I was a kid running wild on my farm, playing in the creek and just spending all of my time in the woods.

Big SMO Live

What is your least favorite part about being a musician?

Mixing business with an art that you love is a hard line to walk.

What’s your favorite thing to do when you aren’t playing music?

Hanging with my kids, cooking, hunting and muddin’.

Which song is currently the most fun for you to perform live?

Ain’t Nothin Free, the crowd really loves it!

Who was your biggest influence, either in music or life in general?

My father, who passed to cancer almost 10 years ago, has always been my biggest influence. Even to this day I see him in almost everything that I do. Thanks Dad!

What’s one thing about your band that people would not expect?

I am the only guy in the band that has kids! None of the other guys have ever been married or have had children.

Connect with Big SMO

A History of Bull Riding

The History of Bull Riding

Eight seconds doesn’t really sound like a long time, does it? Well, if you find yourself clinging to the back of a gigantic, angry bull, then it suddenly feels a lot longer. That’s what bull riders face today, and it’s incredibly impressive when they’re able to muscle through the challenge successfully.

You’ve probably spent quite a few hours in a country music bar with some bull riding on TV, and maybe you’ve even watched it live at a rodeo or competition. But, do you really know the history of the sport? C’mon now partner, it’s required knowledge for all cowboys and cowgirls!

The History of Bull Riding

Good to Know: Difference Between a Bull and a Steer

Before we hop on the bull, it’s a good idea to be clear about some terminology. The difference between a bull and a steer is old knowledge for true ranchers, but you might not know it if you grew up in a city. But, don’t worry! There’s still time to learn.

A bull and a steer can both start out as the same species, but they head down different paths at an early age in life. Steers are castrated in their youth, and this prevents them from being used for breeding. The main reason for this is that they’re more calm and easier to manage, but their bodies develop more like that of the females because of the lack of testosterone. Bulls, though, are more aggressive, bigger, and stronger. They’re a lot to handle, but they can reproduce, give more meat (when slaughtered), and are ideal competitors to ride in a competition.

How People Started Riding Bulls

If you want to find the first person to hop on the back of an angry bull, you’d probably have to travel back to ancient times. On the other hand, you can look a lot closer if you want to find the birth of our modern sport. Charreadas were an old Mexican tradition where farmers and ranchers showed off their skills with the horses and other animals, and part of this was seeing how long they could hang on to a bull. Unfortunately, their earlier versions of bull riding didn’t end until the death of the cow, but it eventually changed to the more humane method of stopping when the animal got tired.

Bull Riding History

Evolution of Bull Riding

By the middle of the 1800s, this sport had become quite popular in the farming areas of Texas and California. However, it also got the attention of lawmakers, and they passed a few laws to make sure it wasn’t creating a miserable life for the animals. This caused a change in the competitions, but the concept survived and evolved through the growth of Wild West Shows and rodeos. The rules slowly changed, but the basic concept has remained the same.

Colorado’s Own PBR

Rodeos have been popular around the country for many years, but it always seemed like the competitors on the backs of bulls were the center of the show. However, many of them felt that the traditional rodeo format was limiting the potential of the sport. So, the PBR, or Professional Bull Riders Inc, was started by a group of the best athletes in 1992, and it brought bull riding to the modern world. About 20 riders were sitting around thinking of ways to boost the sport, and they all chipped in $1,000 to start this organization. Now it has more organized competitions, better TV deals, and prizes worthy of the risk. It’s managed to take a concept started by ranchers and turn it into a must-see sporting event around the world.

Bull Riding

Animal Welfare

One of the big concerns about bull riding is that it’s abusive to animals. While it’s less relaxing than wandering through a grassy field, the modern sport takes quite nice care of the bulls. They become worth a lot of money if they’re a good competitor, so the owners are motivated to keep them healthy. Since the painful parts, such as electric cattle prods, are no longer allowed in major US competitions, the sport ironically is much more dangerous for the human competitors who can fall off.

Show Off Your Skills at the Grizzly Rose

Not everyone has the opportunity (or the courage) to hop on a bucking bull, but technology has stepped in to make sure the average rodeo fans still have a chance. Mechanical bulls have started popping up around the country, and the controllable speed of the fake bovine allows for anyone to take a ride.

Have you ever tried showing off your skills? Do you want to?

Come on down to the Grizzly Rose, and see if you can hang on to our mechanical bull. Don’t worry if you don’t turn out to be professional material, we have plenty of drinks and great country music to lift your spirits!