Jimmy’s Pizza, of Medina, will serve as grand marshal for the Hamel Rodeo Parade on Sunday, July 13, the last day of Hamel Rodeo weekend.
Rodeo performances are at Corcoran Lions Park, County Roads 10 and 101, from Thursday, July 10 through Sunday, July 13. Professional cowboys and cowgirls will compete for cash prizes at 7 p.m. each day and 1 p.m. on Saturday, Family Day.
The rodeo itself is in Corcoran. Community events are in Hamel and at the Medina Entertainment Center, 500 Highway 55. Notable events are rodeo dances, 5K run, brunch, flea market and parade beginning at 2 p.m. Sunday on Hamel Road.
Jimmy’s parade float will feature kids and things pizza related, both of which are passions for Carrie Leadens. She owns and operates the restaurant, at 212 Clydesdale Trail, with her husband, Todd, and their children.
A symbol of Leadens’ two passions — Lotzametza Meatball Pizza — has landed on her menu. Jimmy’s held a contest at Kimberly Lane Elementary School in Plymouth during which children suggested names for a pizza made with spaghetti sauce, sliced meatballs and Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. The Lotzametza name, complete with youthful spelling, came up as winner.
Leadens, family and crew will lead the parade north from Hamel Lions Park on Hunter Drive to Hamel Road. The procession will head east through downtown Hamel and then swing south on Brockton Lane to Hamel Legion Park. Roads to the parade area will be blocked an hour before start time.
The parade lineup has entertainment for youth and adults. Watch for the Zurah Shrine Funster Clown and silly cars, as well as vintage cars from the Valley Model T Club. The Trail Dusters and Minneapolis Equine Center will bring horses. Police and three fire departments — Plymouth, Hamel and Loretto — will bring vehicles and people. Community groups and businesses in the entourage will include the Hamel Lions, Hamel Athletic Club, the Hamel American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars Posts and more.
The parade committee each year selects a business to serve as grand marshal to recognize its community service. Leadens said being chosen is “pretty cool. It’s an honor. I’m excited about it.”
Carrie and Todd brought Jimmy’s to the shopping mall next to Target about seven years ago. She had wanted for a long time to operate a pizza restaurant, but she was busy working in customer service and raising son Todd and daughters Angela and Kelly. After her kids grew older, Carrie was ready to pursue her dream. The Leadens had lived in Medina and wanted to come back via the restaurant. They now live in Maple Grove.
“We love food, and pizza is America’s food,” she said.
She does very little advertising because she wants the money to contribute to the community. Wayzata High School has recognized Jimmy’s for three years in a row for supporting athletics. Jimmy’s also supports Hamel youth sports, the St. Anne’s Church youth mission trip, Hamel Rodeo, Medina Celebration Day, United Way, Camp Ihduhapi and other groups.
To support groups, Jimmy’s places their fliers on its pizza boxes free of charge. Or the restaurant might provide coupons as prizes for an Easter egg hunt. Jimmy’s has helped the St. Anne’s youth group with take-and-bake pizza sales.
“We have come a long way since we started,” Leadens said.
The reputation of Jimmy’s has spread by word of mouth to the point where the restaurant employs 23 people, some of them seasonal. Many employees, including her children, started as high schoolers and keep coming back.
“I’ve spent a lot of time getting to know my customers,” she said. “I probably know 75 percent of them. I love what I do.”
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