It was my great pleasure to attend the Western Conservative Summit with Mark in Denver this year. I am embarrassed to say I had no idea this was going on in my backyard before Mark contacted me and asked if I would be interested in attending with him for Sparta Report. I was delighted at the opportunity, so I settled my kids’ busy summer schedules and prepared for the conference. Mark was so kind as to send me a couple Sparta Report polos and Sparta Report business cards so we could look professional and represent all of us well.
I made it to the Convention Center soon after the doors opened at 8 a.m. It was incredibly quiet and calm, even with the hustle and bustle of so many people trying to get situated. This atmosphere persisted throughout the weekend; even when the area outside the ballroom where the main sessions was full of people, it was simply a louder hum.
Apart from some kids working media next to us at the closing session, everyone was extraordinarily quiet and respectful of the speakers. The sponsor of this annual conference is the Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian University and many speakers in both the open sessions and workshops were unapologetically Christian, openly speaking of God and from a Christian worldview.
Without exception, I found everyone was warm, friendly and helpful. It was quite a refreshing change of pace, and even as an introvert who dislikes large gatherings of people I ended up having a wonderful time. Much of that had to do with Mark, who was a fabulous companion for the weekend. He was a true gentleman and it was a tremendous pleasure to chat with him and exchange ideas. We had some excellent conversations, which was a treat. Neither of us take ourselves too seriously and joked around quite a bit. I had such an enjoyable time, I would not hesitate to go to hang out with him again and meet his wife, who sounds lovely.
My workshops were great and very meaty. The main sessions were a combination of snoozefests and great speakers. Neither Mark nor I were much impressed by the stump speeches, which were typical GOP talking points. Greg Lopez, who is running for governor of Colorado, was the only unapologetic Trump supporter we heard among those running for office, which was just sad.
In fact, there was a remarkable lack of talk about Trump at the conference on Friday except for Attorney General Jeff Sessions and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. Pruitt laid out what the Trump administration is doing to dismantle onerous regulations in the EPA, particularly the Waters of the United States rule. After he spoke I better understood why the left hates him with a passion. Go Pruitt!
Some other highlights: Kirk Cameron talking about his documentary, “Monumental” (which sounds like a must-see); Ryan Bomberger from The Radiance Foundation; Navy SEAL Chad Williams author of “Seal of God”; Jack Phillips from Masterpiece Cakeshop and the entire closing session. Speakers Saturday night included the Freedom Caucus Panel (Ken Buck, Mark Meadows and Paul Gosar interviewed by Charlie Hurt), Kyle Kashuv, Candace Owens and Charlie Kirk. The keynote speakers were Diamond & Silk, who had Mark and I laughing until we were crying. The entire evening was outstanding.
The Western Conservative Summit was so much fun, Mark and I were talking about how great it would be to go to CPAC. Maybe next year! I want to thank the bosses for letting me attend on a media pass for the small price of writing up a few articles. On that note, I had better get busy!