Culture at the Greeley Stampede

By Martha Rogers

From the second I heard we were going to The Greeley Stampede, I already knew this was going to be my favourite part of the four-week trip to Colorado.

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For a girl from the middle of England heading to the Wild West, this was all I could have hoped to experience and more. From the minute I stepped up onto the stands and saw the first man wearing the classic cowboy outfit of a hat and chaps jump from his bucking horse, I knew this was the real deal.

The crowd was unbelievable, and the atmosphere was rife with excitement, the time of year that all these people had been waiting for had finally come, and the sense of pride every time a Coloradan rode out into the arena was electric.

As a group we later discussed our shock at the children doing mutton-busting, the fearlessness that these youngsters showed and the outright bravery at some of them when they fell off, taking it on the chin, pulling themselves back up and putting on a smile for the audience.

These kids really were reared for rodeo.

Aside from the rodeo itself, the Stampede did not disappoint in atmosphere and entertainment either, with a tent playing country music – something that would be unheard of the in the UK – and more rides and stalls than one person could feasibly explore in just one trip.

The whole experience was exhilarating, shocking and exceeded all expectations by far. I doubt if you can get a more all-American occasion than the rodeo, and for any foreign visitor this is an experience not to miss to get a real taste of old-school American values.

For someone like me, who majors in American Studies at University back home, the whole evening was captivating, and provided a real insight into life in the country that has always fascinated me.

It was a night to remember– get me back to Greeley!