Nothing Less Than the Best
Successful Elizabeth Stampede Rodeo to offer new Friday Night Chute Out plus streaming and TV
The popular Elizabeth Stampede Rodeo earned its 16th Mountain States Circuit Best Rodeo of the Year designation in 2022, along with earning the WPRA Justin Best Footing Award. Despite the numerous titles in its history and sold-out performances over the last several years, the small-town rodeo’s board and committees don’t believe in resting on their laurels. This year’s move to improve includes shaking up the schedule to offer a Friday Night Chute Out, which is a rough stock competition of bulls and broncs that will replace the popular and long-running Xtreme Bulls event that used to occupy the Friday night slot. Elizabeth Stampede Vice President and Production Committee Chair, Ron Howard, took time to discuss the upcoming rodeo’s (June 1-4) new Friday night event, plus more. (Note: Questions and answers have been edited for length)
Rogers: What made you decide to change the Friday night Xtreme Bulls to the current Friday Night Chute Out?
Howard: The Xtreme Bulls has been very popular and we have sold it out, but a lot of people moving into the Elizabeth area don’t necessarily know much about rodeo. We wanted to do something that is still really high energy but give them more western or rodeo flavor, so we are going to do bulls, bareback broncs and saddle broncs. We have had a great response from the contestants for this. Usually on the Xtreme Bulls, we tried to run about 50 bull riders. Right now (May 17), we are at 52 contestants for Friday night. We are going to run two sections of bulls, two sections of saddle bronc, and one section of bareback.
Rogers: It sounds like you believe the Friday night Chute Out will raise the bar even higher?
Howard: Absolutely. I think it is going to give us an opportunity to put out an even better product. Right now, our online ticket sales are tracking for another early sell out.
Rogers: How pleased is your rodeo with the community response over the last couple of years?
Howard: It has been amazing. It is better than we could have anticipated or asked for. We didn’t know what to expect coming out of COVID and 2020 when we couldn’t have a rodeo. We didn’t know if our sponsors would stay with us or if all of our partners we have had over the years would support us. It has been bigger and better. We have more partners and sponsors now than we have ever had in the past. This year is the first year we have ever had a title sponsor. Maverix Broadband, they stepped up and have been huge. This year it is The Elizabeth Stampede Rodeo by Maverix Broadband.
Rogers: A title sponsor sounds like a big step for the Elizabeth Stampede?
Howard: It really is. Along with them, they have brought in so much infrastructure as far as data capabilities now with dedicated fiber lines and wireless antennas. Finally, we have the infrastructure and this year we will be streamed live on the Cowboy Channel + app and we will be broadcast on the Cowgirl Channel.
Rogers: You sound pretty excited about that.
Howard: Oh absolutely. This is huge. It is so much fun and the excitement is contagious.
Rogers: What else can people expect for this year’s rodeo?
Howard: We’re going to be offering everything we had in the past and then a little bit more. The Friday Night Chute Out is the little bit more. How our vendor committee chair was able to squeeze more vendors in I have no idea, but we have more vendors. We are going to have food vendors inside and outside the ticketed area. We have redesigned layouts for better flow this year. I am expecting another record-breaking year and I guess if the gods smile down on us, hopefully another award-winning year, too.
Rogers: With all those awards and even sold-out grandstands over the last couple of years, it seems like nothing would need to change. What makes you all keep pushing to improve?
Howard: It is like so many things, if you get complacent, you will start moving backwards. We want to be the absolute best rodeo in the Mountain States Circuit. We want to give people the best quality rodeo entertainment that we possibly can. We wouldn’t sell out our rodeo if people didn’t love it, but you can’t get better if all you do is the same thing time after time. We are not willing to settle for anything less than our absolute best.
For more information and to avoid ticket scammers, visit the Elizabeth Stampede Rodeo’s website at Elizabethstampede.com