Located about 50 miles northeast of Denver, Greeley is the perfect location for launching a Colorado High Plains adventure. Outdoor enthusiasts will love the city’s breathing taking views of the Rocky Mountains as well as biking and hiking opportunities available on the Pawnee Pioneer Trails. No visit to Greeley would be complete without participating in one of its community events, ranging from the rodeo-themed Greeley Stampede to the diverse musical offerings of the Greeley Blues Jam.
The Greeley Stampede has been one of Colorado's top rodeo experiences since it began in 1922 under the name Greeley Spud Rodeo. This year’s event will take place June 21 to July 4 at the Island Grove Regional Park. The Stampede is one of the largest family-friendly summer events in Colorado, attracting more than 250,000 people annually. The main attraction is the PCRA Rodeo series that features the top rodeo riders in the world competing in events like Bareback Riding, Steer Wrestling, Team Roping, and more. Patrons can also see bull riding and American Bull Fighting competitions, a demolition derby, and even a kids rodeo complete with stick pony events. Live music performers include Barenaked Ladies, Toby Keith, Clay Walker, and more. A portion of the event's proceeds go to helping fund scholarships for local students looking to continue their education. In fact, more than $350,000 since the scholarship program began. We got the opportunity to interview Kevin McFarling, Marketing Coordinator for the Greeley Stampede, to learn more about this great rodeo event.
RAL: Tell me about the history of the event.
KM: Officially christened the Greeley Spud Rodeo in 1922, the event featured bucking bronc riding, fancy roping, a pie eating contest, horse race, motorcycle and bicycle races, and a two-mile Model-T Ford "free for all" race. The estimated attendance at the first official festival was roughly 2,500 people.
RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?
KM: The summer celebration typically spans 12 days including the 4th of July and sees an average of 250,000 visitors in attendance.
RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?
KM: With a variety of activities including concerts, rodeos, carnival rides, food, shopping, and the Kids Korral, everyone is sure to find something to do.
RAL: What makes this event unique?
KM: The variety of activities available along with our emphasis on preserving western heritage, makes the Stampede a unique experience. We strive to make the event as enjoyable as possible with plenty of new activities to keep people engaged.
RAL: Take me through the activities of a day at the event.
KM: The list of activities is extensive! Depending on the day, there will be either a concert, rodeo, or demolition derby happening in the arena. Each day has free activities in our Kids Korral including an innovation station, frisbee dog performances, duck races, pedal tractors, sheep stampede, and stick horse rodeos. We also have free music each day on the Extraction Stage along with the new Ford Music Stage on Sunday’s. Our guests can also enjoy a large carnival filled with games and rides, several shopping areas throughout the park, and a western art show.
RAL: Will there be any guest appearances?
KM: Each year we bring several artists to the Stampede to perform in the arena. Performing this year will be Toby Keith, Chase Rice, LOCASH, Barenaked Ladies, Clay Walker featuring High Valley, Drake White, Ned LeDoux, Face Vocal Band, and John Michael Montgomery. New in 2017 is the Faith and Family Night, which will feature six-time Grammy winner TobyMac with Heart’s Remedy. Headlining on our free Extraction Stage will be Warrant, Phil Vassar, and Neal McCoy.
RAL: What dining options will attendees encounter?
KM: We have a large food court with a wide variety of dining options. We also have a craft beer tent and the Stampede Saloon offering beer and cocktails along with music from house band Sonder.
RAL: What does this event mean to the community?
KM: The Greeley Stampede Foundation is a non-profit organization formed to support continuing education for Weld County students. Since beginning the program, the Stampede Foundation has awarded more than $350,000 in scholarships.
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
KM: The event provides visitors a unique experience complete with activities, entertainment, food, and western heritage. It gives people the feeling of an old-fashioned community fair on a grand scale. No matter what you are looking for, the Stampede has something for everyone!
For more information about the Greeley Stampede, please visit the event website.