After delaying work by a week, the rain took a brief break and the clouds gave way to sunshine long enough for volunteers to complete a second weekend of housekeeping at the Elizabeth Stampede Grounds on May 16.
The Elizabeth Stampede runs on …
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The Elizabeth Stampede runs on volunteers, and about 50 people gathered for the Stampede's second Funday/Workday, replacing splintered or damaged planks in the grandstands, applying fresh coats of paint to railings and steps, and rejuvenating the seat numbers.
“Our goal is to make it a good Stampede experience,” said board member Linda Mai-Snead. “There isn't a bad seat in the house, and we're making them better.”
Work on the grounds will continue right up to the start of the event, including preparing the hospitality trailer where most of the food will be prepped for the nearly 2,300 meals that will feed volunteers, VIPs, and Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) members.
This year, the Stampede also began making additional improvements to the Stampede grounds, installing vinyl covers on seats in two sections of the west grandstands. According to Mai-Snead, the plan is to continue the improvements each year as funding allows until all 16 sections are upgraded with the new vinyl seat coverings.
The Stampede Rodeo, a nonprofit, relies on ticket sales, donations and sponsors for the capital required to stage the rodeo and to maintain the grounds. It rents the rodeo grounds from Elizabeth Parks and Recreation, which owns the arena, outbuildings and nearby campground.
The 2015 Elizabeth Stampede marks the 28 year as a PRCA Rodeo event, and was named PRCA Small Rodeo of the Year in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Though its history has been traced back to 1937, “cowboy gatherings” have been a tradition in Elbert County for more than 100 years.
The Stampede opens at the Stampede Grounds on June 5 with the PRCA XTreme Bulls Rodeo followed by a dance featuring the country music band Trail.
June 6 is Family Day, starting with the Stampede Parade through the streets of Elizabeth at 10 a.m., followed by matinee and evening rodeos and capped off with the Queens Dance.
The Red White and Blue Rodeo begins on June 7 with Cowboy Church in the West Stands. Rodeo performances will continue throughout the day along with the coronation of Kelly Sweigart as the Elizabeth Stampede Queen during the PRCA performance.
The rodeo's third day is dedicated to veterans, with special events throughout the day honoring their service. Active-duty military personnel and veterans will receive discounts.
The Vendor Alley will be open throughout the weekend, and behind-the-chutes tours will be available to visitors prior to rodeo performances throughout the weekend.
For those rodeo fans who can't wait for the Elizabeth Stampede's official kickoff in June, the Stampede is presenting the 2015 Community Rodeo on May 30, beginning with barrel riding at 7 am. Parking and admission to the Community Rodeo are free to spectators, and all events are open with no local residency or affiliations required.
The Community Rodeo is followed by a free concert at 9:30 p.m. featuring Carlos Washington & Steel Horse.
Information is available online at elizabethstampede.com.
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