News Column

Buffalo Stampede aims to raise money for Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History

August 22, 2014

By Jordan Overturf, The Eagle, Bryan, Texas

Aug. 22--The Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History is setting two goals for this year's Buffalo Stampede Half Marathon and 5K Race -- register 1,000 runners and raise $40,000 in donations to support museum events throughout the year.

The stampede is an annual event, which includes a two-day cook-off starting Friday, Oct. 3, and the race and a heritage fair on Saturday, Oct. 4.

Debra Cowman, executive director of the museum, said the addition of international philanthropist John McInroy should help get runners excited about this year's stampede.

"He is so dedicated to raising money for special causes. He's such an inspirational spirit. He will be a perfect fit," Cowman said.

Another natural fit for the Buffalo Stampede will be a live bison, which Cowman said will be available for pictures during Saturday's events.

A day earlier, eight chuckwagon teams will roll up to the museum for an authentic cook-off challenge. In addition to the eight chuckwagons providing food, attendees of Saturday's Brazos Valley Heritage Fair will get the chance to interact with more than 100 demonstrators offering a glimpse of life in the bygone era of the Old West.

As always, the central focus on the Stampede is the race, which is a fundraiser for the museum. Cowman said this year's goal is $40,000, with about half of that coming from corporate sponsors, including Twin City Properties, Dreamers Oil, the city of College Station, the Arts Council of Brazos Valley and the Brazos County Historical Commission. The other half will come from registration fees for those who want the chance to race alongside McInroy, a seasoned competitor.

McInroy is the founder of the Unogwaja Challenge and the I Wear Red Socks on Friday campaign.

The South African challenge is a recreation of the trip made by its namesake, Phil "Unogwaja" Masterson-Smith, who in 1933 rode his bicycle from Cape Town to Pietermaritzburg to compete in the 56-mile long Comrades Ultra-Marathon. The Unogwaja Challenge features a 10-day cycling race from Cape Town to Pietermaritzburg; on the 11th day, the cyclists switch to running as competitors in the Comrades marathon.

While McInroy's experience in marathon running is a boon to the museum, Cowman said it is his Red Socks campaign that truly connects with the museum's mission.

The socks campaign is described as a way to show others that "when you follow your heart, there is no such thing as failure."

Cowman took it a step further, saying that the socks campaign is about inspiring others. For the museum, that involves showing others that where they come from is as crucial as where they are going in life.

"We're the only natural history museum in a 100-mile radius," Cowman said, adding that "the museum is not only about bringing educational events. Stampede is all about following your heart and inspiring others. It's vitally important to show our heritage."

For those that can't run, the museum will offer a cheer station challenge, where local organizations can gather to cheer on runners in their path to the finish line. Winners will be chosen by anonymous judges who will award first through third place -- $250 to $75 prizes -- to the groups that display enthusiastic and creative cheers, and for maintaining a presence throughout the entire race.


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Source: Eagle (Bryan, TX)

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