The Greeley Stampede Committee is searching for a new executive director after four years of Bill Ogg’s leadership.
An anonymous source close to the situation confirmed Thursday that Ogg will not be returning to the Stampede.
The committee members met Sunday for their annual retreat, stating they would conduct performance reviews for all employees. Ogg was asked to resign that afternoon, a source confirmed.
Ogg has not returned phone calls all week, and current committee members John DeWitt and incoming chairwoman Trudy Sargent did not return calls. Member Randy Owens, who previously expressed support for Ogg, refused to comment about the situation, as well.
Outgoing chairman Ron Wildeman also would not comment about the situation, but he wrote in a letter to the editor that he is no longer a part of any “decisions being currently made concerning the future of the Stampede and Bill Ogg.”
Ogg was hired in April 2009, and was immediately faced with two years of continued dwindling funds, lackluster attendance, and bad luck with weather and expensive acts that brought the organization to its knees.
Faced with near extinction, however, Ogg and the Committee were able to turn it around in the past two years, this summer being the first time the organization had been in the black in five years.
In that time, Ogg garnered his supporters and detractors. As one supporter has said, “You either love Bill or hate him.”
Many credit him for leading the Stampede through difficult financial times, putting a stop to some sacred cows that financially drained the organization. But some say he ruffled many feathers in the process.
Still others say Ogg was tough to deal with.
Joe Meilinger, president of the Wranglers, the volunteer organization that is the backbone of the annual summer Stampede, said he hadn’t heard of the firing, but also wasn’t surprised.
“I tried not to have too many dealings with him,” Meilinger said. “He wasn’t too fond of the Wranglers anyway. We’re the ones who put the show on. Without the Wranglers, there wouldn’t be a Stampede.”
Ogg had been working at the Stampede without a contract all year, a fact that some have said was a precursor to Sunday’s events.
He was the general manager of the Montana State Fair for six years prior to coming to Greeley to head up the Stampede. Prior to Montana, the Wyoming native also headed up the Kansas State Fair for five years.
According to the Topeka Capital-Journal, Ogg resigned abruptly from the Kansas State Fair in 2002. He moved to Kansas from Montana, where he worked as the general manager at the Montana State Fair, according to online news accounts.