Over fifty years ago, under the leadership of John Gee (Stanford Veterinarian), a group of area businessman, farmers, and ranchers gathered at the Stanford fairgrounds to build a rodeo arena and adjacent bleachers. Hence, the first annual CM Russell Stampede rodeo was held.
Stock contractors, including the early pioneer, Sonny Linger, from Miles City, Montana; and the current J Bar J Rodeo, have insured that cowboys would have a good run for their money. And talented cowboys included a mixture of local and Montana talent; as well as some of the top PRCA world title contenders. Throw in several unique events, such as kids sheep riding and the businessman’s wild cow milking; and you have a rodeo, which has been one of the most entertaining in the region.
In 1990, the Stampede organizers opted to add a full slate of Saturday activities to the weekend. Stanford being the home of the famous Charlie Russell painting, ‘In Without Knocking’; the Stampede Quick Draw seemed to be a natural fit. With one of the most talented group of artists put together, this Quick Draw & Art Auction has become one of the best ever. A tasty barbecue, with just about everything cooked ‘western style’ has been a popular addition. And the free Music Fest adds a relaxing and entertaining atmosphere to the entire weekend.
The CM Russell Stampede activities have been one of the main fundraisers for the Stampede Club. The funds raised have been donated to numerous worthwhile organizations and causes in a wide area.
However, in addition, the Stampede weekend is the highlight of entertainment for a pile of folks in the Montana region, as well as some out-of-staters. Fourth term Stampede Club president Dusty Solomon has issued his personal guarantee: “If there is anyone who doesn’t get their money’s worth at the CM Russell Stampede weekend, I will personally pay for their dinner at our western barbecue."