Stampede closes a hectic four days

By Paul Harris

Riley County EMS direct Larry Couchman told county commissioners Monday that treatment numbers were up slightly at the 2012 edition of Country Stampede, which concluded Sunday. But he said that might be attributable to higher attendance.

Couchman said that while he did not have official figures, his own sense was that this might be one of the best-attended Stampedes in the 17-year history of the event.

He said did 516 patients were treated during the four-day event, 210 of them on Saturday, the largest single day. Forty-two patients were treated for alcohol, while 31 were treated for alcohol-related illness. There were not any alcohol-related illnesses on Sunday. Sunday’s crowd, Couchman said, is a family-oriented crowd.

“The hardcore Stampeders come mid-week and then party hard through Saturday and usually leave Sunday morning,” he said.

Over his 17 years of service, Couchman said he has seen a correlation between the number of alcohol incidents and the temperature.

“The hotter it is, the lower number of alcohol incidents,” he said.

The biggest improvement at Stampede over the years has come from the campground, which is usually a large site for medical problems, Couchman said. He added that attitudes and respect toward law officials has improved.

There were a number of incidents on Friday night, but Couchman said that was the only night his staff had to intervene for medical purposes.

Otherwise, Couchman said, “Participants are respectful and generally happy.”

Also at Monday’s meeting, county treasurer Eileen King reminded people with last names beginning with the letters H-I that they need renew their motor vehicle registrations by Friday.

Because of the new system, King said it will take longer than usual to renew their plates and registrations.

She attributed the problems to connectivity and records not being converted over from the old system. It usually takes between 15 minutes and an hour to get the issue fixed.

As a result of the problems, King advises residents to avoid doing their renewals on Friday.

Employees are also taking fewer breaks, and are working overtime to complete mailed-in renewals, titles, and other non-customer related tasks.

If someone does not get in line at 5 p.m., before the office is locked, the employees are instructed to work with the guests until all the customers have been helped.

King also advised people to be patient and to mail in the renewals if possible, or do them online.

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