Let’s have a rodeo: 2021 Elizabeth Stampede slated for June 3-6
Forced to cancel the 2020 Elizabeth Stampede Rodeo in Elizabeth, CO, rodeo organizers were faced with more unknowns in the beginning of 2021. In an early year meeting, they grappled with questions of whether to move ahead. Would public events be permitted? Would spectators be allowed in the stands? If so, how many? Would sponsors be willing to commit in the face of so much uncertainty? Adjustments could be made, but planning to hold the rodeo in 2021 was fraught with financial risk for one of the best small-town rodeos in the country.
“The only answer we could come up with is we had to increase our sponsorship by a huge amount,” said Traci McClain, Elizabeth Stampede president, about the early discussions among the board and committee members. “Some people said let’s not do it, it is too much risk, we could lose our shirts. But then there was a group that sat and thought about it and basically the answer was, and I am going to give you a quote from someone, ‘I am going to fight like hell to have this rodeo.’ Everyone decided to dig in and do it.”
Rolling up their sleeves, the Elizabeth Stampede board and committee members set goals to secure more local sponsorship, along with focusing on adding larger national sponsors. By their self-imposed April deadline, the board felt good enough to give the green light.
“We came out and we did it,” said McClain. “We got 50% more sponsors than we have ever had in the past — 150% of normal. The community really stepped up. They reached out and supported us in a big way.”
Robust support from the community has been a factor for the Elizabeth Stampede Rodeo since its inception. Formally re-started and named in 1965 after inconsistent events and amateur rodeos took place throughout the early 1900’s, 2020 was the first break in 55 continuous years of action for what had become the largest annual event in Elbert County Colorado.
With the state of Colorado dropping mask mandates in May and declaring other coronavirus state public health orders will expire June 01, Stampede officials are looking forward to a busy rodeo, albeit one with safety measures and precautions in place for the public.
“We are still being careful about it,” said McClain about steps put in place to help prevent any potential spread of COVID. “We are cognizant of it and also want to allow people to make their own choices as much as possible.”
Steps taken by the Elizabeth Stampede include boxed food prepared off site for contestants, volunteers, etc., drinks on site served in cans versus cups, online purchasing with contactless parking and rodeo ticket scanning, separate exit and entrance gates, seating options for the Thursday concert, etc.
“We want everyone to be safe,” added McClain. “I feel confident we can do that. I think we have the safeguards in place that we need to do to make it safe for our participants – contestants, spectators, contractors, everybody – to allow them to make choices.”
With the rodeo now on the horizon for June 03-06, McClain said advance ticket sales were revealing enthusiasm.
“We are ahead of schedule for what we normally do in ticket sales,” she described, but urged anyone thinking about attending to take action. “Our Friday night and Saturday night (rodeos), they almost always sell out a few days before the rodeo starts. The afternoon performances, we usually have walk-up sales.”
As far as the community at large, the Stampede’s president described pent up anticipation.
“I think we are bursting at the seams, honestly,” said McClain. “Everyone from volunteers to the community to the spectators and people on social media, they are raring to go. I think people are anxious to get out and enjoy the summer and enjoy each other. We have all missed each other.”
A paragraph about the Elizabeth Stampede taken from a rodeo brochure back in 1966 stated, “The Elizabeth Stampede, now celebrating its second birthday, began in early July of 1965 with a simple phrase, ‘Let’s have a rodeo,’ casually spoken by one of the fair members of the Running Creek Extension Club. The phrase was picked up enthusiastically until it became a crescendo.”
In 2021, the crescendo will start again.
“Let’s have a rodeo.”
For more information on the Elizabeth Stampede Rodeo or to purchase tickets for the concert or any of the rodeo performances, check out their website at https://www.elizabethstampede.com/
Rogers is a freelance writer and photographer located east of Parker, Colo. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can find him on USA.Life at his Lincoln Rogers Sharing The West page.”
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