National Western Kickoff Parade draws crowd of thousands to see Longhorns, former Bronco Rich Karlis
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The annual tradition of the National Western Stock Show Kickoff Parade continued Jan. 7 as thousands of spectators watched Texas Longhorns, horse chariots and rodeo vendors march through the streets of Downtown Denver. The Stock Show runs Jan. 9-24 for its 110th year in a row.
The 2016 Parade Grand Marshal for the 110th National Western Stock Show was former Denver Broncos placekicker Rich Karlis. Karlis is a long-time Colorado man, and in seven seasons with the Broncos, he became a legend for his barefoot placekicks, according to a news release from the stock show.
“Rich is a dedicated family man, an active member in the Denver community, and a true ambassador of our western lifestyle as evident in his family’s love for horses,” said Paul Andrews, president & CEO of NWSS. “We are honored to have a Denver legend and passionate stock show supporter as our Parade Grand Marshal.”
On Jan. 11, 1987, about 28 years before he led the parade through Downtown Denver, Karl’s bare feet kicked a 33-yard field goal — off frozen turn — to win the AFC championship and secure the Broncos’ second Super Bowl visit, the release said. This year, his January began with Longhorn cattle, western wagons and plenty of horses, one of his family’s passions.
“I am flattered to be selected to lead the National Western Stock Show kick-off parade,” said Karlis. “Since moving to Colorado in 1982 as a walk-on free agent with the Broncos, I quickly fell in love with the Denver community and the beauty that surrounds it. I knew this is where I wanted to raise my family. The first National Western event I attended was in 1983, and I’ve been an avid fan ever since.”
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