At Stampede, guests sit in an arena and dine on southern food while enjoying live entertainment. Actors and riders compete in a “North vs. South” rodeo with comedy, special effects and acrobatic tricks.
Parton opened Stampede in three different cities: Branson, Mo., Pigeon Forge, Tenn. and Myrtle Beach, S.C. Though similar in concept, each attraction had a different name and theme. For instance, the Myrtle Beach attraction goes by Pirates Voyage and features a sea theme. But parent company World Choice Investments says it’s time to “streamline” the names of the show.
“We provide spectacular family entertainment at a great value,” WCI says in a press release. “We continually listen to our guests and our desire to expand coupled with our desire to stay relevant in today’s changing world led us to simplify our shows.”
The company seems to indicate that enough patrons and cities took issue with the name Dixie Stampede. In addition to keeping the brand consistent, WCI says just calling them all Dolly Parton’s Stampede helps the company take the event to other areas, including overseas.
For the new season starting this January, the producers are also retooling the show and re-writing parts of the script. In a piece for Slate, writer Aisha Harris panned the show as making light of the Civil War. Harris noted that the programming casts North vs. South as a friendly rivalry without making any mention of the sobering history of slavery, the war itself or its affects on America.
If the name change is any indication, enough people agreed some of the problematic segments of the show. The show underwent several iterations since it first ran nearly 30 years ago. In September, Dollywood’s Director of Media and Public Relations Pete Owen sent a response to Slate after her review ran and said the company would carefully consider her points.