Scattered throughout the Minnesota State Fair are more than enough sports-themed attractions to keep fans busy while others are distracted by all the food.
On Monday, the Star Tribune and beat writer Michael Russo hosted new Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau for a Q&A. The Gophers athletic department and some of its top athletes and coaches visit the fair each year for quality fan interaction.
Here is our guide for sports fans looking for entertainment while others eat or needing a break in-between snacks:
Most of Twin Cities sports scene is represented under one roof at Fan Central. The Timberwolves, Wild, Lynx, Saints, United FC, Minnesota Vixen, Minnesota RollerGirls and Running Aces are all represented here and feature appearances by players and coaches. Wolves new center Cole Aldrich stopped by Fan Central earlier this week along with mascot Crunch and the Wolves dancers. Fan can also purchase team apparel here. This attraction located on the west side of Underwood Street between Dan Patch and Carnes Avenues is a must-visit for avid sports fans.
The University of Minnesota building
This attraction is about much more than sports, but also hosts all the university’s athletic programs over a three-day span each year. The annual visit from the athletic department includes some of the top athletes and coaches, the trophies earned last season, and Goldy Gopher. Fans can also purchase tickets to upcoming sports events at this location on the south side of Dan Patch Avenue, between Underwood and Cooper Streets.
Gophers athletics remaining appearances:
Tuesday, Aug. 30
12:00 p.m. - Men's Track & Field/Cross Country
12:30 p.m. - Women's Basketball
1:00 p.m. - Men's Gymnastics
1:30 p.m. - Goldy Gopher
2:00 p.m. - Women's Hockey National Championship Trophy
2:30 p.m. - Women's Gymnastics
3:00 p.m. - Men's Basketball
3:30 p.m. - Athletic Director Mark Coyle
Wednesday, Aug. 31
12:00 p.m. - Men's Tennis
12:30 p.m. - Women's Tennis
1:00 p.m. - Women's Golf
1:30 p.m. - Women's Track & Field/Cross Country
2:00 p.m. - Men's Golf
2:30 p.m. - Men's Hockey
3:00 p.m. - Swimming & Diving
3:30 p.m. - Wrestling
Vikings and Twins Booths
The Vikings and Twins offer similar attractions that can be found at Fan Central, but are located outside of the sports hotspot. The Vikings booth is on the west side of Underwood Street between Dan Patch and Carnes Avenues. The Twins booth is located on the south end of Cooper Street at Judson Avenue.
Bulls & Barrels Championship
See the Midwest’s top bull riders and barrel racers in one competition. The State Fair describes it as the “most heart-pounding eight second in sports” vying for thousands of dollars in prize money. The event also features 12 of the region’s premier horse and rider combos racing through “the cloverleaf barrel pattern in a race against the clock.” The event is located in the Lee & Rose Warner Coliseum at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Sept. 5 and it is free.
Timberworks Lumberjack Show
A different kind of athlete is on display in this fun show that runs daily at noon, 3 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. The Timberworks Lumberjack Show is a decathlon of timber events – single buck sawing, obstacle pole, logrolling, hot saw, speed climbing, the axe throw – designed to challenge “world-class forest sports athletes.” This is a must-see, located at The North Woods on the east side of Cooper Street between Lee and Randal Avenues.
The X-Zone is where the “talented 3rd Lair SkatePark athletes demonstrate their gravity-defying skills” on BMX bikes and skateboards. The extreme athletes are on display each day of the State Fair with the 2016 Summer Series Championship held Aug. 29-Sept. 1. The X-Zone is located on the northwest corner of Murphy Avenue and Underwood Street.
The 12-day Minnesota State Fair Horse show is a multi-breed event consisting of “performance, pleasure, stock and draft horses, a cutting horse competition, bull riding and polo matches.” Most of the events are held in the Lee & Rose Warner Coliseum.