MARQUETTE - The Great Lakes Rodeo is set for Friday through Sunday at the Marquette County Fairgrounds in Sands Township.
Launched in 2006 as the Sawyer Stampede, the rodeo has grown to an event that draws about 2,500 spectators annually.
The rodeo begins with horseman skill competition at 5 p.m. Friday. Activities continue with jackpot team penning competition at 11 a.m. Saturday, and a rodeo performance at 6 p.m. There's a barn dance at 9 p.m. Saturday featuring music by Trailer Hitch.
Rodeo bull rider Zack Griggs distracts the bull away from rider Derek Gauthier who had just fallen to the ground during the bull riding competition at the 2011 Great Lake Rodeo in Sands Township. This year’s rodeo runs Friday through Sunday at the Marquette County Fairgrounds. (Journal file photo by Adelle Whitefoot)
Events begin at 9 a.m. Sunday with jackpot speed events and a rodeo performance at 2 p.m., during which spectators are encouraged to wear pink in support of breast cancer awareness.
It is during the Sunday performance that the rodeo queen and her court are crowned.
Performers appearing at the rodeo this year include Rob Smets, also known as the "Kamikaze Kid," who has spent nearly 30 years in the arena protecting cowboys from the bulls as a bullfighter; Sheppy the Rodeo Clown from Liberty, Iowa, who entertains audiences at rodeos all over the Midwest; and The Rodeo City Riders out of Manawa, Wis., a saddle club that travels throughout Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula performing at rodeos and riding in parades.
Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 at the gate for persons 13 years old and older; and $5 in advance or $6 at the gate for kids 6 to 12 years old. A weekend pass is $20 for 13 and older and $10 for ages 6 to 12.
Tickets are available in advance from the Animal Medical Center of Marquette, the Lake Superior Community Partnership office in Marquette and the Ishpeming-Negaunee Chamber of Commerce office in Ishpeming.
Funds raised during the Great Lakes Rodeo are used to fund grants for youth programs in Marquette County. To date, the Great Lakes Rodeo has given more than $13,000 to youth programs in the county.