The Hamel Rodeo and Bull Ridin’ Bonanza has been a fixture in the small unincorporated town for more than three decades, and over the years, it has grown to be Minnesota’s largest rodeo, according to event organizers.
More than 17,000 people are expected to attend this year, and contestants will take home approximately $120,000 for their efforts. The four-day event is put on by a coalition of five local community organizations — the Hamel Volunteer Fire Department, the Hamel Lions Club, the Hamel Athletic Club, the Heinzen-Ditter VFW Post, and John Pohlker American Legion Post 394 — and they all split the proceeds equally.
It all kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Corcoran Lions Park, and every night after the rodeo a dance under the stars will be held at Inn Kahoots. Admission to the dance is free with a paid ticket to the rodeo.
Saturday is Family Day, which will feature an additional 1 p.m. matinee with discounted tickets, and stick horse races and a calf scramble for all kids 10 and under. Also, free pony rides will be available to children for 90 minutes before every rodeo all weekend long.
Festivities will continue Sunday when the Hamel Lions Flea Market begins at daylight, a rodeo brunch runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Medina Ballroom and a parade down Main Street in Hamel begins at 2 p.m.
Advance tickets are available at Farmers State Bank of Hamel, Pleasant Hills Saddle Shop, Inn Kahoots and the Medina Ballroom, or online at www.hamelrodeo.org.