SANDS - The annual Great Lakes Rodeo, held this weekend at the Marquette County Fairgrounds, is expected to be its most successful year to date, with more presale tickets sold than ever before and an expected attendance around 3,000 people.
"It's our eighth annual (rodeo), always held Father's Day weekend, and we anticipate this being our best attendance yet," said Jesie Melchiori of Marquette, the Great Lakes Rodeo director. "We have all sorts of fun events ... (and) the main goal of the Great Lakes Rodeo is to raise money for youth development in Marquette."
The Great Lakes Rodeo started when its founding group wanted to experience the rodeos but didn't want to travel so far to do so, Melchiori said. From that original idea they started the Sawyer Stampede, which quickly outgrew the Sawyer facilities hosting it. Three years after its inception, the Great Lakes Rodeo moved to the Marquette County Fairgrounds, where it has continued to grow in attendance and popularity.
Bottom:?Derek Gauthier hangs on tight as his bull bucks him during the bull riding event of the Great Lakes Rodeo at the Marquette County Fairgrounds in Sands Township Saturday. Top left: Shaun Gagney is bucked from his bronco during the Bareback Riding event of the rodeo. Bareback riding is considered by many to be a classic rodeo event. Disqualification results if the rider touches anything with his free hand, if either foot slips from the stirrup, or if he fails to have his feet in proper position at the beginning of the ride. Top right:?Miss U.P. Rodeo Ishia Lustela of Iron River does a lap around the arena with the American flag at the start of the rodeo on Saturday. Events continue with speed competitions and a second rodeo competition today. (Journal photos by Zach Jay)
This year, for the first time, the rodeo is offering a promotion in honor of Father's Day. Any father who comes to the rodeo with his family gets in free.
The rodeo wraps up today.
Zach Jay can be reached at 906-228-2500. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.