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!

History of Two Step

History of the Two Step

All fans of country music know that it was absolutely made for dancing, and there are plenty of different styles that you can let loose to. One of the most popular types is the Two Step, and this is one that you have to try if you haven’t already!

Even if you’re already a master at this dance, do you know the history behind it? If not, kick off your dancing boots for a few minutes and read on! A little bit of learning will allow you to show off your knowledge as well as your dance moves next time you’re in the Grizzly Rose.

Origins of the Two Step

History of Two Step

As with many great things in history, it’s hard to say exactly when the Two Step was originally created. But, it didn’t just come moseying on in one day. Instead, it was basically a mixture of the Foxtrot and the One Step, two other dances that were quite popular in the past. This was all going on in the early part of the 1800s, and these styles had their roots in the waltzes that were popular throughout Europe at the time. The first common name coined for this dance was the “valse a deux temps,” however, a French name didn’t quite match with the feeling of the dance, so it was eventually traded to become the Two Step.

Development of the Dance

The Two Step has gone through many changes over the years, but the early days of the dance become popular thanks to some music created by the famous composer John Philip Sousa. He wrote a song called the Washington Post March in 1889, and the pattern of the song pushed people to drop the more traditional gliding dances in favor of the style of the Two Step.

As an interesting little side note, the song was in fact named for the famous paper in our nation’s capital. The paper was hosting an awards ceremony for an essay contest, and they wanted to have some patriotic music playing. So, the leader of the United States Marine band wrote the song, and you can thank the newspaper business for helping to inspire one of your favorite pastimes!

These dances at the beginning were very different from the Two Step that you dance today. It was really various versions of the Foxtrot back then, but the important part is that they started moving one-step and two-step moves into popularity. Kids particularly liked dancing these moves when they were learning how to square dance, and they were so fun that they wanted to stick with them as they grew up.

The Country Two Step

The dance is often called the Texas Two Step or the Country Two Step, and those names came from the period when it started to separate from the Foxtrot. It was popular in the south, as is quite common with country music, so plenty of people in Texas were dancing along to it.

Evolution of the Two Step

Two Step Dancing History

There were many different changes made to the dance over the years, but there was one particular instance that really spread it around. The movie Urban Cowboy came out in 1980, and of course people were impressed by John Travolta’s dance moves. The fact that it takes place primarily in a bar called Gilley’s in the Lone Star State is another reason this dance often has Texas stamped at the front.

But, the Two Step has gone through quite a few changes even since people agreed on a name. The early days saw dancers kicking back and forth down the floor in a straight line, but it slowly changed into the circular pattern that we know and love today.

How to Dance

Do you know how to do the dance? Let’s go over that to help all of this make sense! It’s done with partners (one is the “leader,” and the other is the “follower”), and they start out by facing each other. The leader obviously does the leading, and the pair goes counterclockwise around the dance floor. Various patterns of steps are followed (a mixture of quick and slow), and it depends on the dancers and exactly which style they’d like to do.

Learn to Two Step at the Grizzly Rose

On second thought, we can write about it all day, but let’s be honest for a second. You shouldn’t learn a dance by reading it, or even by watching online videos. You need to be in a Country Western environment surrounded by good music, cowboy hats, and plenty of friends!

So, do you want to learn these moves yourself? We have Two Step classes at the Grizzly Rose, so sign up and grab your boots! There are options for both group classes and private lessons for couples. We’ll have turn you into a master in no time, then you’ll be able to dance your nights away in true country style.

Colorado Leaves Color Change

Colorado’s Best Spots to Watch the Leaves Change

Country music was born out of the love that Americans had for roaming the great outdoors in search of freedom and beauty. That’s why it makes such a great soundtrack for any exploring we may do – even though most of us have replaced our horses with cars.

Colorado has more beauty than most of the world, and one of the best times to take advantage of this is when the leaves brighten up in the fall. You don’t necessarily have to make a big trek to see some pretty trees, but there are some extra special places – some near, others far – that are worth visiting this time of year.

So put your favorite country tunes on the radio, grab your camera, and go build some memories!

