The Cyclone Stampede: Student – Run Tradition

Hi Everyone!

Today I’m bringing you a little piece of alumni pride. During my time at Iowa State University, I spent a lot of my time working with other members of the ISU Rodeo Club to produce our home college rodeo, the Cyclone Stampede. For anyone who doesn’t know, Iowa State has the last student-run rodeo in the nation. That’s right – an all student committee taking care of everything from the stock contractor to the arena authorization.

I caught up with Erin Lagone, this year’s chair of the Cyclone Stampede committee, on what it’s like to be in her shoes and oversee other students putting on their own production. For my local readers, this year’s Cyclone Stampede goes on THIS WEEKEND. I’ll be there – stop out, watch some rodeo and support a college tradition.



Describe what you do on the committee.

I am the President of the Cyclone Stampede Rodeo Committee which entails being the liaison between the committee and Iowa State University. I also keep a checklist of things that need to get done, assist the committee members in the tasks that I’ve delegated to them, and consider all ideas that are brought to me and determine if they are beneficial and feasible for our production.

What’s been the biggest challenge in planning the rodeo?
The biggest challenge that I have found is effectively communicating with the university. They are very supportive of our event however they aren’t as knowledgeable on the sport of rodeo. They have a lot of concerns about the safety of the contestants, as does the committee, however they don’t understand why any sane person would strap themselves down on a bull or bronc or jump off a perfectly good horse to wrestle with a 500 lb. steer (honestly I don’t blame them!). We are working very closely with ISU to ensure that the safety of our contestants is a priority and the future of this rodeo is looking even brighter.
What’s the most rewarding part?
The Cyclone Stampede is a huge production to put on in this area and I believe there are a lot of rewarding aspects to being a part of the committee. First and foremost, the past three years I’ve been helping with the Cyclone Stampede I have always enjoyed how much the spectators enjoy the event. I love seeing people appreciate the sport of rodeo the way I do and knowing that I helped bring them that is special. Secondly, I enjoy supporting the ISU Rodeo Team. Some of my best friends compete on the team and I’m glad that we are able to put on this home town rodeo so that their friends and family can come support them. Lastly, through my involvement in this rodeo production I’ve had the ability to gain a lot of connections in the rodeo industry and I value the opportunities that has presented to me.
What can ISU students expect to see if they attend Stampede?
The committee has planned a great show for our ISU students to come see. First of all, we have 9 ISU Rodeo Team members competing that would love to have their ISU family there cheering for them. We are also having some friendly competition between a couple of the frats and sororities in an event called a calf scramble. This will definitely supply a good laugh by watching more of our Cyclones partake in some fun. We would love to see as many ISU students at our rodeo as possible, the energy they bring to our stands is second to none!
How is the Cyclone Stampede rodeo different from other college rodeos?
The Cyclone Stampede Rodeo is unique as it is the ONLY college rodeo in the country that is student run. That’s right. Our own club members do all the planning, fundraising, set up, jobs at the rodeo, and tear down. This is the 55th year of the Cyclone Stampede and it is a long standing tradition at Iowa State University that will be continuing for many years to come.
How many volunteers are needed for the show to go on?
As I stated before, our rodeo is completely student driven. The committee is made up of 7 students and our 2 faculty advisers. To work all of the “glamorous” jobs at the rodeo, however we need at least 50 volunteers to make sure all of the behind the scenes work gets done. This ranges from sorting roping calves to collecting tickets to working the stripping chutes. Without these student volunteers this rodeo wouldn’t be possible.
How long has the committee been planning?
Our committee was elected seven months ago and since then it has been a nonstop process. Luckily, we have many great connections with in the rodeo industry which makes it significantly easier to plan. The entire committee has put in many tireless hours to plan this rodeo and I believe that we have a great show lined up.
Walk us through the process of putting together the event.
The initial questions we asked ourselves was who we wanted to be our stock contractor, announcer, and clown. Fortunately we have two Iowa State and Rodeo Club alumni that we are happy to be working with again this year- Marty Barnes with Barnes PRCA Rodeo and Jeff Lucas, PRCA Announcer. Second, we start going around to businesses and asking for sponsorships. Over the summer we start working closely with the university to ensure that we are complying with all of their rules as well as keeping them up to date on our finances and tentative schedule for the weekend of the rodeo. Throughout the summer we also start kicking around ideas for other entertainment that we plan to bring into the rodeo; this year we have the Diamonds and Dust Equestrian Drill Team, Frat/Sorority calf scramble, kids boot race, and Miss Iowa Rodeo Queen and Miss ISU Cyclone Stampede Rodeo Queen doing meet and greets.
How long does it take to set up?
This year we will be starting set up on Wednesday and will be actively working towards the full set up until Friday night. It’s a gruesome process but when the entire Rodeo Club pitches in it makes the time go by quicker.
What do you hope spectators take away from the event? 
The committee’s goal is to provide quality entertainment to the Ames community through the sport of rodeo. We understand there are a few misconceptions the general public has about our sport and we hope to sort out any confusion by providing a good example of what the rodeo industry truly is. The ISU Cyclone Stampede Rodeo is a family event and we look forward to sharing our passion with people of all ages and backgrounds in our community.
There you have it, folks! Make sure to come support your ISU Rodeo Team at the Cyclone Stampede September 30th – October 1st. The rodeo is located in the Hansen Agricultural Learning Center. Be on the lookout for a fun college rodeo look here on the blog after the event too!

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