Country Stampede moves from Manhattan

Anika Nyp, Blue M Editor-in-Chief

Country Stampede has been a long lasting tradition that many people from all over Kansas have come to. Stampede has been happening since 1996 and usually held out at Tuttle Creek Lake — until recently. Weather and flooding had caused it to move to Topeka, which caused a lot of people who had already booked the hotels and were getting ready to come to Manhattan have to change their plans. 

“Well it was the first year that it was in Topeka — and I would’ve much rather it of been back at Tuttle,” Marlee Hodges, sophomore, said. “It was my first year being there so I wouldn’t have been able to compare it to Tuttle but all of the adults were complaining.”

Not only did this affect the people of Manhattan but also the city as well. 

“There were a lot of folks that did some shopping in Manhattan,” Ron Fehr, City Manager, said. “Though, that’s all confidential [sale records], we anticipate that the sales taxes will probably be down a little bit. We won’t know that until September.” 

The news of the new location also meant a rush to get things ready and moved to Topeka. 

“I did not like it at all. They weren’t prepared for the rain like the Manhattan location always is, and there was no shade or trees like Manhattan,” Heidi Hansen, sophomore, said. “It was very hot and muddy.” 

Even the first year attendees weren’t impressed with the organization.

“I never went to it in Tuttle but I thought the GA was a lot better in Topeka,” Avery Koeneke, sophomore, said. “Just a lot of mud and not super organized.” 

Even with all the mud and heat people still managed to have a great time and enjoy the music. 

“I got to high five some of the singers,” Hansen said. “That was the best part.” 

A lot of people got that first hand experience from the singers.

“This was my first year because my mom got free tickets in VIP,” Hodges said. “My favorite singer Jake Owen was singing. He sings the songs ‘Barefoot Bluejean Night’ & ‘Down to the Honky Tonks’. Jake Owen touched my hand.” 

The City isn’t too concerned with Country stampede leaving Manhattan. 

“Over the years, we’ve kind of turned away business, you know, so it’s kind of difficult to host baseball, softball soccer tournaments because there really weren’t very many hotel rooms available,” Fehr said. “So we’ve tried to steer away from having other events in the community during that time and now we’ll be able to market that week and weekend more effectively, so I think we’ll be able to backfill some of that.” 

That doesn’t mean everything will still be normal and go back to how it was.

“Now, obviously, a lot of those events don’t generate the larger crowd. So the overall impact of retail shopping might still be a little bit lower,” Fehr said. “The Convention and Visitors Bureau has started a committee that exploring other types of events that would be big draws for us.”