Trump campaign lands in Colorado | SummitDaily.com

Trump campaign lands in Colorado

James Redmond
Greeley Tribune

LOVELAND — Before crowds filled even a quarter the Budweiser Events Center stadium seating, a throng of fans packed around the podium where Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump would speak Monday night.

At the front of that crowd, pressed against a metal barricade, Greeley West High School Senior Anthony Adkisson, 18, eagerly awaited the arrival of the first presidential candidate he would be old enough to vote for to take the stage.

Adkisson, three of his friends from school and his younger brother, Brandon, stood together sporting white Trump campaign shirts, stickers proclaiming their support of Trump for president and pins critical of Hillary Clinton.

The high school Republicans got out of school for the day and drove out to the event center to line up more than six hours in advance of the evening's rally. They bought signs and shirts in line — some of them bought two shirts and wore one on top of the other.

Originally a Ben Carson supporter, Adkisson said he jumped on the Trump train after he received the Republican nomination. He said he likes how outspoken and honest Trump has felt during his campaign.

Adkisson will join the U.S. Army after high school and he said he wants to make sure Trump is the one leading the country he plans to serve.

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The line started before the sun came up and by midday it snaked away from the event center with even more people arriving, stretching the line longer and longer. Around the event center music blared, vendors shouted their goods — pro Trump hats, shirts pins, signs and more — and food trucks offered a varied fare.

Calvin Pemberton and his girlfriend Mandy Stonerook drove down from Beaver City, Nebraska, the night before to line up at 9 a.m. for the 6 p.m. rally. They weren't even the first people in line; at least 10 people queued up in front of them.

When Trump took the stage, the crowd exploded in raucous cheers lasting minutes as "God Bless the USA" blasted from the speakers. About 7,500 people filled the stadium, with seats taken and standing-room-only on the floor. Just outside the event center a few thousand more watched live on a big screen.

"It's great to be here today, in the beautiful state which we're going to win," Trump said, and the crowd erupted again.

In his speech, Trump accused the media of fixating on his taxes and not wanting to fully and accurately cover the actions and wrongdoings of Clinton.

If Clinton takes office, Colorado residents had better fear for guns and the oil and gas industry, he said.

"Hillary Clinton wants to shut down the mines," Trump said. "She also wants to shut down shale energy production, denying you billions."

Free speech area

A groups of protesters gathered Monday in a designated ‘free speech area’ a few hundred feet and a metal fence away from the line awaiting entrance to the Donald Trump rally at the Budweiser Event Center in Loveland.

Trump protesters and Hillary Clinton supporters waived banners and homemade signs while chanting, “Love trumps hate.”

Greeley resident Emma Fleming arrived mid-afternoon and took her place at the edge of the ‘free speech area’ out of sight — mostly blocked by a building — from the main event center structure — where protesters had been restricted.

“Trump is homophobic, sexist, racist, xenophobic, unfit for president,” Fleming’s sign stated.

Although a small group earlier in the day, it had grown to about 40 people by late afternoon.

Fleming said she drove out to the event because she fears if Trump is elected it’ll make her community, state, country and even the world a more unstable and dangerous place.

A few people on their way to the Trump rally walked in earshot of the protesters as they chanted, “Love trumps hate.”

Without breaking their strides toward the Trump rally, the group started angrily shouting at the protesters with an anti-Clinton tirade until they walked around the corner.

— James Redmond