Buffalo Pass

Distance from the Grizzly Rose: 3 ½ hours, 172 milesLeaves Changing in Colorado

This pass is located near Steamboat Springs, and it’s a great trip for anyone wanting plenty of

hiking options. You’ll have the opportunity to wander through multiple of aspen groves, see some lakes,

and lounge in high-altitude meadows. After the seeing the leaves, why not take off your boots and rest

your sore feet in the hot springs?

Castle Creek Road

Distance from the Grizzly Rose: 3 ½ hours, 166 miles

This is another good opportunity to see some aspen groves when their tiny, round leaves turn into various shades of orange and yellow. Also, it’s a pretty appropriate place to view them since it’s right next to Aspen – you know, the old mining town which turned into a hangout for the rich and famous. But, if you want to skip the glamor of the 21st century, you could stop by the nearby ghost town of Ashcroft. Only a handful of its old buildings are still standing, but it’s enough to take you back to the good old days.

Cottonwood Pass

Distance from the Grizzly Rose: 2 ¾ hours, 144 miles

This pass sits between Buena Vista and Crested Butte, and it makes a pretty impressive crossing of the Continental Divide. It also allows you to drive (or do some walking) through some intense valleys full of Aspens.

Fall Leaves Change Color ColoradoDallas Divide

Distance from the Grizzly Rose: 5 ½ hours, 335 miles

This one is a bit of a drive to get to, but it’s worth it. It’s down on the San Juan Range near Telluride, and you’ll have a lot of scenery to enjoy before you get there. Also, the 14,158 foot Mount Sneffels sits off in the distance, so you might even be lucky to see some snow shimmering on the peak.

Grand Mesa

Distance from the Grizzly Rose: 4 ½ hours, 252 miles

This is another that’s a bit of a trek to get to, but you’ll mosey far out of the touristy areas, so you’re much more likely to have it all to yourself. Plus, you’ll get to follow the Colorado River for some of the drive.

Kebler Pass

Distance from the Grizzly Rose: 4 ½ hours, 200 miles

Kebler Pass is pretty close to Gunnison, CO, and heading all that way is rewarded by seeing one of the largest aspen groves in the world. These trees grow so close together because they’re all connected by a common root system, so it’s truly a spectacular site to see a large group of them changing color.

La Veta Pass

Distance from the Grizzly Rose: 3 hours, 200 miles

This drive goes up over 9,000 feet, and nature just engulfs you in an amazing way. There are groves of aspen trees mixed in with green pine trees, and the sharp contrast of colors makes them all seem more vivid.

Maroon Bells

Distance from the Grizzly Rose: 3 ½ hours, 167 miles

Once you get to these peaks surrounding a lake near Aspen, you’ll probably have a feeling of déjà vu. No you haven’t been here before, but these two fourteeners are arguably the most photographed mountains in North America – and for good reason. It’s breathtaking any time of year, but the changing leaves make the view even more perfect.

Peak to Peak Scenic and Historic Byway

Distance from the Grizzly Rose: 1 ½ hours, 70 miles

This historic road is the oldest scenic byway in Colorado dating back to the early 1900s. It starts in Estes Park, then it loops through some amazing scenery in the mountains for about 55 miles before hooking up with Interstate 70. It’s an easy trip from Denver, and a great loop to make in the autumn.

Colorado Leaves Color ChangeThe San Juan Skyway on the Million Dollar Highway

Distance from the Grizzly Rose: 6 hours, 340 miles

This 236-mile long byway is one of the prettiest roads on the planet. It loops through Telluride, Durango, Silverton, and a view other towns to give you a diverse set of amazing views. In short, this one takes quite the drive to get to, but it’s worth every second you’ll spend in the car.

Trail Ridge Road

Distance from the Grizzly Rose: 2 hours, 110 miles

This one is pretty close to home as the crow flies, and it just so happens to be the highest continuously paved road in North America. It peaks over 12,000 feet, so you’ll get to see trees and plant life at all levels of oxygen.

Time to Go!

