This year’s Buckles and Bling rodeo team fundraiser, with a meal, program, and auction items, will be Thursday April 7th at 6 p.m. The Jackrabbit Stampede Rodeo will be Friday April 8th @ 7 p.m., Saturday April 9th @ 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. held at the Swiftel Center 824 32nd Ave. Brookings, SD. Tickets on sale at event, by phone at 1-800-745-3000, or online at Ticketmaster.com 30 days before rodeo. Contact the Swiftel Center box office at 605-692-7539 for more information.
The Jackrabbit Stampede has a storied tradition and every SDSU rodeo alumni has a memory to tell from the 56 previous Stampedes gone by. The early days were remembered with inclement weather and a woven wire arena that had wood posts and lumber lining the top of the fence painted red and white. Many pictures of the early Jackrabbit Stampede show the fans packed in the outdoor stands bundled up from the cool night air and others lining the fence to get a closer look. Jim Thompson announced many college rodeos including the Stampede for years and knew every athlete that competed, sometimes embarrassing them with too much information. H.L. Hutchinson was the rodeo advisor for many years keeping the program running smoothly by dedicating many hours to the program.
The wood and woven wire has since been replaced with WW steel panels and new chutes painted SDSU yellow and blue. The arena is still used for practice sessions but is no longer used for the Stampede due to the large crowds that enjoy the comforts of an indoor rodeo at the Brookings Swiftel Center. Sutton Rodeo’s are still providing great stock after all these years. In fact, with the combined efforts of Sutton Rodeo’s, the Swiftel Center, and the SDSU rodeo club, the Jackrabbit Stampede has been the Great Plains Region “College Rodeo of the Year” multiple times in the past decade. It is a fast moving and professionally run rodeo that is enjoyable to watch year after year.
The Jackrabbit Stampede is a National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association approved rodeo that holds all the standard college rodeo events; Bareback Riding, Breakaway Roping, Tie Down Roping, Saddle Bronc Riding, Steer Wrestling, Goat Tying, Team Roping, Barrel Racing and Bull Riding. One other added event that is not held at every college rodeo is our SDSU Jackrabbit Stampede Ambassador Contest. Our rodeo ambassador is judged in many categories before representing SDSU rodeo at other professional and amateur rodeos throughout the summer. This contest has been in existence from some of the earliest SDSU rodeos.
If you have not been to a Jackrabbit Stampede there is another one coming around the bend and maybe you too will have a story to take away like so many others have in the past. If you have a Jackrabbit Stampede story that you would like to share, e-mail coach Ron Skovly to share the memories with others.