5 Things Delegates Should Do In Denver When the Democratic delegates descend on Denver for the party's national convention, they should try to see the "real" Colorado — like getting out of town to see bison or to climb a mountain. Or hit the Buckhorn Exchange for some Rocky Mountain oysters.
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5 Things Delegates Should Do In Denver

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5 Things Delegates Should Do In Denver

5 Things Delegates Should Do In Denver

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Delegates are starting to arrive in Denver for Monday's start of the Democrat National Convention. And, as you might imagine, a campaign has been orchestrated to enhance Colorado's image. So we asked our Denver reporter Jeff Brady to show us the real Colorado. He came up with a list of five things delegates should do but probably won't.

JEFF BRADY: Number one on the list: Watch a cattle drive through downtown Denver.

We're talking the real thing here with cowboys on horseback, long-horned cattle. This happens every year at the start of the National Western Stock Show. Sadly, a cattle drive planned for the convention was nixed by some high profile opponents, among them, William Dean Singleton, publisher of the Denver Post. One of Singleton's reporters, Chuck Plunkett, explains.

Mr. CHUCK PLUNKETT (Reporter, Denver Post): He felt like that would make Denver look like a cow town. That you bring in the national and international media and the first image that they get, literally, as they're getting off the plane - they've had a little chance to wash up and relax and now suddenly all these cows are coming down the street.

BRADY: But never fear. There's another change to see livestock associated with the city. And that brings us to number two on our list: view one of Denver's city-owned bison herds.

Denver's Parks Department has about 90 bison grazing hilly fields just outside of town. The city started the heard nearly 100 years ago as a conservation effort.

For those who like their livestock on a plate, there's number three on our list: eat three kinds of unusual meat, preferably in one sitting. And the best place to do that is at Denver's oldest restaurant, The Buckhorn Exchange, where you'll find co-owner Bill Dutton.

Mr. BILL DUTTON (Co-owner, The Buckhorn Exchange): While we do serve great beef steaks, we also feature things like rattlesnake and yak and ostrich and buffalo and elk. Most of these animals you can actually see hanging on the walls while you're enjoying.

BRADY: And make sure you leave room for one of the region's signature dishes.

Mr. DUTTON: Our most popular appetizer is Rocky Mountain oysters, which are not seafood. There's a number of ways to describe them: the south end of a northbound bull.

BRADY: And I guess proof that anything as long as you fry it is going to taste OK.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. DUTTON: That's actually - things like the alligator, yeah.

BRADY: Next is number four on our list of five things delegates should do in Colorado but won't.

Mr. HOWE WRITER (Writer, Colorado): Get out of Denver and take in some of the real scenic beauty of the state.

BRADY: That's Howe Walter. He's a writer and lives about three-hours drive outside Denver in the mountains. Walter says you'll find some of the best fruit you've ever eaten in the rural parts of Colorado.

Mr. WALTER: Get over to the western slope, maybe eat a Palisade peach or head to the southeastern corner of the state and have a Rocky Ford cantaloupe.

BRADY: Both are conveniently in season during the convention.

That brings us to number five: climb a 14er. That's a mountain that exceeds 14,000 feet in elevation. Colorado has more 14ers than any other state. The obvious choice for delegates is Mount Democrat in central Colorado. But for the less ambitious there's Mount Evans, which has a road all the way to the top. That's where I found Joe Lehy(ph) from Denver, who pointed south to Pike's Peak about 50 miles away and then looked east.

Mr. JOE LEHY (Resident, Denver): Oh, I think I see Dorothy over there in Kansas flying around. I mean, you can see the curvature of the Earth from up here, too, on a clear day.

BRADY: Now, if you're traveling from one of those blue states on the coast you may want to spend a few days in Denver before traveling up to the mountains, changing altitude that quickly can leave you ill and unable to appreciate the natural beauty and Western heritage of Colorado.

Jeff Brady, NPR News, Denver.

INSKEEP: For tips on avoiding altitude sickness while listening to airy speeches go to npr.org.

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