Conservatives attending CPAC Colorado were already excited about Mitt Romney’s debate performance, but a surprise visit from the candidate boosted their spirits even further.

Conference attendees grew curious after spotting Secret Service agents prior to the panel that was to include four of the Romney sons. A smiling Mitt Romney joined the stage from behind the curtain, bringing the audience to their feet.

While many in the media suggested that Romney pivoted to the center during the debate, conservatives I talked to at the conference didn’t seem to notice. The candidate they saw that night effectively promoted conservative values onstage. More importantly, they finally saw someone challenge Obama and win.

One person I spoke to explained that he felt again the same hope he felt once Romney added Paul Ryan on the ticket. With the Vice Presidential debate next week, conservatives fully expect that feeling of hope to continue.

There was also a sense of urgency from voters at the conference, knowing that more to be done on behalf of the campaign in Colorado.

The campaign volunteers were not simply handing out signs and stickers, but pressing conference attendees to join phone banks or sign up to knock on doors. A paid worker I spoke to from the campaign admitted that there is significant pressure from the national headquarters to boost the voter contact numbers and outreach in Colorado.

Thanks to a winning Romney debate performance and a day of speakers confirming their hopes, conservative activists at the conference finished the day clearly excited for their candidate.