Illustration by Kevin Howdeshell/

We asked our readers to tell us who they think rules Colorado—natives or transplants? And we were downright shocked that 64 percent of you gave the nod to those not born on the sacred soil of our fair state. So we decided it would be appropriate for our Elwayville columnist, native son, and Broncos homer, Peter Kray to stick up for his home state. And to make a case for the transplants, we thought there would be no one better than Telluride’s favorite foster son, and unabashed Chiefs fan, Rob Story. So here they go, squaring off for the soul of the Invesco at Mile High State…

Land of the Freeloaders

Anyone who’s driven in the state of Colorado has no doubt seen those “NATIVE” bumper stickers–the green and white ones meant to evoke the Colorado state license plate. Whenever I spot a car with one, I feel sorry for the occupant.

I want to ask: Are you really so desperate to be known as a born-and-bred Centennial Stater that you need to broadcast it to truckers on I-25? C’mon. A bumper sticker doesn’t make you a true Coloradan; driving a Subaru does.

My Subaru is a navy-blue, 1997 Outback. I should explain that Subaru ownership was not a given with me: I was born in Kansas City, went to college near Chicago, and spent seven years in California before moving to Telluride in 1998. These days, though, I embody the best of Colorado: I climb 14ers, ski all winter, mountain bike all summer, and legally smoke medicinal marijuana every 4:20 I can.

I don’t care if you were raised in Pueblo: Transplants like me put the “rad” in Colorado. Perhaps you’ve heard of Lindsay Vonn, the first American woman to ever win three overall skiing World Cups. Vonn lives in Vail now, but learned to ski on a 309-vertical-foot hillock in suburban Minneapolis. Perhaps you’ve heard of Chris Davenport, the Aspen resident who became the first guy to ski (not just climb, but ski) all 54 of the state’s 14ers in a single year. Davenport was born at sea level in Massachusetts. Perhaps you’ve heard of John Elway, who not only won two Super Bowls as a Denver Bronco, but also runs the team as executive vice president of football operations. Elway has more juice than any Coloradan besides the governor. He, too, was born at sea level, and spent his formative years on the West Coast.

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