There are quite a few options to choose from, but don’t procrastinate! These epic views only happen once a year, and they’re gone before you know it. It’s time to go hit the ol’ dusty trail!

Cross Country Horseback USA

Riding a Horse Across the USA

Have you ever ridden a horse? Did you feel like a true a cowboy roaming the Wild West? You should, but a few other modern rebels may have you beat. If you’re satisfied with your past experiences, then you should stop reading now, but if you want to open up a whole new world of possibilities, then you need to hear this!

Travel Horseback Across USA

Alex McNeill and Pepper

Alex McNeil is a man experienced in journeys that cover great distances, but he recently completed one that would make any old cowboy or cowgirl proud. He rode from Oregon to New Hampshire on the back of his trusty horse, Pepper. It was an adventure that covered about 4,000 miles through all types of landscapes, and although the challenges were major, the rewards were even greater.

Not an Experienced Rider

You probably assume that McNeil has been riding horses his whole life, and that’s what motivated him to do this. Well, that’s not the case. He had actually never ridden a horse before he decided on this track. But, that doesn’t mean he was making irresponsible or dangerous choices. He spent months learning everything he could about horses, and people who were much more knowledgeable about the animals took the time to work with him and Pepper to make sure they were prepared.

USA Cross Country Horse Travel

He’s Not the Only One

It may seem like long-distance trips on horseback went out of fashion when the Wild West was tamed, but there have been quite a few people recently who have made similar trips to the one McNeill and Pepper did. There have been plenty of pairs of human and horse who have successfully completed the journey, and there are sure to be more.

Allen Russel and King Hoppy Kono

This duo made their trek back in 1975, but they took a slightly different route. They started up at the Canadian border, and they traveled all the way down the Rocky Mountains until they got to Mexico. The total distance was a little bit shorter since it was only about 2,400 miles, but keeping to the mountains let them stay in remote areas most of the time. Plus, they didn’t have any of the handy tech gadgets we have today, so it required a lot of old-fashioned navigating. Time travel may be impossible, but a trip like this could make it seem like it’s not such a far-fetched idea.

Ride a Horse Across the USA

Bill Inman and Friends

Another more recent journey was made in 2008, and that’s when a man named Bill Inman set off with his wife and a few friends acting as a support group. Inman had become upset about how divided and full of controversy the country seemed on the news, so he wanted to do his part to bring the real spirit of America to the spotlight. Along the way, he met a ton of nice people, shared a lot of interesting stories, and successfully proved that our country is still full of amazing and happy people.

Safety of Riding a Horse so Far

Before you hop out the window and land on a horse, keep in mind that trips like this aren’t for everyone. They take a lot of planning. A lot. And there are quite a few risks involved.

Also, most importantly, you have to remember that it’s not just your life that will be impacted. You’re going to be responsible for an amazing animal, and the loyal horse will also be facing the dangerous risks.

Cross Country Horseback USA

Do the Proper Planning

If you’re thinking about grabbing your hat, boots, and horse to make a journey like this, make sure to do your homework before hopping in the saddle. You’ll be able to stop places for supplies part of the way, but you’ll have to be able to sustain yourself in the wilderness for much of the time. You’ll need food, water, clothing, shelter, medicine, and much more for both you and your horse.

Also, make sure you know how to navigate. Leading a horse through the wilds of America is pretty different from punching in an address on your car’s GPS. Plus, just knowing how to get somewhere doesn’t mean you can easily do it on a horse. And what about crossing major highways or large rivers? You need a bridge, but not all bridges are safe for horses to prance across.

But don’t let all of this scare you! Once you hit the trail, you’ll realize that you’re on the trip of a lifetime – just make sure you’re ready for it.

We’re Here, Horse or Not

We haven’t mentioned everyone who has made a similar journey on horseback, but you get the idea. It’s obvious that some of you are already dreaming of the wide-open spaces you’re going to spend your days in, but others are probably skeptical of making such a trip – and that’s just fine. Even if you don’t feel like going on such an intense journey, you’re still more than welcome to head down to Grizzly Rose. We’ll make you feel like a cowboy or cowgirl – no horse required.

