The informant said that when he and his friends would smell horse manure in Boulder, they would say: “It’s Greeley!” According to my friend, the city of Greeley would always be blamed in some form by Boulder residents when there is a scent of horse manure in the air.
The informant first heard a friend in middle school mention Greeley. He started using the saying himself when the saying’s blaming of Greeley was confirmed – He visited Greeley and it smelled of the same scent as the wind that would occasionally sweep over Boulder.
Greeley is a city that is approximately 50 miles away from Boulder, and has a lot of stables and horses. Sometimes the wind is strong enough to carry the scent of the horses and their manure to cities as far as Boulder.
When the informant started using the joke itself suggests that some knowledge of Greeley is essential to understanding the joke. In fact, the informant did not know what his friend was talking about at first when he mentioned Greeley.
The saying relies on the audience’s knowledge of Colorado’s cities, particularly Greeley, in order to be humorous. While not explicitly used to distinguish Colorado residents from outsiders, understanding of the joke would determine whether or not you live in/know of Colorado, or of the city of Greeley.
According to my friends, other cities in the area know of Greeley’s reputation as well. He does not know if they talk about the city in the same way.