More than 250 Colorado political and business leaders dusted off their cowboy boots, straw cowboy hats and custom Rockmount Ranch Wear western shirts Tuesday for the Denver Rustlers’ 35th annual trip to the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo to support the Junior Livestock Sale.

Following a light lunch and plenty of bipartisan mingling at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House in the Denver Tech Center, the modern-day cowpokes continued what has become a late-summer tradition to raise money for Colorado youth who raise animals as a way to pay for their college education.

Original Rustlers Tim Schultz, who helped found the outing when he was Colorado agriculture commissioner, and businessman and philanthropist Larry Mizel welcomed the Rustlers with a nod to the group’s origins and a description of what lay ahead.

The group's expert bidders help run up the price of all the champion animals with an eye toward bidding up the price of the lowest-priced animal in each classification, Schultz explained. He said the group will have a pool of more than $100,000 to bid against other similar groups that have emerged over the years, including Pueblo’s Fair Ladies, the the Pikes Peak Posse from the Colorado Springs area, along with various companies that have banded together to boost the livestock sales.

Livestock raised by the kids — cattle, hogs, lambs, goats, rabbits, chickens and turkeys — made its way into Tuesday's action by winning top honors at the state fair after first competing at county fairs.

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