Country Music Festivals

2016 Upcoming Country Music Festivals

It’s obvious that your favorite place to see country music concerts is at the Grizzly Rose, but you shouldn’t limit yourself to just one amazing place. A ton of country music festivals will be held all over the nation (and a few outside of it!) this year, and some of them are not to be missed. It would be great to hop on a horse and mosey over like a cowboy, but a good old-fashioned road trip is also a great way to experience some of these. So get your soundtrack ready for the drive, and pick out your next adventure!

Sunfest Festival

July 28-31 – Cowichan Valley, B.C.

Hello from up here! You all are beautiful! #sunfestcountry #party #music #cowichan #victoria #vancouverisland

A photo posted by Sunfest Concerts (@sunfestconcerts) on

This show on Vancouver Island is always a popular one, but this year has a few big names – most notably Carrie Underwood.

Red Ants Pants Festival

July 28-31 – White Sulphur Springs, Montana

#TBT with @turnpiketroubadours – Check them out in @rollingstone this month along with @corblund!

A photo posted by Red Ants Pants Music Festival (@redantspantsmusicfestival) on

Don’t be afraid of the red ants, because you’re sure to dance your pants off at this popular festival in Montana. The bands are slightly less known, but there are 16 acts that will keep you having fun!

Oregon Jamboree

July 29-31 – Sweet Home, Oregon

18 days until the Jamboree!! Y'all ready?! #oregonjamboree

A photo posted by Oregon Jamboree (@oregonjamboree) on

This festival is popular for the beauty of the area as well as the performers, but this year it’s being headlined by Carrie Underwood and Toby Keith.

Mountain Home Country Music Festival

July 29-31 – Mountain Home, Idaho

We put a night club in the middle of nowhere! DJKO keeping the party going after Blake Shelton. #mhcmf2015 #countrymusic #idaho

A photo posted by Mountain Home Country Music (@mhcmf) on

Have you ever been to Idaho? Have you ever seen performances by Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean, and Brantley Gilbert? Well, this is your chance to do both!

Watershed Music Festival

July 29-31 – George, Washington

Are we really doing not one but TWO weekends of Watershed? Is this real life!? #Shedders ??

A photo posted by Watershed Festival (@watershedfestival) on

If the name of this town isn’t enough to make you want to go, how about the chance to see Keith Urban, Jason Aldean, and Eric Church at an outdoor amphitheater overlooking the Columbia River?

Country on the River

August 4-6 – Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin

Wisconsin adds another big festival to the list, and this one next to the mighty Mississippi River gives you the chance to see Kid Rock, Lee Brice, Billy Currington, and others.

Boots and Hearts Music Festival

August 4-7 – Oro-Medonte, Ontario

Blake Shelton, Tim McGraw, Dierks Bentley, and many others will be performing at one of the biggest camping and country music festivals in Canada.

WE Fest

August 4-6 – Detroit Lakes, Minnesota

#fbf. Can't wait for 2016!

A photo posted by WE Fest Country Music Festival (@wefestmn) on

The 34th annual summer of this festival in Minnesota gives you another chance to hear the tunes of Tim McGraw and Kid Rock.

Flood City Festival

August 4-7 – Johnstown, Pennsylvania

This festival is held in Pennsylvania every August, and the aim is to hold a celebration of American roots music.

Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam

September 2-4 – Panama City Beach, Florida

2015 was great! Here's to an even better 2016! #gulfcoastjam #countrymusic #festival

A photo posted by Gulf Coast Jam (@gulfcoastjam) on

This major beach party held every Labor Day is a great one to attend, and this year you’ll get to see Lynyrd Skynyrd, Brad Paisley, and many others.

Did We Miss Any?

It’s tough to put together a list of all the best country music festivals that 2016 has to offer, but this covers quite a few of them.  Which one will you be heading to?

Denver Best Beer City

Denver’s Rank For Best Beer City

Recently the Thrillist rated the 16 Best Beer Cities in America by factoring in influence, breweries, history, impact, culture, and a little personal bias they added.

