Officials from the city of Topeka, representatives from Kicker Country Stampede, Heartland Motorsports Park, and the Greater Topeka Partnership gathered this morning at Heartland Motorsports Park to announce that the Kicker Country Stampede Music Festival will be permanently moving to Topeka beginning in 2020. The location change, however, is not the only change being made to the music festival.

“After twenty-three years of working with our sister city that is very beloved in Manhattan, the Country Stampede is making the big announcement that they are going to have the event in Topeka,” said Topeka Mayor Michelle de la Isla. “In addition to that, there is going to be a name change and, from now on, rather than being the Country Stampede, the event is going to be the Heartland Stampede, right here, in the Heartland, in the center of our nation. So, we are excited about this! We are excited about this partnership!”

When Country Stampede officials made the decision to move the festival from the Tuttle Creek area, a number of other locations expressed an interest in hosting the event. However, the city of Topeka and Heartland Motorsports Park collaborated to create an offer that Stampede officials could not refuse.

“Having the Heartland Stampede as the anchor of Topeka’s events gives a whole new meaning to our goal of being a festival city,” said Brett Oetting, President of Visit Topeka. “Wayne and his team have been tremendous to work with and we are excited to begin planning for 2020 and beyond. Heartland Motorsports Park is the perfect venue and this is a testament to Chris’ commitment to Topeka.”

Officials from Alpha Media Topeka, the media partner for the Kicker Country Stampede, also, believe that the move to Topeka is a positive one.

“I think it’s a great move for Country Stampede,” said Alpha Media Topeka General Manager Larry Riggins. “I think it’s a great, great opportunity for Topeka, from the standpoint of being able to bring an event of this size and one that has been running now (this will be the twenty-fourth year) to Heartland Park. This gives Heartland Park the foundation event that you’re looking for, (then) you add NHRA races to that and, all of a sudden, this motor park becomes a huge part of what Topeka has.”

During the press conference, Stampede officials said that because of the rising cost of hosting the festival at Tuttle Creek, representatives began looking for new locations. Riggins believes that Topeka is the right place for the Country Stampede. But, ultimately, the success of this event lies in the hands of the community.

“We need Topeka to support it,” said Riggins. “It’s important that everybody gets behind this event and make it grow. I feel bad for Manhattan. They’ve had this event for many, many years, and you always hate to see one city lose an event like this. But, you know, it’s one of those things that happened, and had to happen, and Topeka needs to take advantage of it and I think we will.”

Image courtesy of Jared Hitchens