By Nicole Calacal
On April 25, Rider’s College of Continuing Studies (CCS) released the Broncs into the Campus Mall. Students mounted their steeds to race against each other for the chance to win the grand prize: a $1,000 reward toward a summer session class, two Ariana Grande concert tickets, a pizza party for ten courtesy of Gourmet Dining and gift cards from Barnes & Noble (B&N), Rider Bookstore and Starbucks.
Inspired by the Kentucky Derby, the Summer Stampede was created last year to increase awareness for the summer session programs. Marketing Manager for the CCS Susan Hammond said in brainstorming ideas to promote summer session programs, she thought that a high-visibility event, like the stampede, would help boost awareness.
“As the Broncs, and the hype of the upcoming annual Kentucky Derby, I thought it would be ideal to build off of that excitement and host our own horse race with hopper ball horses, our bouncing Broncs,” she said.
To complement the event, Gourmet Dining served horseshoe cookies, mint julep mocktails and hosted a Derby Day hat-making station.
With more than 30 racers, students were divided into groups of at least six people per heat race. Then, the winner of each heat race was able to compete in the Grand Stampede Stand Off Race, which was the final round. After Hammond gave the students a chance to catch their breath, the ten finalists took the reins once again to try to claim the grand prize. On the sidelines, students cheered for their friends and peers as the racers bounced their way to the finish line.
With all of the racers hopping so quickly to the finish line, it wasn’t unusual when there was some confusion about who crossed it first.
“With so many racers vying for the top prizes, it is expected to have confusion in who placed,” Hammond said. “We have line judges who make the call and who confer with each other after the Grand Stampede race. We had video footage at the finish line to determine our winners.”
At first, freshman history major Danielle Jackson thought she lost, and she was disappointed, thinking she would just have to try again next year. Jackson said, “I remember being scared and thinking I lost the whole race because everyone seemed to be on the opposite side of the field congratulating someone else who had won. I was confused because I remember crossing the finish line and not seeing anyone else around me, but I didn’t see one of the contestants on the far left had already crossed before me. Then, I remember all the judges checking their phones to see who had crossed the line first. Then, they knocked the contestant on the far left to third place for running instead of hopping the entire time.”
In the end, Jackson won first place. She was thrilled that she could take her 13-year-old brother to the Ariana concert. “I felt great, mainly because my brother is a die-hard Ariana fan, and all I wanted was to get these tickets, so now he can be happy when I go home,” Jackson said.
But Jackson wasn’t the only one to walk away with a reward. Junior information systems major Isaiah Jean-Baptiste won the second place prize, which included a $500 reward toward a summer session class, two Ariana Grande concert tickets and gift cards from Gourmet Dining, B&N Rider Bookstore and Starbucks. In third place, freshman general liberal arts and sciences studies major Trevor Sullivan received a $250 reward toward a summer session class, a bouncing Bronc from the Summer Stampede and gift cards from Gourmet Dining, B&N Rider Bookstore and Starbucks. Additionally, CCS gave away bouncer T-shirts to the first 30 racers and phone lanyards to the heat race winners.
Even though Jackson was hesitant to participate in the race at first, she decided to take a chance. In high school, she was on the track team, so she had plenty of experience with jumping exercises, which helped her win the race.
Jackson originally wanted to take a summer course, but she couldn’t afford it. Ultimately, the Summer Stampede provided her with the opportunity to further her studies.
Editor’s note: Danielle Jackson is the Business/Advertising Manager for The Rider News. She was not involved in the editing of this article.
Published in the 05/01/19 edition.