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Stampede will end their 25-year career with a retirement and reunion show at Ready Randy's in New Richmond. Pictured are current members, from left, Dennis Feyereisen, Debbie Bowman, Matt Hagen, Tom Kemp (on drums), and Kevin Louden (standing in for Bob Feyereisen) at a recent show.

Stampede calls it quits

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Stampede calls it quits
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

After 25 years of performing at area venues, local band Stampede is calling it quits. The band is retiring its name this weekend.

"It's been a good run," said Bob Feyereisen, who has been with Stampede since the beginning in 1984. But all good runs must come to an end. "Mainly, now just feels like the right time."

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On Saturday, Dec. 12, Stampede will have a reunion and retirement party. The show starts at 7 p.m. at Ready Randy's, 1490 131st St., New Richmond. There's no cover charge.

About 90 percent of the band members from the past 25 years will be back on stage, Feyereisen said. Each of the five groups that have performed as Stampede will play a 45-minute set.

Feelings about the impending breakup ranged from excitement to dread among current members Bob Feyereisen, Dennis Feyereisen, Matt Hagen, Debbie Boman and Tom Kemp, Bob Feyereisen said.

"Me, I don't know," Feyereisen said. "I might play it like Brett Favre."

Retiring will free up band members' weekends so they can spend more time with their families and pursue other interests, he said. Show days can last 10-12 hours with set-up, performing and take-down, not to mention the time spent booking gigs, Feyereisen said.

While they'll have weekends open, fans have questioned what they'll do now that they don't have a favorite band to see.

"I tell them we're starting a card club," he joked.

Stampede formed after a jam session at the Feyereisens' parents' house in 1984. Soon after, the group booked a few gigs as Midnight Rider. Then they realized that name had already been taken in the area.

The name that stuck, Stampede, was suggested by former member Duff Hallock, who saw the word in a western store. He thought it would be a good name for the band and the others agreed. Later, they found out there was another Stampede band in the Twin Cities but decided to keep it anyway.

"To this day, we've never met them," Feyereisen said.

Stampede marketed its style as country with an edge, Feyereisen said. Throughout the years, they've added more variety to their set list but stayed true to up-tempo country.

"We want our music to have that drive. People say they don't like country, but they like us," he said.

The four sound technicians who have worked for the band over the years have helped make the band what it is, Feyereisen commented. Current sound technician is Billy Whitman.

Stampede has played at bars, wedding receptions and other local events throughout its 25 year history. Naming favorite places to play is impossible, Feyereisen said.

"There's been so many fun places to perform, it's too hard to list," he said.

While Stampede has largely been a local band, there were times they hit bigger stages. At one time, they played before a crowd of about 15,000.

Large, excited crowds are the most exciting to play for, Feyereisen said.

"That's when playing is the best. You just feed off the energy. It's like a natural drug," he said.

The band of 1991 -- Bob, Dennis and Dave Feyereisen and Mark Meyer --played at a contest in Atlanta. They were asked to play original music, but Stampede did covers instead, Feyereisen said.

"We probably had the place rocking more than any other band. We didn't win, but we had a blast," Feyereisen said.

Stampede has played at Country Fest in Cadott, Hodag Fest in Rhinelander and WE Fest in Detroit Lakes. They've opened the days for headliners like The Ozark Mountain Daredevil Band, Ronnie Milsap, Sawyer Brown and Little Texas, Feyereisen said.

The group made one studio recording, with the band of '91.

"We thought 'what a perfect idea to do,'" Feyereisen said. "That was a lot of fun."

The current band of Bob and Dennis Feyereisen, Matt Hagen, Debbie Bowman and Tom Kemp has been the longest running group of Stampede with their 12 years. Their shows have largely stayed within an hour and a half radius of Roberts.

As for a reunion show in the future, Feyereisen said he personally is not completely ruling it out.

"I'm not going to say 'no, it's not going to happen,' but let's get through this one," he said. "Then we'll see what happens."

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