With a wrench in hand and smile on his face, 82- year-old Richie Perry begins another work day at his 63rd National Western Stock Show.
Since 1955, Perry has been behind the scenes at the National Western making sure the wheels never stop turning.
“I’ve done every job there is on this property,” Perry said.
Perry has been attending the National Western since he can remember.
“My dad was the boss here,” he said. “I started out working for the City of Denver and ushered at the Coliseum because I wasn’t old enough to work at the Stock Show yet.”
In 1979, Perry decided to take the full-time position at the National Western and has been here ever since, even though he has tried to retire three times. He just can’t get enough.
“It runs in my blood, it’s hard to get away,” Perry said. “My dad, brothers, nephews and my son have all worked here.”
One evening when Perry was checking tickets at the Coliseum, a beautiful young lady named Jane captured his attention when she sat in his section he was working. One thing led to another and they were married a year later and started their family.
At the end of this month, Perry and his wife will celebrate 63 years of marriage.
“She’s been a great wife and we’ve had a happy life,” he said. “She’s put up with a lot of bull. I haven’t spent a birthday at home since my twenties.”
Perry owes his success at the National Western organization to the great leaders he’s had the opportunity to work with.
“They’re the best in the business,” he said. “One of the top three organizations in Denver, that’s for sure. Everyone here is friendly and looks out for you.”
Perry currently works in the maintenance department here on the grounds and continues to show up each day with a big smile on his face.
Clancy Anderson, the National Western Stock Show Livestock Coordinator, has only known Perry a little over four years but said, “Everybody knows Richie, anything you need he is always ready to help.”
“He’s the guy you can joke with and boy he is not afraid to dish it back,” Anderson said. “He loves being here and we are all thankful for him.”
When asked if he had any plans to retire, his response was simply, “I don’t think they will be running me off anytime soon.”
Perry works about two to three days a week and said it gets harder every year, but isn’t ready to be done yet.
“January is by far the best time of the year,” Perry said. “It seems like one ends and the next one is right around the corner.”
Perry has had a great influence on many people throughout his career at the National Western.
“I love what I do and the people I work for and with,” he said.
It’s individuals like Perry who have dedicated much of their life to keep the history alive at National Western so spectators and exhibitors can make memories to last a lifetime.