Speaking of personal bias, when checking out the list we figured Denver should be topping the charts as the #1 Best Beer Drinking city; however, that spot was filled by Portland Oregon along with bold claims that they are the city with the biggest volume of beer.

Denver was not far down the list though – coming in at #3! Considering there is almost 20,000 incorporated cities in the US I guess I shouldn’t be complaining too much about Denver taking bronze on the podium.

What do you think of Denver’s ranking?

Don’t forget! Tuesdays are all you can drink $1 draft beers!

Molly Brown House

Old West Museums in Denver

It’s well known that Denver has a wild history in the Old West. But, a lot of city slickers think that the modern vibe has taken away any feelings of wandering the prairie like the good old days. Fortunately, that’s not the case!

Grizzly Rose isn’t the only place where you’ll fit in with boots and a cowboy hat, so why not check out these Old West experiences spread all over Denver?

American Museum of Western Art

Bronco BusterThe Anschutz Collection at the American Museum of Western Art shows off art from the Old West. However, the artwork includes anything on the subject of the time period, not just art that was produced back in the 1800s. There are hundreds of paintings by quite a few different artists, and they have a wide range of topics depicting the various aspects of life before the industrialization of the country.

This museum is worth a visit, even if you’re not interested in the collection, because the building itself is a historical treasure. The Navarre Building was opened in 1880 across from the Brown Palace, and it started its life as a school for women. Ironically, it later turned into a sort of bordello where men could dine with prostitutes and take part in a bit of gambling. It’s really an ideal setting for art about the Wild West.

Black American West Museum and Cultural Center

This museum grew out of the childhood experiences of founder Paul M. Stewart. When playing “Cowboys and Indians” with his friends, he was always forced to join the second group because his friends claimed there were never any “black cowboys.” As he grew up, he learned that roughly one third of cowboys were actually black, and he created this museum that focuses on their lives, as well as the various jobs they did.

Buffalo Bill Grave and Museum

Buffalo Bill CodyThis museum in Golden is technically outside of Denver, but it has a view looking down on the city, so it’s close enough. William F. Cody was one of the most famous men of the period, and he solidified this reputation with his traveling Buffalo Bill’s Wild West shows.

If you’re concerned that it’s nothing more than a fancy gravestone, then stop your worrying. There’s also a nice museum with exhibits about Buffalo Bill’s life and other various issues of the era. It’s not quite the same as seeing one of his old performances, but the peaceful feelings on the mountainside make it worth it.

Denver Art Museum

If you think about it logically, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the Denver Art Museum would have a major section dedicated to art from the Old West. The collection is made up of pieces by quite a few well-known artists, and there are works by contemporary artists as well as those from the time period.

Four Mile Historic Park

Have you ever seen the oldest standing structure in Denver? If you haven’t, it’s time to head to Four Mile Historic Park. This house was built on the banks of Cherry Creek in 1859, and it had a series of owners in the first few years. When visiting, you can also check out animals and other exhibits on the 12 acres of this old farm.

History Colorado Center

History Colorado is a historical society that’s done an amazing job of adapting to the modern times.  They try to preserve the past and educate the public about it, and this interactive museum is a really fun way to immerse yourself in the history of the state of Colorado.

Molly Brown House Museum

Molly Brown HouseThis was the home of Molly Brown, a woman most famous for surviving the sinking of the Titanic. She was living in the mining town Leadville with her husband, a mining engineer, and he managed to find a gold discovery that put them into some great wealth. Visiting this museum can give you a good idea of how the rich classes lived in the Old West, and it’s an interesting change compared to the dusty lives of cowboys and gunslingers.

The Brown Palace Hotel

This one is more of a living museum, but it’ll give you another chance to see the kind of luxury brought around for the rich folk back in the day.  A lot of people became extremely wealthy in the Old West because of mining, railroads, and other major industry booms, and they needed a place to stay when they shuffled around the country.  This hotel was built in 1892 to serve that purpose, and it’s seen its fair share of rich and famous visitors over the years.

Time to Go Exploring!

