Snake River Stampede Provides Heartwarming Cowboy Stories

Headed toward Boise this weekend? It's not too late to catch the finale of the Snake River Stampede.

Last night, my family and some friends joined thousands of fans for this inspiring display of patriotism, thrills, and showmanship. Afterwards, we were treated to a concert by Riverbilly, which helped build awareness to prevent domestic violence.

Boasting a $400,000 payoff, the Snake River Stampede is one of the top 10 regular season professional rodeos in the nation. In 2009, it was ranked eighth in the world, not counting the finals rodeos such as the National Finals Rodeo. It has evolved from a small, local bucking horse competition in the early 1900′s to a major professional sports event. Originally it was called the Rodeo and Buck Show and the bucking stock was herded overland from the Horseshoe Bend area. In 1937, it was named the Snake River Stampede and became a professional rodeo. Virtually all of the world champions have competed at the Stampede at one time or another. One heartwarming story from the Rodeo is that of announcer Boyd Polhamus, who peforms his duties on horseback.
For the former rodeo cowboy from Wisconsin who earned multiple trips to the National High School Finals Rodeo and eventually a college rodeo scholarship, being horseback gives him a chance to do more at a rodeo. “I’m gonna walk up and interview (bareback rider) Win Ratliff and ask him how his Fourth of July was, or I’m gonna ask Wade Sundell, the defending (Stampede) champion, how he feels,” Polhamus said. “I can walk up to a kind on the fence and find out what he wants to be when he grows up,” he added. “Those are things you’re able to do with a horse that you’re not able to do when you’re stuck behind a podium.”
The rodeo features bareback bronc riding, saddle bronc riding, bull riding, steer wrestling, tie-down roping, team roping and ladies’ barrel racing, plus mutton busting for the kids and the famous Snake River Stampeders Night Light Drill Team. And when cowboys and cowgirls work together, they always find a way to win.
As Philica Hupp circled the barrels inside the Idaho Center arena, it became obvious her time wasn’t going to win a check. Riding her horse, Tubby, for the first time in three weeks following an injury to the horse, the Stephenville, Texas, cowgirl clocked a time of 16.40 seconds, well back of the night’s leaders, Fallon Taylor and Kim Schulze, who each clocked 15.99. Philica still got her chance to celebrate, though, as 15 minutes later, her husband, Jordan, rode Insaniac for 84 points, sharing the night’s top mark in bull riding and tying him for fourth overall at the 97th Snake River Stampede.
Today is Family Day at the Snake River Stampede. Their matinee rodeo begins at noon (doors open at 10:30am and pre-rodeo is at 11:15am). All the same rodeo events as the other performances and a family-friendly environment. This is an alcohol-free event. There is free admission for children 12 and under.