July 4 Memory: A redneck holiday at the Greeley Stampede

greeley fireworks

Yee-haw! One of my most memorable July 4 holidays while traveling came two years ago when I found myself near Denver. I met up with my couchsurfing friend Jackie in Greeley, Colorado and we headed to the Greeley Stampede, a cowboy festival at the local rodeo.

Talk about a quirky way to spend a holiday! I’ve never spent a 4th of July in any place like it.

First off, the stampede was apparently sponsored by Hot Pockets, because they were everywhere. They took our picture in front of a Hot Pockets green screen. I happened to be wearing a green shirt, which made for an awesomely psychedelic photo.

hot pockets green screen

The Hot Pockets character also joined some other mascots and local kids in a series of dance routines, including the Macarena, the Soulja Boy, and the Cupid’s Shuffle, which had somehow escaped my radar until I saw the grown man in the frozen meat-pastry costume performing it. That Hot Pocket had some moves!

hot pockets dancing

As we entered the event we saw the roller coasters and amusement park attractions, which I wanted to ride, but they seemed to be designed for younger kids.

greeley stampede rides

Greeley Stampede Food

As for food, the Greeley Stampede had all the crazy fried stuff you’d expect from a cowboy festival. They had Rocky Mountain oysters – you know, fried bull testicles.I didn’t buy any because I was on a limited budget at the time, but I learned my lesson. I’m not going to pass up such a life experience in the future!

They sold lots of fried candies and sweets. I went with the fried Snickers, but the fried Coke sounded really fun too.

fried coke

Greeley Stampede Entertainment

Then it was on to the entertainment. Outside the rodeo, I was very impressed with Trailer Choir, a country outfit featuring a rocker lead singer, a hottie chick and a 380-pound dancing maniac on harmony vocals. Their song “Rockin’ the Beer Gut” was so catchy, I was certain they were destined for national success. Unfortunately, the girl left the group and they haven’t had a big hit since.

trailer choir

Inside the rodeo was the main performance area. It was all muddy and half the audience wore cowboy hats. The headliners were Bucky Covington and Blake Shelton. I barely knew Blake at the time, but of course now he’s a judge on “The Voice.” He sent us home with a decent set of country tunes, followed by fireworks.

blake shelton greeley stampede

What a way to spend the fourth! Do you have a favorite 4th of July memory?


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About Scott Shetler

Scott is a Seattle-based journalist and blogger who puts a quirky spin on travel adventures around the world. He has been featured in Travel + Leisure, Connect Magazine, Matador Travel, and the Washington Post.

23 comments on “July 4 Memory: A redneck holiday at the Greeley Stampede

  1. Can’t believe I lived 90 minutes away from Greely for 10 years but missed this. Really weird food that I don’t think you’d ever see other than in the US of A. A fun post to read.

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