Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump came to the Budweiser Events Center for a rally on Monday and I decided to attend for several reasons:  I haven't been to a political rally since George Bush came to Greeley in 2000.  He was making a stop  right in our backyard, tickets were free, and I wanted see The Donald up close. He could be our next president and I wanted to hear him speak without someone telling me how to feel about him and of course I wanted to be able to say 'I was there' if something crazy happened!

The doors opened at 3 p.m. and I arrived about 4:45.   I was amazed and impressed with the HUGE crowd!  Budweiser Event Center was filled to capacity and a long line snaked around the grounds as well.   I avoided the long line with my media credentials (radio perks are awesome) and made my way down to the media area.  I found a spot  as close as I could to the podium where Mr. Trump was to speak and the crowd was pumped up and excited, many dressed in patriotic garb and waving support signs.  It was a party atmosphere with a parade of speakers coming through, getting the crowd even more charged up as we waited for Mr. Trump's arrival.   He made an appearance shortly after arriving from the airport and waved to the crowd, increasing the anticipation of his speech.  While we waited, people around me were friendly and talkative, sharing stories of other rallies, their love of country and hope for the future.

A little after 6 p.m., Donald J. Trump made his entrance to a enthusiastic and cheering crowd stacked to the rafters.  He spoke for nearly an hour about his policies and his plans as President.  He pointed out his opponent's shortcomings regularly and gave "The Media" some grief about their bias towards him. He talked candidly about his tax return, and  lightened things up occasionally with his joking/sarcastic manner. Mostly everything he said was met with cheers and chants of "USA!"

My takeaways from the night:

1. I was glad I got to hear him speak-- not sound bites taken out of context.  I found his speech was thoughtful and reasonably presented with no yelling nor any racial slurs or other "horrendous" missteps.  He may have thought Mike Shanahan was still the coach of the Broncos and said Pueblo and Larimer kinda funny, but he's from "Back East," so I'm OK with that.

2. Supporters should feel hopeful and detractors should be concerned about his momentum.

3. Although this has been the ugliest election I have seen so far in my lifetime, I was re-energized by the pure positive vibe I felt at the rally.  Although I'm not a fan of Mrs. Clinton, I do hope she comes around our area, so I can attend her rally as well.  I promise to keep an open mind like I did for Trump.