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The Stampede Foundation Gives Back

What started in 1922 as the Greeley Spud Rodeo with 2,500 in attendance has evolved into today’s Greeley Stampede with more than 220,000 rodeo fans, concert-goers, and carnival revelers throughout the 12-day event. In addition to a fun-filled summer celebration serving as a way to connect and gather, the Stampede is a generous donor, giving back to the community.

From the beginning, when free cherry pie and coffee enticed local potato farmers to come to the Spud Rodeo, giving back has always been ingrained in the Stampede. The non-profit Stampede Foundation was established in 2001 to allot higher education scholarships and local grants to graduating high school seniors. The first scholarship given was for $500. Twenty years later, the Stampede Foundation awards $50,000 annually to graduating high school seniors and provides additional grants for education programs like the Greeley Evans School District 6 Back-To-School Event, Poudre Learning Center, and Success Foundation. 

The annual giving will double in 2022, thanks to a match by community partner JBS. As part of the 100th Greeley Stampede celebration, the Foundation will fund twenty $5,000 scholarships, totaling $100,000. Scholarship recipients, Weld County high school seniors, are selected based on their outstanding academic achievement, leadership in the community, and plans to further their education. Recipients may use the scholarship at any accredited trade school, college, or university. 

Jacey Reinert, a Kersey native, is a 2018 Stampede Foundation scholarship recipient and feels supported by the community. With the help of several scholarships, Reinert graduated this May from the University of Wyoming, earning a double major in marketing and professional sales, and a minor in communications. She credits her perseverance to the scholarships she received. “It gave me the confidence to go after my goals,” said Reinert. “I felt supported in my dreams, and that means so much to me.”

The Stampede Foundation also gives to the Banner Health Mammography Fund through the Tough Enough to Wear Pink Rodeo, the Northern Colorado Honor Flight, and the Weld Food Bank through the carnival canned food drive. In his eighth year, Greeley Stampede General Manager Justin Watada said that as a community event, the Stampede Foundation remains focused on giving back. “When we had to cancel the Stampede in 2020, we heard from a lot of groups that also felt the impact,” Watada said. “When we lost our funding during COVID, many groups also lost theirs; it trickled down since a lot of groups rely on the Stampede every year as their fundraiser,” Watada said the support that the Stampede Foundation has received from its sponsors and donors has been remarkable. “Everybody just wants to see things go back to normal again.”

While the Greeley Stampede has seven staff members working year-round to ensure a wonderful experience for their attendees, the event cannot happen without volunteers. The community celebration relies on many helping hands to make the event a success with hundreds of volunteers in security, hospitality, beverages, grounds, rodeo, parades, night shows, parking, and admission. To show its gratitude, the Stampede Foundation finds ways to give back to its volunteers. “In 2021, with a modified Stampede event, we still donated over $80,000 back to the groups that came to help, from parking, cleaning, and setting up,” said Watada. The Stampede benefits from voluntary groups such as Eaton School District, Roosevelt Cheerleaders, Rapids Fort Collins soccer, and the Exchange Club.

From scholarships, grants, and Weld Food Bank donations, to the Tough Enough to Wear Pink rodeo and Northern Colorado Honor Flight donations, the Stampede brings much more than 12 days of fun and entertainment to Northern Colorado. Participating in the Greeley Stampede provides memories and connection while also supporting the Stampede Foundation’s impact by giving back to the community.

  • The Greeley Stampede donated over $26,600 to the NCMC Foundation's Breast Cancer Patient Support Fund as part of their Tough Enough to Wear Pink campaign.