HAMEL — The biggest rodeo in Minnesota is returning to Hamel for its 39th year.

The Rodeo runs from Thursday, July 11, to Sunday, July 14, with shows every day at 7:30 p.m. at Corcoran Lions Park, 7205 County Rd 101. There's also 1 p.m. family show on Saturday, July 13.

Rodeo events include bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, tie down roping, steer wrestling, team roping, barrel racing, bull riding and a special act by Tim "Wild Thang" Lepard and Team Ghost Riders, the rodeo's website says.

The Hamel Rodeo draws the most cowboys and cowgirls from around the country to Minnesota, Ruth Nicolaus, a spokesperson for the rodeo, said, making it the biggest rodeo in the state. 

When asked what her favorite aspect of the rodeo is, she couldn’t pick just one thing.

“I enjoy it very much. One thing that means a lot to me, this rodeo is a fundraiser, after they pay the bills, they give the remaining money to five charities. You are helping other people by contributing to the rodeo but you get something out of it," Nicolaus said.

In the past, the rodeo has raised as much as $2 million donated to the Hamel Lions Club, the Hamel Volunteer Fire Department, the Hamel Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), the Hamel American Legion and Military Ministry.

Nicolaus said another one of her favorite parts of the rodeo is watching the horses and bulls compete.

“The horses and the bulls, they are so athletic, they compete as much as their human counterpoints. You never know what's going to happen next so you can’t look away," she added. 

Other events include: 

  • “Tough enough to wear pink” night is Thursday. Attendees, cowboys and cowgirls are encouraged to wear pink to raise awareness for breast cancer research.
  • Free pony rides around the arena for kids 90 minutes before each performance, and all day on Saturday. (This is 30 minutes longer than last year.)
  • A calf scramble on Saturday where kids can get in the arena with several calves with ribbons on their tails. Each kid who grabs a ribbon from a calf will get a prize.

Live music

Every evening there will be a rodeo dance with live music in the parking lot at Inn Kahoots, 45 Hamel Road, in Hamel. Performers include Michael Paul Band and Gus Sent Me, according to the bar's website. 

Those who purchase a rodeo button for $3 at the rodeo will get $5 off admission to the dance.

Inn Kahoots website is www.innkahootsbar.com.

Frances Stevenson is a reporter for the Lakeshore Weekly News, covering the communities around Lake Minnetonka.


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