Stampede launches with Family Night
When: Wednesday through Saturday
Where: Stampede grounds, Highway 82 in Elgin
More: Visit www.elginstampede.com
ELGIN — The Elgin Stampeders will welcome more than 5,000 spectators and contestants at the four-day rodeo program running Wednesday through Saturday.
“This year marks the 69th year of the Elgin Stampede,” said Russ Smith, Elgin Stampede president. “The Stampeders are committed to continuing on the legacy of the Old West and of bringing this show to Elgin every July.”
This year’s events begin on Wednesday with Family Night starting at 6 p.m. There is free admission to all, courtesy of Community Bank. Budding buckaroos in leather chaps, western shirts, boots and cowboy hats will participate in competitive mini-rodeo events led by the renown Stampede clown Randy Munns.
Look for the royalty court and queen coronation in the arena at 7 p.m. Thursday just before the Mark Nichols Memorial Bull Riding begins. The girls will sport their newest western outfits made by professional leather worker Amanda Waller of Diamond A Cowboy, 84 N. Eighth Ave. in Elgin. Diamond A Cowboy donated the tack set and all the labor for the Elgin Stampede.
“Diamond A Cowboy has been really blessed to work with the Elgin Stampede and royalty court chaperone Kelly Baker to make these really beautiful things,” Waller said. “It’s exciting for me to do this for the girls and always a lot of fun to put together these designs you won’t find anywhere else.”
Waller is also a member of the 12-rider drill team that will open the PRCA performances at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
The PRCA program includes bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping, saddle bronc riding, tie down roping, barrel racing, steer roping and bull riding. The Elgin Stampede is a popular venue in the rodeo circuit, with a total payout last year of $40,468.
The predicted hot, sunny skies should be perfect for Saturday’s Kids’ Parade downtown at 10 a.m. and the Grand Parade downtown at 4 p.m. Give up a cheer for parade Grand Marshal Chris Christenson riding in honor of the historic Elgin Stage coach, which he helped to build 46 years ago.
At 6:45 p.m. Saturday, the evening program is kicked off by the Stampede Challenge, a cross-country race that’s just for the craziest of riders, some say. Horses will race like the wind across the top of a ridge, down the steep side of a mountain, splashing through a river and end in the arena dripped dry. For 15 minutes of madness, the purse and gifts are worth it, and it’s an exciting introduction to the 7 p.m. PRCA performance in the arena.
Friday night’s theme is “Tough Enough to Wear Pink.” This year, the Stampeders put out a “Pink Out” challenge for everyone to wear something pink in show of their support in the fight against breast cancer.
“During the program we’re going to give a tribute to breast cancer survivors, play a song and pass donation buckets throughout the grandstands to give everyone a chance to show their support for a cure for breast cancer,” said Rob Moore, committee chair for the Pink Out challenge. “All of the proceeds will go to the Center for Human Development in La Grande to help defray the costs of mammograms for women who can’t afford them.”
The Stampeders want everyone to have a fun, safe time at the Elgin Stampede. If you attend the dances after the PRCA performances Friday and Saturday night, you must be at least 21 years of age.