35’n and Thrivin’!
2022 Elizabeth Stampede celebrated 35 Years of PRCA rodeo with world champs, record community support and sold out performances
In 1965, a group of community leaders created a more stable foundation for an amateur rodeo in the small town of Elizabeth, Colo., and named it the Elizabeth Stampede Rodeo. In 1988, after some shaky financial years, that foundation was strengthened by the rodeo joining the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. On the way to 2022 and the 35th year of PRCA membership, the Elizabeth Stampede has earned multiple PRCA Best Small Rodeo of the Year awards, a bushel of Mountain States Circuit Rodeo of the Year awards and Small Rodeo of the Year by the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association.
The 2022 version of action and excitement lived up to that storied past.
After kicking off rodeo festivities with an opening concert on Thursday night, the beasts with bad attitudes arrived in Elizabeth for the Friday night Extreme Bulls competition. A consistent sell out well in advance, the high energy event pitched 50 cowboys up against athletic bulls. As a result of the Elizabeth Stampede constantly improving their hospitality to contestants, enhancing their grounds, and adding money to the purse, top cowboys go out of their way to make the trip and compete in front of those full stands. One of those cowboys was seven-time PRCA world champion bull rider Sage Kimzey.
“There is a lot to like about being here,” said Kimzey about the Elizabeth Stampede. “It is beautiful country, the fans are always great here and the hospitality of the rodeo committee is second to none.”
Asked about the energy level of the 2,100-plus people filling the grandstands in the smaller venue compared to the big arenas he experiences on a regular basis, Kimzey continued his praise.
“I think it is great,” he said about the sell-out crowds in Elizabeth. “This is the roots and the heartland of the rodeo community, right? This is where our fans are. The bulls are good, the payout is good,” he added about the Extreme Bulls competition. “It is always nice getting to come here and it is definitely a place where we always feel appreciated. Like I said, there are a lot of reasons to be here.”
The large crowds were not only treated to a world champion like Kimzey, but overflowing stands throughout the rest of the weekend also witnessed more world champions and Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifiers compete in Elizabeth’s 2022 rodeo. Every performance boasted lineups that included contestants like world champion bareback riders Tim O’Connell and Clayton Biglow, world champion barrel racer Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, and NFR qualifiers J.D. Yates, Tanner Aus, Orin Larson, R.C. Landingham, Clayton Savage, Shali Lord, Nick Guy, Riley Pruitt… the list could go on and on.
SMALL TOWN, BIG EVENT
With numerous recognizable names appearing over the weekend, the Elizabeth Stampede might technically be a small town rodeo, but it plays big. The committee appreciates those contestants choosing their rodeo and helping to make it one of the best in the country.
“It feels really good when we are attracting the top talent in the nation,” said Elizabeth Stampede President Traci McClain. “It speaks to the quality of the stock that our stock contractors are bringing in for us and we are incredibly proud of that. That is how contestants tell us we are doing a good job, is for them to keep coming back year after year. The well-known contestants, they can go anywhere, and they choose to come here, so that is probably one of the greatest compliments we can get.”
More compliments came from the state rodeo queens who showed up to represent Colorado and Wyoming. Watching rodeo queens in action is a part of the draw for many rodeo fans that show up to take in all the action.
“It gives me chills,” said 2022 Miss Rodeo Colorado Ashley Baller about riding through the Elizabeth Stampede arena in front of a standing-room-only crowd. Baller hails from the nearby town of Parker, Colo., so the Elizabeth Stampede is near and dear to her, including the fact she was rodeo royalty at Elizabeth in 2015. “When I rode in the arena (during Friday night’s Extreme Bulls competition)… it was pure excitement. Nothing beats a sold out rodeo performance. You can feel the energy.”
“The Elizabeth Stampede might be a small rodeo, but there is a reason it has been voted Best Small Rodeo of the Year, because it is amazing,” said 2022 Miss Rodeo Wyoming Madelaine McElwee before the start of the Sunday afternoon performance. “I absolutely love this rodeo.”
While it was clear contestants, spectators, and rodeo queens loved the rodeo, another major part of making the Elizabeth Stampede successful is the passionate sponsorship support from local businesses. One of those businesses was the Elizabeth Brewing Company, who stepped up to play a larger sponsor role in 2022 and even brewed a custom rodeo-themed Lager named “The Mark Out” to sell during the event.
“I think anyone who lives around here, if you ask them what is the biggest and most fun thing they do in town, it is the Elizabeth Stampede,” said Rickie Baumert, head brewer at Elizabeth Brewing Company. “Anything we can do to benefit the town and community, we want to be a part of. They support us, we want to support back.”
With contestants, spectators and sponsors all happy, the Elizabeth Stampede officials were ecstatic at the completion of 2022’s rodeo.
“I am beyond thrilled,” said McClain after the final rodeo performance on Sunday afternoon. “It is really just starting to hit me what a wonderful weekend it was. This was a great way to celebrate 35 years of professional rodeo. We were blessed with beautiful weather the entire weekend and we had amazing, energetic, sold out crowds for every performance. We had more vendors than we have had and sponsorship was through the roof. I think it just tells us how much our community supports our rodeo. I think they said it loud and clear. We are here for another 35 years.”
2022 Elizabeth Stampede Rodeo Champions:
Total Purse — $64,009 plus $13,818 for Extreme Bulls
Extreme Bulls: (Tie with 85 points) Tyler Taylor on War Zone and Coy Thorson on Living On A Prayer
Bareback: Cole Reiner points on Tail Feathers (tied arena record of 88 points)
Steer Wrestling: Nick Guy, 4.2 seconds
Team Roping: (Tie with 6.3 seconds) Brit Ellerman/Jayden Johnson and Blaine Redhorse/J.W. Borrego
Saddle Bronc: Ross Griffin on Big Iron (87 points)
Tie Down Roping: Riley Pruitt, 9.8 seconds
Barrel Racing: Kelly Yates, 16.08 seconds
Women’s Breakaway Roping: Peggy Garman, 2.30 seconds (tied arena record)
Bulls: Chance Schott on Jacked Up (82.5 points)
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