Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Donald Trump In Colorado Springs 7/29/16

Between March and September 2016, I was living in Colorado Springs, Colorado for a job. While out there, I got an opportunity to attend an event, and I couldn't turn it down.

As you can tell from the title, it was a Donald Trump Presidential Rally. I'm not really into politics that much, but with arguably the most talked about man in the country coming to an event 15 minutes from where I live, it was an opportunity I could not resist. 

We had heard rumors on social media that Trump would be coming to the Colorado Springs area, and once it was confirmed that he was coming, I had to check the calendar. He was scheduled to come to a local college on Friday, July 29 at 2 p.m. With anything regarding Trump, there was controversy from the moment the event was announced. 

Tickets online were free, so a couple friends and I decided to go to the event. One of the friends graduated from the college the event was at, so he was very familiar with where the event was and the layout of the campus, which proved to be important. 

The doors for the event were scheduled to open at 11 a.m., more than three hours before Trump was scheduled to take the stage. My friends and I arrived and were on line to get into the event at about 10:45 a.m., and the line was already hundreds of people deep. When we arrived, there was just one protestor. After telling a few people that we didn't want to volunteer to help Trump's cause, we were moving on the line. As we got closer to the door, the line got a little crazier and less organized. 

The Secret Service was running security, which was as strict as you would think. When I got to the door, I put all my electronics in a little bag and walked through a metal detector. It was similar to an airport, but without taking off shoes. Eventually, we made it in to the room where the event was being held, which was a basketball court.

All of the bleacher seats were taken by the time we entered the building at about 12:30, so we had to stand on the floor of the arena and find spots in the crowd of people. After walking around for a couple minutes, I found a spot toward the front of the crowd in the corner near the near the handicapped section.

After killing off a lot of time on my phone and talking to the people next to me, someone came up on the stage and said that the Republican candidate would be at the event in a few minutes. Before him, there were a couple speeches, a pre-event prayer, and a woman came on stage and sang the national anthem. Then, there was more waiting and waiting.

By 2:30, Trump had still not appeared on the stage. Someone kept coming on stage and told us that he would be here any minute. At about 2:45, it was go time, and the Donald appeared to the delight of the crowd. Here are some blurry photos I took of him walking out:

Later, I found out online that Trump was late because he was stuck in an elevator at his Colorado Springs hotel, and he needed to be rescued by the fire marshal. That fact proved to be ironic, as Trump would later criticize the fire marshal for not letting more people into the building.

As for the speech, I thought it was a little crazy. I think many of the things Trump has said and done are terrible, and I will probably not be voting for him on November 8. He said everything you would expect Trump to say, which you can read about HERE and HERE.

I only took one video during the speech, and it was when the Trump supporters started chanting that Hillary Clinton should be locked up in jail. Here is how Trump responded to those chats:

I had a decent side view from my spot in the crowd, and as the speech progressed it got more crowded with people coming to the front, as you can see in the panorama I took below.
At the time, it just seemed surreal that I was actually in the same room as Trump listening to him in person. I just shot a few photos during his speech, like the ones below.

Eventually, he wrapped up his speech and said he needed to go talk to the people who were in another room in the arena watching the speech on video, because the event didn't have a lot of space to fit everyone in at once.

But, before he did that he went to the crowd to start shaking hands and signing autographs. To my surprise, he went off the stage on the other side, the one he didn't walk up on. I didn't think I would actually get as close to the front as I did, so all I had on me was a little notepad that I usually keep in my car. But, I figured I'd give it a try because his autograph is a hot commodity at the moment.

Before he made his way toward where I was standing, a couple Secret Service members came over and told everyone to put away their pens and not to push the people against the front. I was in the front, and I can say that people didn't really follow that second direction. As he walked in my general direction, this was the scene and the result:

As you can see, I got the second to last autograph he signed before he left. At the time, I couldn't think of anything to say to him because I was just happy to get the autograph. It was crazy, and once I got the autograph it took a while to get back out through the crowds of people.

Here is the autograph:

I wish it had more letters to it, but an autograph is an autograph. On the way home, I stopped at a local store and bought a picture frame for $4, which I think would anger Trump and his mighty signature. 

Overall, it was a good experience just to go to the event and see Trump in person. The autograph was just an added bonus. 

That's all for now. I'll try and update this blog more often. Thanks for reading and have a good day.