By Bob Dickson

The Master’s College campus is preparing itself for the third-annual Mustang Stampede this Saturday (Jan. 25), and if recent history is any indication, students, faculty, prospective students and college alumni will need to brace themselves for a raucous event.

The Stampede is a day-long pep rally that begins with a baseball double-header and two basketball contests (men’s and women’s) – all against Mustang archrival Biola. The Mustang baseball team, looking to defend its 2013 conference championship, will play Game 1 at 11 a.m. and Game 2 at 2 p.m. The women’s basketball game tips off at 5:30 p.m. and features the Lady Mustangs (14-3), ranked No. 9 in the latest NAIA coaches’ poll. The Mustang men (13-4) will play at 7:30 p.m.

The Stampede, however, is about much more than the athletic competition. It’s all about community, as prospective TMC students are invited to join current students and TMC alumni in the festivities, which include a free barbecue with the entire student body, live music, face painting, poster making, a bounce house, a fire pit and an event-long raffle.

Highlighting the raffle giveaway will be a $2,014 scholarship awarded to an incoming TMC student who enrolls for the fall 2014 semester.

Stampede is the brainchild of the college’s Admissions Department, which decided three years ago to take advantage of the TMC-Biola rivalry by opening it up to prospective TMC students (high school and transfer) so they can see and feel for themselves a bit of what it’s like to be a part of the Mustang family.

“Our goal was to see the Biola-TMC games become an entrenched rivalry,” said TMC admissions events coordinator Jordan Seehusen. “But more than that, Stampede has become a TMC community event. It’s an opportunity to bring prospective students, current students and former students together under one roof."

Last year, more than 200 alumni and about 50 prospective students joined the throng of Mustang faithful to pack Bross Court. The event was sold out and many Biola fans were turned away at the gymnasium doors.

“I think they’ll be ready for that this year,” Seehusen said. “They will arrive early.”

Regardless of when they arrive, Biola fans will face a large and vocal crowd … that’s all part of the plan.

“One of the things students associate with the collegiate experience is going to a rivalry game,” Seehusen said. “Stampede is an example of that. The main thing for us is that we want prospective and future students to feel like they’re a part of it, because they are.”

High school senior Darragh Dickson, who plans to enroll at TMC as a freshman in the fall, has had the date circled on her calendar for weeks.

“I want to experience what it’s really like to be a part of the college,” she said. “I want to get a taste of my future.”

She also wouldn’t mind seeing The Mustangs come away victorious.

“I’m ready to embrace the blue and gold,” she said.

The feeling is mutual.

Click here to register for the 2014 Stampede.