Jun 222010
 
Authors: Hannah Cornish

Fort Collins resident Trudy Sargent said she hopes to bring her twin granddaughters into her family’s 30-year Greeley Stampede tradition.

Sargent, who sits on the Board of Directors for the 88th annual Greeley Independence Stampede, which kicks off this weekend, said her husband Wes has been attending since he was a kid and brought her into the Northern Colorado tradition in 1978.

“We would start at 8 in the morning and go until midnight,” Sargent said. “We would go to the rodeo, then back to grandma’s house for a picnic, then back to the rodeo for the concert.”

Bringing new acts to a historical event, the 2010 Stampede is located at Island Grove Regional Park and runs through July 4 and features Keith Urban, Saving Abel and Buckcherry, as well as country art shows, carnivals, photo sessions with Spongebob and other traditional Stampede events.

Justin Watada, director of marketing for the Independence Stampede, works as one of four full time employees for the Stampede. Watada has watched this event grow so big over the years, he said, because it’s “a good rodeo, concert series, and value” where families can get their money’s worth.

This 88-year-old event brings various appeals to the city of Greeley and to all of Northern Colorado, Watada said. The Stampede is the largest 4th of July rodeo in the United States, which helps the local economy in more ways the one.

“Hotels are sold out the first weekend of the Stampede,” he said, adding that the event provides “hundreds of part time jobs for locals.”

In addition to part-time employment, Watada said the organization also offers volunteer opportunities for local organizations. In return for the hundreds of volunteers the Stampede draws, money is given to their respective organizations, further helping out the local community.

Northern Colorado, however, experiences an economic surge during the two weeks the Stampede is in town. Watada said that only 35 percent of ticket sales come from the Greeley area, the rest are brought in by neighboring cities and states making it a “family tradition with acts that people want to see.”

To experience what Watada calls a “summer tradition,” students and community members can purchase general park admission for $5 and seniors and children get in for $2. For tickets to specialty events visit www.greeleystampede.org.

Staff writer Hannah Cornish can be reached at news@collegian.com.

What: The 88th annual Greeley Independence Stampede
When: This weekend through July 4
Where: Island Grove Regional Park in Greeley
Events: Demolition Derby, carnivals, rodeo, art shows and more
Big-time artistswho willl be playing: Keith Urban, Buckcherry and Saving Abel
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