The Denver Broncos Need to Support the Colorado Communities and Farmers Who Support Them.
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Addressed to All Members and Decision-Makers of the Denver Broncos Franchise:
“New Mexico ‘One Ups’ Colorado in Chile Battle, Partners with Denver Broncos”. This is the title of a KRQE Albuquerque News article, which ran on May 24, 2018. The first sentence of the article reads “In the never-ending chile battle between New Mexico and Colorado, it seems like the 505 just one-upped our neighbors to the north, on their own turf”.(1) This is one of many articles recently posted regarding the Denver Broncos decision to start serving green chile in their stadium, grown from the Hatch Valley in New Mexico, as opposed to the locally-grown (and much better tasting) Pueblo chile GROWN IN YOUR OWN STATE! This decision was the figurative equivalent to the Denver Broncos arriving in Pueblo, COLORADO’s chile fields, wearing New Mexico Hatch jerseys and cheering AGAINST the “Home Team”. But if reading the title of that one news article isn’t enough to emphasize the detrimental impact of your decision, allow us – the Bronco fans of Pueblo and Southeastern Colorado – to elaborate using the facts:
There are a number of reasons supporting the fact that this was simply a terrible decision by the Denver Broncos franchise, but we’ll start with the most obvious. In late January of 2014, as the Denver Broncos were preparing for Super Bowl XLVIII against the Seattle Seahawks, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock made a friendly bet with Seattle’s mayor over the anticipated outcome of the championship game. Hancock’s promised obligations included known COLORADO staples, including a hoodie, ball cap, skis handmade by Denver's locally grown Icelantic Skis, and most importantly . . . a sampling of Denver’s “amazing green chile”.(2) This was similar to a previous bet Hancock had made earlier that month with San Diego’s Mayor for the playoff game against the San Diego Chargers, in which Hancock described his wager as “Denver’s fabulous green chile”.(3) Hancock’s statements solicited a swift response from New Mexico’s Department of Agriculture, as well as the state’s Governor, who’d defended New Mexico as being “the chile state”.(4) This, in turn, elevated an increasingly-heated feud between the two states over chile, which has since received nationwide attention.(5) (6) Hancock’s wager for Denver’s “amazing” and “fabulous” green chili was referring to the COLORADO native Pueblo chile, which is grown on farms southeast of Denver, on Pueblo’s St. Charles Mesa.(7) The defensive response from New Mexico referred to their Hatch chile, which is grown in the Hatch Valley of their state.(4) Virtually every citizen of both states is well aware of the ongoing debate between the regions over whose chile is better. Being that the Denver Broncos franchise thrives on the spirit of competition, it is unfathomable that the Denver Broncos (which the last time we’d checked, were a COLORADO team) did not seem to factor this when making a decision that would essentially concede Colorado’s obvious advantage to the inferior chili of our neighboring state. Figuratively, the Denver Broncos have essentially just ran the ball back to the opposite side of the field and scored a touchdown for the opposing team.
So, there’s that.
Then, there are the COLORADO farmers who got the big, orange, styrofoam, middle finger. A recent article from Albuquerque Business First spotlights the new partnership between the Denver Broncos and 505 Southwestern, and boasts of the boost of millions of dollars to the Albuquerque economy, along with their promised “194 new local jobs”.(8) The article also emphasizes a statement made by Dan Hawley of the Broncos organization, in which he’d claimed that the 505 brand is “local, it's authentic, and it's premium". No, Dan Hawley. Albuquerque, New Mexico is not “local” to Denver. “Local” would be the COLORADO farmers located just 115 miles south of Denver . . . You know, IN BETWEEN Denver and Albuquerque. Our neighboring location alone seems to indicate that it could not have been easy to simply overlook Pueblo farmers and the Pueblo community, who sure could have benefited from those 194 new local jobs. Especially given the amount of money Puebloans often spend on Denver Broncos game tickets and merchandise. (wink)
There are at least 11 Pueblo-based farmers who grow YOUR state’s famous chile (Find Them HERE) More importantly however . . . those 11 COLORADO chile farmers receive the full support of Pueblo and the surrounding Southeastern Colorado communities. So, when you slight them, you are also slighting communities that comprise roughly a quarter of your geographical fanbase. Prior to making a decision that could understandably alienate that specific demographic of Bronco fans, perhaps Dan Hawley should have taken some notes from Steve Lunzer, Regional Produce Coordinator at Whole Foods Market. With the increasing preference for Pueblo chile over Hatch, retailers throughout the region have been steadily dropping their Hatch supply and replacing it with the preferred Pueblo chile (not the other way around). In 2015, Lunzer made the switch from Hatch to Pueblo chile not just due to the higher quality, but also because the Whole Foods Market franchise “wanted to be mindful of trying to support Pueblo Farmers as much as we can”. As Lunzer explained, “It’s more than just one grower. It’s about community and many growers coming together”. Unlike the Denver Broncos franchise, Steve Lunzer understands the significance in supporting those who support him, which as he explains “allowed me to make this left turn and go all into supporting them”.(9) Chile is not just a Pueblo staple; it carries with it an emotional connection among all Southeastern Coloradoans.(7) We love our communities as much as we love our Broncos, and no one ever expected that we would ever be in the position of supporting either one or the other.
Finally, there’s the easiest argument of them all – Pueblo chile is simply better-tasting and superior in quality to Hatch. According to Michael Bartolo, manager of Colorado State University’s Arkansas Valley Research Center, this is because “the high elevations of southeastern Colorado, along with hot summers and cold nights, create a chile that is thicker and meatier than others, which makes them ideal for roasting”. Bartolo further explains the noticeable comparison in taste between the two chiles, because Pueblo chiles range in heat from medium to hot, whereas a typical Hatch chile only ranges from mild to medium.(9) So, on top of conceding the dominant debate position of your state to another, and simultaneously stiffing your local farmers, you have additionally made the decision to serve the loyal fans who attend your stadium with an inferior product. But this decision makes it crystal clear that those factors simply don’t matter when the Denver Broncos franchise wants to save a few bucks.
Understanding and accepting that the deal between the Denver Broncos and 505 Southwestern has already been reached, this petition is designed simply to notify the Denver Broncos franchise about just how bothered Puebloans (and our neighboring COLORADOANS) feel regarding this slap-in-the-face decision AGAINST your own fans. If the potential to reverse the decision is viable, we ask that rethink your previous position to include factoring the importance of supporting Colorado farmers and communities. While most of us will always support our “home team” (even when they do not support us), several Southeastern Bronco fans are deciding to now focus their support to our community by buying Pueblo chile from our local farmers INSTEAD of purchasing game tickets, or any related Denver Broncos merchandise. After all . . . it’s all about saving money, right? So, now the ball is in your possession, Broncos. Now, you get to explain to Pueblo and Southeastern Colorado why having home field advantage isn’t so important after all.
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