The magic returns to historic Greeley Stampede
99th Greeley Stampede sees big rodeo action and great community response
for The Fence Post
After having to cancel in 2020, the Greeley Stampede returned in 2021 with its 99th edition and arrived on the scene with all the action and energy it had before.
And maybe more.
“It has been amazing,” said Kevin McFarling, Greeley Stampede marketing coordinator, about the community embracing the opportunity to attend their local tradition. “The first night that we had an event in the arena, I was watching the crowd and seeing everybody’s reaction to having an event and it was emotional. I think it really means a lot to the community to have the Stampede back.”
Despite the one year absence due to health concerns and accompanying mandates, the big summer rodeo saw good crowds in the stands for the first five nights and a near full house on Wednesday night’s sixth performance. It looked like people missed their rodeo.
“The crowds have been good,” observed PRCA Hall of Fame rodeo stock contractor Bennie Beutler of Beutler and Son Rodeo Company. Beutler and Son have been the Greeley Stampede stock contractors for almost 40 years and the straight talking man at the helm of the company says what is on his mind. “We’ve been (to many rodeos) and the crowds have been good at all of them. People want to get out and do it. Even with all the BS politics that are going on, people still love to come to a rodeo and we still love to put it on.”
It showed inside the arena with high scores from the Beutler and Son Rodeo Company’s world class bucking stock. Louisiana bareback cowboy Taylor Broussard rode Black Kat to first place with a score of 89.5 points, a total just a half a point shy of tying an arena record. That it occurred aboard Black Kat was no surprise, since the midnight bucker has helped at least four other cowboys win titles in Greeley.
“I was super pumped about that one,” said Broussard of riding Black Kat. “Every time you get that horse, you know you have a chance to win. That horse gave everything he had to me tonight. I felt like that was one of the best rides I have ever made in my life.”
Another arena record was nearly set in the steer wrestling, as Tyler Waquespack appeared to dive from his horse in order to win the Greeley buckle with a blistering time of 3.3 seconds. It turned out that diving stuff was all part of the plan.
“We’ve got a game plan before every run (and) we knew what the steer was supposed to do,” described Waquespack about the distance he covered from horse to steer. “He was supposed to hug up against the hazing horse. So that is why we’re prepared with what horse we were going to ride and able to make a good run.”
Told it was thought he may have set an arena record, but came up just short, Waquespack was still happy.
“It is good enough for a win for me,” he said with a laugh. “I will take it.”
The victory was reason enough to be happy, but the Louisiana steer wrestler was also pleased just to have the chance to compete in a large rodeo.
“I am so thankful for all the big rodeo committees out there that are coming back after this pandemic,” said Waquespack. “We’ve been itching to get places to go to and we get to come back to all these great big venues like Greeley, Colo. It is great that all these rodeo committees and the towns were able to get back going and everybody is out here having a good time.”
The fact “everybody is out here having a good time” was noted and appreciated by Greeley organizers.
“You realize how much you take for granted an event like the Greeley Stampede when you can’t have it,” said McFarling. “I think everybody is really happy to just be back out. This is the first major event we have had in this area (since early 2020). So this is the first time for a lot of people to be coming back out in the community and enjoying themselves again.”
The energy level from park visitors and rodeo fans was also noticeable.
“I was just talking to (someone else) about this,” said McFarling about the electricity from the crowds in the stands. “They didn’t know an 8-second ride had ended because they couldn’t hear the buzzer. That is how loud it has been. That is cool. When you are standing down here behind the chutes and you have the roar of the crowd and you have the ride and everybody is cheering, that is the Stampede. That is what makes this event magic.”
Every indication from 2021’s Greeley Stampede showed that the magic was back.
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