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Home of the rodeo, Humungous Fungus

August 21, 2014
Justin Marietti - Journal Staff Writer ( , Mining Journal

he Upper Peninsula Rodeo's website,, states that in 1969, Senator Joe Mack introduced a senate concurrent resolution proclaiming Iron River the "Rodeo Capital of the U.P."

Back then, the U.P. Rodeo was in its early stages of development. But 45 years later, Mack's words still hold true.

"It's a huge attraction," said Morgan Eagloski, office management assistant at the Iron River Chamber of Commerce. "They have a wide variety of events not only for older people, but younger people as well."

Article Photos

Pictured is the Chicaugon Falls in Iron County in a June 2012 photo. (Photo courtesy of Beth Reinke)

The event's popularity has remained strong throughout nearly five decades. It takes place at the Iron County Fairgrounds, and dates for the rodeo vary from year to year.

"Last week, they said they were still deciding on dates and all the details for next year's event," she said. "They plan to have a huge one next year though."

In addition to the rodeo, there is a great deal of other attractions that tourists and locals alike can enjoy in the Iron County area.

Fact Box

Trip log:

Destination: Iron?River

Mileage: Marquette to Iron River,

88 miles

Did you know: Iron River is the

combined population of the City of Iron

River, the former Stambaugh and Mineral

Hills communities

Trip Highlight: Crystal Falls hosts the

Humungous Fungus fest, celebrating the

world's largest-known fungus which

covers 38 acres in Iron County

For more information: Visit or

One of the most popular local events happens Saturday night when the second of the bi-annual demolition derbys hits the fairgrounds rotunda.

The Iron County Fair will be held Aug. 28-31 this year, and Eagloski said that the event is typically a very big draw.

"There are a lot of options for people there," she said. "They have barns with different crafters and garden displays, and you can participate in competitions. They also have all the rides and then they usually hold a dance."

Another popular event, the Fall Rummage Sale Fundraiser Days, will be held Sept. 5-6 at the Iron County Museum.

"Basically, people can set up booths in the area and there is a rummage sale list when they do this event which can be picked up at the WIKB (radio station) building," Eagloski said.

The third annual Apple Festival and Flea Market is set for Sept. 27 at Beechwood Hall in Iron River.

Another common attraction in Iron County is its campgrounds, of which Eagloski said there are a number to choose from. The Chamber of Commerce there is actually located at the Klint Safford Memorial RV Park (formerly the Iron River RV Park).

"We do really well, especially around the rodeo and 4th of July," she said. "We're always booked solid. We also have lots of Chamber concerts here, so that's another attraction."

The city has also taken note of the recent popularity surrounding disc golf, and visitors have traveled from all over the U.P. to play at the Tailings Disc Golf Course in Iron River.

Iron County also offers three golf courses. Iron River is home to the Iron River Country Club, George Young Golf Course is only 10 miles from town and located on Chicagoan Lake, and Crystal Falls boasts the Crystal View Golf Course.

Another big county-wide draw is the annual Humungous Fungus Fest in Crystal Falls. The town is the home to what is believed to be the world's largest and oldest living organism. The fungus covers 38 acres beneath the ground and is believed to be between 1,500 and 10,000 years old and would weigh as much as an adult blue whale, an astounding 100 tons. The city celebrates the fungus - armillaria bulbosa - during the fest.

Crystal Falls also hosts the Bass Festival, which includes the popular "Run Your Bass Off" road race, the Summer Fest and Fortune Fest.

Campers can also find plenty of options in campgrounds that range from Iron River's RV park, a downtown capground that offers all the ammenities, to backwoods primitive sites that cover the county. Some of the more popular are Bewabic State Park on Fortune Lake between Iron River and Crystal Falls, Pentoga Park on Chicagoan Lake 12 miles east of Iron River and Paint River Forks Campground which is situation along the Paint River, one of the area's best trout fishing waters.

For more information on Iron River, visit its website at



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