Officials offer tips for safe Stampede

By Brady Bauman

Riley County Emergency Medical Services director Larry Couchman and RCPD Captain Kurt Moldrup told county commissioners Monday morning their departments are gearing up for this weekend’s Kicker Country Stampede music festival and urged those who plan to attend to take proper precautions to ensure a safe experience.

“It’s the 19th year we’ve been doing this,” Couchman said. “Notice how we look today, take pictures, then next Monday we’ll be back and you can see how we compare.

“That will tell the success or not success of the event.”

This year’s Stampede looks to be one for the record books, Couchman said, and will perhaps be the largest attended with Luke Bryan and Eric Church headlining the weekend.

With the fun, though, Counchman said, also comes responsibility.

He said concert-goers should be aware of the heat, limit their exposure to the sun, moderate their drinking of alcohol and consume plenty of water.

They should be aware of weather conditions, too, and wear some type of footwear to prevent lacerations.

“If anyone is out there and needs medical care, they can feel free to pop by our main first-aid tent, which will be located on the southeast portion of the festival grounds,” he said. “We’ll also have three different mobile units on site.

“I can guarantee you, after 19 years of doing this, it will be hot, it will be humid, we’ll have at least one significant rain storm.

“But I think it’s going to be a good festival with very strong attendance and very strong entertainers. It looks like it will be our biggest festival and we’re looking forward to it.”

Moldrup said much of the law enforcement at Stampede is done by Pottawatomie County, since most of the festival grounds fall into their jurisdiction, but the RCPD will have a presence.

“We’ll send anywhere from 5-10 officers depending on time of day and the concerts going on,” he said. “We’ll also be helping with traffic control.”

Moldrup said despite the potential for bad things to happen considering the amount of people in one place and the drinking that often goes on, tragic events have rarely occurred.

“There are very few problems,” he said. “When you look at that crowd the potential for problems are huge, but in the 19 years we’ve had really very little, comparatively speaking.

“And we’ll be pushing hard on alcohol violations.”

In other items, commissioners came to a consensus when it came to road and bridges funding in the short term, as it relates to the half-cent sales tax construction projects.

Commissioners Bob Boyd, Ron Wells, and Dave Lewis told County Engineer Leon Hobson to table major repairs to the county’s two Fancy Creek bridges.

Hobson initialy asked the commission if they’d wanted to bond those bridge repairs with the McDowell Creek Roadway Reconstruction Project.

Commissioners told Hobson it was better to focus on McDowell Creek Roadway for the time being, but did say things could change depending on future road and bridge funding and revenue figures.

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