MARQUETTE - An even bigger event is planned for the Great Lakes Rodeo this year.
"Things are coming together really well and we're excited," said Jesie Melchori, Great Lakes Rodeo director. "There are many new changes and we're going to have a bigger and better rodeo than ever, which will give us the opportunity to donate even more back to the youth of our community."
The Great Lakes Rodeo is set for Saturday and Sunday at the Marquette County Fairgrounds, which are located off M-553 about two miles south of the County Road 480 intersection in Sands Township.
Today serves as a preview for the rest of the weekend's events, Melchori said.
"People can come today to check it out for free," she said.
There is a horsemanskill competition that begins at 5 p.m. and will last several hours.
Advance tickets for Saturday or Sunday are $10 for each day for those 13 and older or $5 for those ages 6-12 years old. Advance tickets are available until the close of business today from the Lake Superior Partnership office in Marquette, the Greater Ishpeming-Negaunee Area Chamber of Commerce office in Ishpeming, AM Express in Escanaba and from any of the rodeo royalty contestants.
The day of the events, tickets for adults are $12 and for children are $6. Or for both days, tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children.
Something special this year is on Sunday, which is Father's Day, when a family accompanies dad, he gets free admission to the event.
Also, attendees on Sunday are encouraged to be "Tough Enough to Wear Pink" in support of breast cancer awareness.
All funds raised will be donated to youth development efforts in Marquette County.
Six young women are competing for the title of 2013 Great Lakes Rodeo Queen. They are Clara Churchill of Negaunee, Hannah Livingston of Gwinn, Sarah Penkivech of Gaastra, Becca Wells of Eben Junction, Brittany Vickstrom of Champion and Amanda Palecek of Hinckley, Ohio.
In the running for the title of 2013 Great Lakes Rodeo Princess are Cheyenne Meier of Gwinn, Hannah Peterson of Marquette, Karley Prater of Rock, Gabrielle Wyckoff of Escanaba, Fahren Kolpack of Ontonagon, Rebecca Havelka of Wallace, Mara Heino of Negaunee and Amanda Freele of Menominee.
Competing for the 2013 Great Lakes Rodeo Lil Miss title will be Dixie Meier of Gwinn, Keira Heino of Negaunee, Marissa Strohm of Skandia, Lily Simula of Champion, Morgan Oja of Republic, Karsyn Willour of Gladstone and Samantha Finch of Negaunee.
The queens will be crowned Sunday during intermission.
The Great Lakes Rodeo began as the Sawyer Stampede in 2006 and has evolved into an event that draws about 2,500 people each June.
Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253.