Who We Are

Over the years, the prestigious Denver Rustlers have raise more than 2.8 million dollars for exhibitors at the Colorado State Fair Champion Junior Livestock Sale - supporting Colorado's young farmers and ranchers as they showcase their livestock to earn money for college.


The Denver Rustlers began 33 years ago during an economic downturn, when a lack of bidding threatened to shut down the Junior Livestock Sale at the State Fair. At the urging of the late Tom Farley {a Pueblo native and former legislator, who at the time, served on the board of Colorado State University), Tim Schultz (then Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture), approached Dick and Eddie Robinson, as well as Larry A. Mizel, asking them to step in and make sure the hardworking 4-H and FFA exhibitors could continue to participate and raise money for their futures. The three rallied their friends and colleagues to invest in these terrific kids' futures by supporting the livestock sale. After two decades of courageous leadership, Pueblo native Frances Koncilja is passing the reins of the Denver Rustlers to Joshua Hanfling in 2016. Hanfling brings almost three decades of experience in business and philanthropy to his new role and will continue Koncilja’s great work on behalf of the Rustlers. Hanfling will work alongside Laura Teal, Chief of Staff to Larry A. Mizel to plan and execute the Denver Rustlers in a manner honoring the work of so many great Colorado philanthropists who continue to support 4-H and Future Farmers of America through this endeavor.


In the early days, the small but committed band of Denver Rustlers traveled by plane (donated by United Airlines) to Pueblo for the Junior Livestock sale. Then, and now, almost everything that supports the event is donated by Denver Rustlers and other organizations and foundations (such as Del Frisco’s, First Bank, and Noble Energy), allowing nearly all of the money raised to go directly to the young exhibitors...


New Rustlers receive the trademark Denver Rustlers limited edition Rockmount Ranch Wear shirt, courtesy of MDC Holdings/Richmond American Homes Foundation, and a cowboy hat donated by the Koncilja Law Firm.


Through the Denver Rustlers’ vision and hard work, the Junior Livestock Sale is thriving. In 2016, the sale raised  $526,200  – with over $176,000 coming from the Denver Rustlers – a Rustlers’ record! In 2016, membership for the Denver Rustlers grew to 324 with 25 new Rustlers.


Stars

Denver Rustlers continue to be the largest buying group at the Colorado State Fair.

Stars

Tim Schultz, now at the helm of the Boettcher Foundation, and Katie Kramer, Assistant Executive Director of the Foundation, keep track of the bidding and the different buying groups. The Grand Champion and the Reserve Grand Champions will easily sell for tens of thousands of dollars. The Rustlers use most of their pooled funds to make sure the other young exhibitors get a fair price for their animals, staying until each and every animal is sold.


The editor and publisher of the Colorado Statesman ride the buses to Pueblo, shooting photos and getting great stories, and the Colorado Statesman publishes a special insert every year to their September edition that features the efforts of the Denver Rustlers.


Made up of Colorado’s most prominent business leaders and elected officials (from both parties) – the annual trek of the Rustlers has become the can’t-miss-event of the summer. This recent cartoon from the Colorado Statesman summarizes us best:

The Denver Rustlers, incorporated as an "official" 501 (c) (4) with the name of the Colorado State Fair Express, only accepts registration online and with secured credit card processing.

Cartoon