Community events round out rodeo weekend
A 6-year-old barrel racer and a wild animal trainer and rodeo entertainer known as the “One-armed Bandit” will be among many attractions at the Hamel Rodeo during performances Thursday, July 10, through Sunday, July 13, at Corcoran Lions Park, located on County Road 10 west of County Road 101.
The rodeo will be the cornerstone of many community events over the weekend at various locations.
Youngsters will be offered free pony rides from 6-7:30 p.m. each day and from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, preceding rodeo performances set for 7:30 p.m. each day, rain or shine, with a 1 p.m. matinee on Saturday. Rodeo dances at the Inn Kahoots Bar on Hamel Road in Hamel will be under the stars after the Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening rodeo performances. Admission will be free with the purchase of a rodeo button.
At the rodeo, 400 cowboys and cowgirls will compete for $120,000 in cash prizes in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association world championships. All five performances will include bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, team roping, ladies barrel racing, the Bull Ridin’ Bonanza and the One Armed Bandit, John Payne.
The One Armed Bandit got his nickname after losing an arm in an electrocution accident in 1973. Payne will come to the rodeo with his buffalo. He rides a horse as he drives the buffalo up a custom-designed ramp to the top of his trailer. There, he “spins” the buffalo as he follows them up the ramp on horseback. He even cracks a bullwhip, one-handed, with the reins in his mouth.
The One Arm Bandit has won the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association’s Specialty Act of the Year award 12 times. This will be his first trip to the Hamel Rodeo.
Opening night on Thursday will be “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” night benefiting breast cancer research. All attendees are invited to wear pink that night and also make donations to support the cause.
On Friday, July 11, the last barrel racer will be Lana Houck, a 6-year-old from North Branch, Minnesota. She has been riding by herself since she was 3 years old and began barrel racing at the same age. Her parents, Pete and Jill, own Houck Horse Company, where they buy, sell and train horses from across the country. Pete is a former bull rider and Jill is a barrel racer.
Pete said Lana is an extremely talented and a natural rider and she loves to go fast.
Lana will compete with novice barrel racers at the Hamel Rodeo, but it won’t be her first rodeo. She is the 2013 Minnesota Barrel Racers Association Peewee champion. She finished in 10th place in barrel racing at the Western Saddle Club Association against other girls in her age division.
Family Day offerings on Saturday will include stick horse races and a calf scramble for all kids 10 and under.
New this year is the Loram Sweat Your Buns 5K run, scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. Sunday at the Medina Entertainment Center, 500 Highway 55. The Hamel Lions will hold a Sunday morning flea market in the Medina Entertainment Center parking lot, and a rodeo brunch inside the entertainment center will feed hungry shoppers and rodeo enthusiasts. At 2 p.m., the Hamel Rodeo Parade will begin making its way along Hamel Road. Jimmy’s Pizza will celebrate its 10th year in Medina by serving as grand marshals of the parade.
Five community service, nonprofit groups put on the Hamel Rodeo — the Hamel Volunteer Fire Department, Hamel Lions Club, Hamel Athletic Club, Heinzen-Ditter Veterans of Foreign Wars Post and the John Pohlker American Legion Post 394. During its first 33 years, the rodeo has raised $1.3 million to support community service projects.
Tickets can be purchased in advance at discount prices through Wednesday, July 9, at Farmers State Bank of Hamel, Pleasant Hills Saddle Shops and on the website at www.hamelrodeo.org. Or purchase tickets by mail at P.O. Box 141, Hamel MN. Advance prices are $15 for adults and $8 for children ages 4 through 12. Tickets at the gate will cost $16 for adults and $9 for children ages 4 through 12. Add $2 to each ticket price for preferred seating.
Compiled by Susan Van Cleaf at [email protected]