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History of the Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo


Taking place in Mitchell, SD, every year since 1971, (with the exception of 2020 due to the Covid pandemic) 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 (PRCA), 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 wrestling, 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, and mutton bustin'.cpsparade1973

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.CPS 2017

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, barrel-men and bull fighters.  Other sections trace the history of the rodeo's music, queens, parades, chili cook-offs, 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.

Article Originally submitted by:  John R. Thune, Representative (At Large), courtesy:  The Library of Congress and can be seen by clicking this link (updates have been made to this article)


CPS Rodeo Highlights


Rodeo Tourist Gift Package


Each year on Thursday, The Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo Committee, with the help of the local sheriff, venture out on to I-90 Interstate to find some unsuspecting tourist to present a gift package!IMG 7583 cr JD and team tn

Once they decide on a vehicle, they proceed to pull them over, flashing lights and all, to present them with a package containing:

  1. Key to the City of Mitchell from Mayor Bob Everson
  2. Gift Basket from the Chamber of Commerce
  3. Room for the night at the Comfort Inn of Mitchell
  4. Dinner from The Depot
  5. Crow's Nest Seats for Thursday's Rodeo Performance

The Rodeo Committee would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the sponsors over the years who have helped to make this a fun and special weekend for someone visiting our town.

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