Pueblo is a Home Rule Municipality and serves as the county seat of Pueblo County, Colorado, and is also the county's most populous city. The city's population was estimated at just under 105,000 in 2009, making Pueblo the 245th most populous American city. Pueblo sits at the confluence of the Arkansas River and Fountain Creek, approximately 103 miles south of Colorado's capital city of Denver. Due to Pueblo's location in an area known as the "banana belt", Pueblo typically sees far less snow than Colorado's other large cities, with an annual average of around 14 inches.
Pueblo is among the nation's largest steel-producers, and thus is sometimes referred to as the "steel city". Prior to 1960 it was the second most populous city in the state and was called "Second City". The city is considered the economic hub of the southeastern portion of Colorado. Pueblo serves as host to the annual Colorado State Fair, considered the state's largest single event, as well as the state's largest annual parade, the State Fair Parade. The National Street Rod Association's Rocky Mountain Street Rod Nationals have been held in Pueblo for twenty-three years and is the largest street rod event in the region.
Pueblo is also the home to several rodeos throughout the year put on by the Professional Bull Riders, the newest being the Wild West Fest, held in the spring with the main event rodeo being broadcast all over the world. In 2008 the PBR relocated their headquarters to the city. The Pueblo Memorial Airport lies east of the city and is home to the Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum, which commemorates the airport's 1943 opening as an Army Air Corps base. Pueblo Transit offers bus service within the city six days a week.
Pueblo is also known from years of public service announcements on television and radio advertising the Federal Citizen Information Center, which is operated by the General Services Administration. For more than 35 years, Americans have been urged to write for more information to "Pueblo, Colorado, 81004". In recent years, the GSA has even incorporated the Pueblo name into the FCIC's toll-free phone number (1-888-8 Pueblo) and web address (www.pueblo.gsa.gov).
Vestas Wind Systems has announced plans to build the largest wind turbine tower manufacturing facility in the world in the city's industrial park. The plant is expected to encompass almost 700,000 square feet and will further enhance the city's place as a "green" community. The city has been named the best place in Colorado for solar energy collection by a number of scientific studies.
Throughout most of its history Pueblo's economy was driven mainly by the Colorado Fuel & Iron steel mill on the south side of town. But the steel market crash of 1982 led to the company failing. The steel mill was later bought by Oregon Steel Mills, which recently changed its name to Rocky Mountain Steel Mills. The company has since been plagued with labor problems, leading to a major strike in 1997, when the majority of the workforce was replaced. The strike lasted seven years before two local Unions won court battles in September 2004, forcing the company to rehire the striking workforce and repay lost wages.