Billy Etbauer competes in saddle bronc riding event Photo: Dave Sietsema
Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo and the Corn Palace
place in Mitchell, South Dakota, every year since 1971, the Corn
Palace Stampede Rodeo has served as a cultural icon in the state by
blending traditional rodeo events with facets of contemporary life.
Sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PCRA),
the four-day annual event attracts over 12,000 rodeo fans from
across the United States each year. The rodeo's contestants, from
all over the United States and Canada, participate in such events
as bareback bronc riding, calf roping, saddle bronc riding, steer
wresting, team roping, barrel racing, and bull riding. In addition
to the rodeo contests, there is western music, a rodeo queen
competition, parade chili cook-off, rodeo mixer, golf tournament,
mutton bustin' for the children, performances by the Stampede Drill
Team and a "Bull Bash," a one-day spin-off event consisting of bull
riding, clowns, bull fighters, barrel men and barrel racing.
Proceeds from the "Bull Bash" are donated to Mitchell-area
charitable organizations. Every year since 1979, the Corn Palace
Stampede belt buckle has become a tradition; these brass buckles,
depicting various rodeo events, are numbered each year and have a
brief history of the Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo engraved on the
The Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo derives its name from the Corn
Palace building. Built in 1892, the original Corn Palace, called
"The Corn Belt Exposition" was used to display, in order to
demonstrate the fertility of the state's soil, the products of the
harvest of South Dakota's farmers in a mural on the exterior of the
building. Each mural depicts an important facet of South Dakota
living. These murals require thousands of bushels of corn, grain,
grasses, wild oats, brome grass, blue grass, rye, straw and wheat
each year. The exterior decorations are completely stripped down
and new murals are created annually. Hosting stage shows as well as
sports events in its arena, the Corn Palace serves as a multi-use
center for the community and region. The "World's Only Corn Palace"
is a structure which stands as a tribute to the agricultural
heritage of South Dakota.
The Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo Parade passes the Corn Palace, 1973 Photo courtesy Stampede Rodeo Committee
Included in the project's documentation are
twenty-nine 8 x 10 photographs and accompanying descriptions, a
written report with sections on the history of the rodeo, the PRCA,
a history of the Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo, its cowboys and
events, a listing of the champions of each event from every year of
the rodeo, rodeo announcers, clowns, barrelmen and bull fighters.
Other sections trace the history of the rodeo's music, queens,
parades, chili cookoffs, golf classics, parade marshals, and awards
earned by the Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo. Newspaper and magazine
coverage over the years and a videotape are included.
Originally submitted by: John R. Thune, Representative (At Large).
The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.