Every year, I get a slew of questions from Country Stampede “virgins” about where to stay at this awesome event! What should we bring? Are there bathrooms? Are there places close to get stuff? Do I camp or hotel it? To answer some of the FAQs, I thought I might embark on a short series of blogs on how you may want to roll, or not to roll, at the Midwest’s premiere Country Music Festival. Let’s be honest, this advice is not for those that have a hundred grand to pop on a fancy new 50ft RV! Those folk can pretty much buy their way out of anything! I walk the line on the border of calm civility and hangin’ with a bunch of yahoos that will surely cost you your deposit and then some if you rent one! So let’s check out the options normally presented…beg mom & dad for the family camper, borrow a tent or be extremely creative and make something work! The latter being my personal fave! I’ve seen pretty much everything that you can drag down to Stampede. Homemade garden sheds on wheels, horse trailers with tarps over them and even a pink 30 year old P.O.S. tow behind camper named the”Poon Saloon”! Sure there’s the normal nice camping units there, but face it…there’s no fun or creativity involved in that and you’re broke, remember? It’s all about the experience and making your Stampede unique!
First thing to remember is its usually 90 degrees plus and we get at least one big ass thunderstorm! A few years back there was a tornado over the lake! Below the Tuttle Creek State Park dam, where everything goes on, there is zero air movement! Knowing this means air conditioning is a must for any sane person! Ladies especially like the creature comforts like a good AC unit and fellas, if you expect to have any game at all, swamp butt ain’t gonna help you score any points so get some AC blowin’! Due to the heat and the noise caused by all the generators running the air conditioning, tenting sucks.
Second option could be to get a hotel. Roomin’ at the Ramada is great when you can walk to it. Manhattan is about 10 miles away and rooms are not cheap. Have a few beers at he show and drive? That’s just plain stupid. You’re gonna get someone hurt or get popped with an instant DUI. Uber is really not an option to get in and out of the park. Just get real….its a redneck 3 day country music jam…not the Toronto jazz festival! Leave the dockers and loafers at home and rip the sleeves off an old T-shirt. There’s some serious beer pong in your future and you want to be in the middle of it, not see it on someone’s Snapchat! Plus if you’re not camping on site, you can’t hang at the fun campground parties or after party radio stage due for security reasons.
So…you’ve weighed the options and RV, or something that resembles it, camping it is! Now to make the the big decision on how uniquely you wanna roll Country Stampede! Got access to an RV? You’re golden! Now, trying to secure transportable shelter? Here are a few tips…
There are four types of camping areas at Stampede….high dollar VIP, quiet and family friendly, slightly buzzed with good friends and OH DEAR GOD…
Choose the RV rig for style of camping that suits you! The first two types explain themselves, nice units with mellow laid back folk. Slightly buzzed camping with good friends usually involves a unit that still has all or most of its parts, a good beer fridge, doesn’t leak or have a stripper pole installed on the back bumper. ODG camping is where true creativity comes in….pretty much if you can tow it in and out of the place you’re good to go! The earlier mentioned “Poon Saloon” had ratchet tie down straps holding the camper on its frame. It’s made the trip down and back from Seward for many years like this! Make sure to seek it out while your there…venturing inside is an experience all its own! Other ODG camping unit add on options include but are not limited to dance floors, disco balls, roof top porches, stripper poles, arena sized sound systems or an inflatable night time companion on a flag pole! BTW: Don’t bring a fire pit or firewood…not allowed! Take it from an expert, moonshine and campfires not a good mix!
If your a first timer you can get some friends together, pool up a few bucks and buy a junker RV! My first Indy 500 trips back in the day were in an old Coachmen we picked up for a thousand bucks. Split between 8 guys it was some of the best times! I was trolling Craigslist and you can Click Here for an example of some serious fun for just $600! Regardless of how you roll at Country Stampede and on whatever budget you have, good times are gonna happen!
Next Blog….do I really need that at Stampede?……Yea, you do!