The Elizabeth Stampede is ready for another year of small-town rodeo, with a recognition that bumped its status up a notch.
The Stampede in 2012 was named Mid Size Rodeo of the Year by the Mountain States Circuit, a circuit comprising Colorado and Wyoming. The recognition as the top mid-size rodeo on the circuit came after the Stampede’s numbers became too large to call it a small rodeo.
In addition, the Stampede made a national mark in the last two years as the Pro Rodeo Cowboy Association’s top national small rodeo for 2011 and 2012.
While the Stampede was recognized in years past as the circuit’s top small rodeo of the year, recognition on a national level from the PRCA is a “very big deal,” said Bill Sneed, president of the Stampede board.
“In the circuit, Elizabeth is the role model for small market rodeos,” Sneed said. “We are huge innovators in enhancing the spectator experience and the treatment of contestants. And we just keep growing.”
The growth of the Stampede resulted in a purse large enough to bump its rank in the Mountain States Circuit from a small to a mid-size rodeo, Sneed said. The size of the purse — the amount of prize money awarded contestants — determines where rodeos land in the categories, Sneed said.
In 2012, the Elizabeth Stampede Rodeo purse was more than $46,000 and the one-night Elizabeth Stampede Xtreme Bulls purse was more than $15,000, according to the Stampede’s online report of 2012 rodeo winners.
The purse comes from sponsorships and ticket sales that welcome nearly 10,000 visitors a year to Elizabeth, Sneed said. The Stampede board has never estimated the economic impact of the Stampede in Elbert County, but Sneed estimates that during and in advance of the event, the Stampede board spends more than $60,000 each year among local establishments and organizations.
“The production of the rodeo is the biggest piece of the puzzle,” Sneed said. “It’s a business. It takes 12 months of planning and management and there is something new every year that keeps us moving forward, changing and improving.”
Changes at the 2013 Stampede include new and expanded seating, a new exit from the parking lot onto County Road 17 and traffic control at Highway 86 and CR 17.
For more information about the Elizabeth Stampede, which is June 7-9, visit elizabethstampede.com.