MARQUETTE - The Great Lakes Rodeo got off to a flying start Friday evening, and continues throughout the weekend at the Marquette County Fairgrounds in Sands Township.
The Great Lakes Rodeo is a non-profit organization that started seven years ago and was originally created to help fiance a local recreation center. Today, it serves as a way to raise funds for youth development in the area through grants and scholarships, said Jesie Melchiori, president of organization.
"The youth has to apply for the money, so they have to write up a grant and fill out an application," Melchiori said.
Great Lakes Rodeo princess candidate Carly Fure completes her pattern for the Horsemenship Competition on Friday at the Marquette County Fairgrounds in Sands Township. (Journal photos by Adelle Whitefoot)
Over the last six years, the organization has given more than $13,000 to youth programs in Marquette, Melchiori said.
Included among recipients have been North Star Academy, The Posse and Evergreen Acres 4-H clubs, Salvation Army Recreational Center and many more.
Not only is the money raised beneficial for youths, but Melchiori said she believes the rodeo events provide a good learning experience for them as well.
"I think it's good for them to see other events out in the community," Melchiori said. "So I think it's good for them to support things like that."
Gates open at 9 a.m. today with the Jackpot Team Penning starting at 11 a.m. The first rodeo performances starts at 6 p.m., followed by a barn dance with Trailer Hitch at 9 p.m.
Events also kick off at 9 a.m. Sunday with the Jackpot Speed events, Cowboy Church at 10 a.m. and the second rodeo performances starting at 2 p.m. Sunday has been designated as "Tough Enough to Wear Pink" day, and everyone is encouraged to wear pink the performance in support of breast cancer awareness.
For more information on events and applying for grants, visit www.greatlakesrodeo.com.
Adelle Whitefoot can be reached at 906-228-2500. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.