Greeley Colorado

Like many of the refugees who have resettled in Greeley, Colorado, 35-year-old Abul Basar is employed by JBS.

It’s a massive meatpacking plant that processes thousands of cattle per day and employs over 3,000 people. After a year of working on the plant’s processing line, where he disembowel cow carcasses with a large electric knife, Basar injured his right hand.

At his one-room apartment, 35-year-old Abul Basar made a tight fist with his right hand. As he opened his palm, his ring finger remained bent and rigid. "It's locked my finger, (it) doesn't work," he said.

Basar came to the area as a refugee in 2017 after escaping violent persecution in his former country of Burma, also known as Myanmar. He said he fled to Bangladesh and then Thailand and eventually Indonesia, where he was detained for nearly a year by immigration authorities. Today, he's relieved to be in the U.S.

It’s a winter truism that you’re likely to hear from the mouth of any Denverite. Longtime local meteorologist Mike Nelson knows it well.

“The old adage is, if it smells like Greeley it’s gonna snow.”

At Christmastime, Santa Claus gets all kinds of requests - from dump trucks to Barbie dolls to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

But no matter what the must-buy toy of the season is, there’s one that always embodies the epitome of the holiday season.

“Christmas is when all of America are model railroaders, they just don’t know they are,” said Michelle Kempema, executive director of the Colorado Model Railroad Museum. “Trains and Christmas -- we put them under our trees. We see them when we go to the malls. We go, and we look at train layouts in store windows. It’s a joy for us.”

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Many refugees in Greeley, Colorado are Muslims from Somalia or other parts of East Africa, who, like those in Garden City Kansas, work in the meatpacking industry.

As Colorado Public Radio reports, Burmese refugee Sultan Ahmed thought he would be seeing his family in less than a year, but President Donald Trump’s executive order on refugees and immigration halted all that and Ahmed was told it would take two or more years to bring his family to Greeley.

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

A furry beast, a brave rider and a roaring crowd make up the list of ingredients for the Western rodeo tradition known as “mutton busting.” Think of it as bull-riding, but for 6-year-olds, and the furry beast is actually a wooly sheep.

Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

Trent Johnson didn’t grow up on a farm, but he was always enamored with the cowboy lifestyle.

He sure looks the part now. I visited him in his custom cowboy hat shop in Greeley, Colo. In a sleek black cowboy hat and blue western shirt, Johnson delivers the modern cowboy aesthetic.

During college he hung out with the urban cowboy crowd, which included concerts for country idols like Garth Brooks and Tim McGraw. The city kid, who’d spent part of his childhood on a ski team, decided he needed a change.