That covers a lot of the major Old West museums in Denver, but there are plenty of smaller experiences and events that you can visit to take a trip back in time.  So, what are you waiting for?  Saddle up your horse and ride off into the sunset!

Top Western Movies

Country music and Western films are connected at the hip.  Not only does the musical style make up the soundtrack of a lot of them, but the popularity of the films actually helped spread the genre when it was much younger.  But, to help choose from so many options, here is our list of 10 movies that need to be on the lists of all cowboys and cowgirls!

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Good the Bad the UglyThis 1966 hit starring Clint Eastwood was one of the popular Spaghetti Westerns directed by Sergio Leone.  It was part of a trilogy made by this director, but is often regarded as the best in the series.  The story followed three rough guys searching for hidden gold in the middle of the Civil War, so there was plenty of chances for them to show their tough sides.  It really stood out for the strong tension, tasteful violence, and quality gunfights.

There were hundreds of Westerns made in Europe between the 60s and the 80s, and Italy was really a hotspot for them.  Interestingly enough, they often used multilingual casts, and they did all of the sound in post-production.  This made it easy for them to release each film in multiple languages at nearly the same time.

The Wild Bunch

This film made in 1969 followed an outlaw gang on the border of Texas and Mexico.  The major problem they faced was that it took place in 1913, and the Old West was becoming a thing of the past.  The filmmakers received a whole slew of awards for the movie, and it was filmed in a revolutionary way for the time.  Fast cuts in the edits gave way to multiple angles, and it came to life with a mixture of normal and slow motion images.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Butch Cassidy and Sundance KidPaul Newman and Robert Redford inspired many duos to daydream of living the bandit life with this 1969 movie.  It’s made even more exciting when you know that it was based loosely off of real life, and the gang even made their way to Bolivia while running from the law.

True Grit

No list of Western films would be complete without an appearance by the Duke, so why not choose the one where he won the Academy Award for Best Actor?  The film is based off a novel written in 1968, and John Wayne plays a U.S. Marshal who has what it takes to track a bad guy across some unforgiving territory.


This was another film in the long career of Clint Eastwood, and this time he plays an outlaw who comes out of a peaceful farming retirement to go back to the rough life of his youth.  The 1992 film had a much darker theme than most Westerns, and it tried to step away from the standard style of romanticizing the violence of the Old West.  Eastwood even declared it would be his last Western because he feared any more would require him to repeat a role he had already played.

The Magnificent 7 Western FilmThe Magnificent Seven

This film from 1960 made sure to put an all-star cast, like Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, and Charles Bronson into their cowboy boots.  It was about a band of gunslingers who had to protect a Mexican village from outlaws, and it was based off of a similar Japanese movie called Seven Samurai.  A sequel to this film will come out later this year, do you think it’s going to be as good?

High Noon

This one is a bit older as it dates back to 1952.  The plot basically follows a lawman who wants to retire to an easy life, but some recently free bandits decide they have other plans for him.  With no one to help, he falls into the lone gunslinger role, and, well, you can guess the rest.

Once Upon a Time in The West

Another older flick that dates back to 1968, the genre of this film is described as an ‘epic spaghetti western film.’ While the movie does move a bit slow, it’s very stylish and artsy which is not common among many top western movies. This was also directed by the infamous Sergio Leone. This movie is about blood, revenge, and the American frontier.

Top Western Movies3:10 to Yuma

Who says a Western has to be decades old to be a classic?  This 2007 hit stars Christian Bale battling Russel Crowe, and they did a good enough job that most critics overlooked the fact that the film was a remake.

Dances With Wolves

If you ever had any doubts that a Western made mostly with subtitles wouldn’t work, this one proved you wrong.  As a matter of fact, Kevin Costner and company impressed so many people with this 1990 film that it’s often credited as giving a second chance to the fading genre of Western movies.

What’s Your Favorite?

We can’t possibly narrow the best western films down to just ten.  We tried, but there are far too many…

What’s your favorite Western?

Leave a comment to let us know what we missed!

