Grand Junction officially becomes Broncos country

Broncos football player Billy Thompson poses for a photo with Blake Adair, 11, of Grand Junction and the boy’s mother Errin Myers, far right.

Grand Junction is Broncos country.

That well-known fact became official Wednesday when the Denver Broncos made a stop in Grand Junction as a part of their Broncos Country Flag Campaign.

Arriving at Stocker Stadium, local fans were treated to a hour of festivities as a thanks to the Broncos fans in the Grand Junction area.

“We have had a line of people standing by the gates since noon, so that is a good sign,” said Sam Rainguet, spokeswoman for the City of Grand Junction. “We have a lot of good things and it is just a lot of fun for the fans.”

The fans were let in at 2 p.m. and began the experience by walking through an inflated Broncos helmet. Most then made their way to see the Broncos’ two Super Bowl trophies.

“It is really cool having the trophies here,” Mesa State football player Luke Schmalz said. “I have never seen it live.”

As a precaution, the trophies were guarded by a member of the Grand Junction police department.

Ring of Fame member Billy Thompson was signing autographs along with Broncos cheerleader Valerie Scott.

“It is cool to know that hours away and hundreds of miles from Denver there are people just as excited about the Broncos,” said Scott, who is in her second year as a cheerleader.

Thompson was a safety for the Broncos from 1969-81 and said he was not surprised at the amount of support the Grand Junction community showed.

“I have been in Colorado for over 30 years now and the fans have been the most loyal of any state that I know,” Thompson said. “This is Broncos country and this is what the day is all about.”

The festivities ended with the raising of a new Broncos Country flag at Stocker Stadium.

The crowd was a mixture of young fans wearing their Jay Cutler jerseys and older fans who seemed to all have a memory of Thompson or a story to tell him.

“That is real nice to see Billy,” Rob Sakala said. “With all the changes, I don’t know a lot of the new guys, so it’s nice to see someone my age.”

Grand Junction was one of eight communities chosen by Broncos owner Pat Bowlen for the Broncos Country campaign.

“I have traveled all across the state and I know how special the Broncos are to this state,” Thompson said. “I have seen it.”


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