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DENVER (KDVR) — It was a much welcomed change from last year for the Brown Palace Hotel in Denver. The 75-year long tradition of showcasing the National Western Stock Show’s grand champion steer continued Friday to smaller but enthusiastic crowds. 

It was a lot like a bull in a china shop, except they are not bulls anymore, and it is not exactly a china shop. It is the Brown Palace Hotel hosting once again the National Western Stock Show grand champion steer.

“It started in 1945. Dan Thornton, a name that is known around Denver, he had the prize-winning steer for auction for $50,000,” Nick Moschetti, the Brown Palace general manager, said.

Friday’s iconic event is music to the ears of Moschetti, since last year was a ghost town around these parts.

“Tough year, obviously, closing this hotel for the first time in its 128-year history,” Moschetti said.

Bookings are still down about 20% from pre-COVID days, but the historic event that began in 1945 and was only canceled one time — last year — will help the hotel get back on track.

“Of course we are thrilled. We have been looking forward to these days for months, these are the events that we dreamed about over the last two years,” Moschetti said.

Grand champion steers Yellers and Reserve Bacardi watched the high tea crowd as the high tea crowd happily watched back.

The familiar sites, sounds and even smells, Moschetti said, are like a cool drink of water in a very dry land.