Best Live Performing Country Artist

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Colorado Whiskey Brands

Everyone knows that whiskey and country music go together like peanut butter and jelly, but did you know how great the distillery scene is in Colorado?  There are experts all around the state cooking up some liquids that would make any Wild West gunslinger proud. Here’s a list of some of our favorite Colorado whiskey brands.


Stranahan’s distillery is extremely proud of the fact that they’re the makers of the first Colorado-born whiskey.  The distillery is located in Denver, so it’s an easy one for locals to get to.  If you go take part in one of their tours, you’ll learn how the whole thing started from a burning barn, and you’ll get to taste some of their delicious concoctions.

Colorado Whiskey Brands

Laws Whiskey House

This is another local Denver distillery, and they are obsessed with making a small amount of high quality whiskey.  They aren’t interested in making simple drinks that will appeal to the masses, and they just want to create whiskey the way it should be.  You can take a tour of their distillery, and they’ll make sure you leave fully educated about the distilling process.

Leopold Bros.

Another fine distillery in Denver, but this one doesn’t totally limit itself to whiskey.  They make a whole assortment including whiskey, gin, vodka, liqueurs, fernet, absinthe, and more.  But the diverse selection doesn’t lead to any sacrifice in quality – they just like to have a lot of options.  Not only do they offer tours of the distillery, but they also have cocktail workshops.

Boulder Distillery

If you head up the road to Boulder, you can find another great distillery.  They started making vodka from an old family recipe that immigrated with the founder’s grandfather, but they quickly realized their life wasn’t complete without making whiskey, too.  They’re currently moving to a new location, but tours should start again soon.


Downslope is down the road in Centennial, and it’s another one that has a few different types of spirits on the menu.  Some of their drinks are even pre-mixed into cocktails, so they make life easy for you.  If you want to feel a little more challenged, then you can take a step up from the standard tour and enroll in a distilling course and workshop.

Colorado Whiskey Distillers
Breckenridge Distillery

It doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to figure out where this distillery is located, and their whiskey starts its life as snow.  They get the ingredients for their different spirits from local sources whenever possible, but they’re not afraid to import a few barrels from Kentucky.  Tours are offered in the distillery, but you can also pop into the tasting room downtown for a faster experience.

Peach Street Distillers

When you’re ready to head west, don’t forget to stop into Peach Street Distillers in Palisade.  The ingredients that go into their spirits are unique because of the Colorado desert valley in which they grow, and you taste it in the drinks.  They’re proud of the fact that they embrace the small-town life, and they’ll welcome you in their tasting room like family.

Golden Moon Distillery

Golden Moon is located in Golden, and they call their brown stuff “Gun Fighter Bourbon Whiskey.”  One of the biggest points of pride in this distillery is that the owner has a world-class research library of books about distilling.  He can prove that he has access to pretty much all of the knowledge there is, and you can taste the history.

Spirit Hound Distillers

This distillery in Lyons built their equipment around the goal of making the most pure and flavorful whiskey they could.  Their location in the foothills inspire them to follow the boldness of the west, so it’s worth the trip to any whiskey fan.

Colorado WhiskeyDancing Pines Distillery

If you head up to this distillery in Loveland, be prepared to fall into their relaxed way of enjoying life.  They named their company after the way they saw pine trees dancing in a snowstorm, and the experience helped them realize that there’s always peace in our scary world.  However, they go all out on their craftsmanship, so they produce some mighty fine whiskey.

Woody Creek Distillers

This mountain distillery is located in Basalt, and they really live off the land with their ingredients. If your quest was for vodka instead of whiskey, you’d be drinking something from potatoes they grew themselves.  But, they put hard work into all their drinks, and that’s the same attitude that grew the Wild West.

Woods High Mountain Distillery

Two brothers founded this distillery, and they were motivated by their love of outdoor adventures in the mountains of Colorado.  If you make a trip to their distillery, you can set your eyes on beautiful “Ashley.”  That’s the name that they gave to the antique German pot still that’s still going strong even after working since the 1880s.  With that kind of equipment, you just know the whiskey is great.