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Our Roots

Event History
The Greeley Stampede is rich in tradition and heritage dating back to the late 1800s. This community celebration that was started to honor local potato farmers, has grown into an internationally acclaimed festival attracting more than 250,000 people annually from the United States and internationally.

Officially christened the Greeley Spud Rodeo in 1922, the event featured bucking bronc riding, fancy roping, a pie eating contest, a horse race, motorcycle and bicycle races and a two-mile Model-T Ford "free for all" race. Estimated attendance at that first official festival was 2,500 people.
In an effort to give the event some national recognition the Greeley Spud Rodeo era ended and, thus, began the age of the "Go West with Greeley" Rodeo. The name taken from the famous phrase by the city's name sake, Horace Greeley, who said "Go west young man. Go west."

The Greeley Independence Stampede entitlement came in 1972 by means of a community contest and featured pro rodeos, kids rodeo, country and classic rock concerts, televised Fourth of July parade, demolition derby, carnival midway, western art show, free stage entertainment and it was all mixed with food and fun galore!

Today, the Greeley Stampede encompasses a plethora of community-focused events throughout the year such as golf tournaments, community concerts, and youth stick horse rodeos. The large, summer celebration typically spans 12 days tied to the 4th of July and sees an average of 250,000 visitors in attendance.
The 1932 Spud Rodeo Committee and stock contractor Earl Anderson pose on the bucking chutes at the Island Grove arena.
The Island Grove arena, circa 1930s
A horse race during the Spud Rodeo in the late 1940s. Horse races happened annually until 1957, and the track remained in place until the 1970s.
The grandstands during the 1976 Greeley Independence Stampede. The arena had been remodeled in preparation of the American Bicentennial event.
Excerpt from a 1942 promotional brochure
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