Rodeo days in Iron River

IRON RIVER – Thrilling competitions, a foot-stompin’ street dance, and the annual rodeo queen pageant are just some of the exciting events on the schedule for the 47th Annual Upper Peninsula Championship Rodeo in Iron River this weekend.

Festivities begin Friday with “rodeo market daze” from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Iron County Fairgrounds.

During the same time period, the West Iron District Library on Genesee Street will host a used book sale and bake sale, complete with coffee from the Bearded Apple.

The Miss U.P. Rodeo Queen pageant will kick off at 11:30 a.m. at the fairgrounds with the extemporaneous questions competition. Competitions in speeches and modeling will follow at 2 p.m.

From 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., everyone is invited to the fairgrounds for Family Fun Night. There will be kids’ games and live music from Lovin’ Country and special guest Ginny Benson. Admission is $1, except for children age two and under, who enter free.

On Saturday, the Windsor Rodeo Run starts at 8 a.m. at the Windsor Center on U.S. 2. Late registration is available from 7 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. Courses include a 10K run, 5K run, and a two mile run/fun walk.

Also at 8 a.m., the horsemanship competition of the Miss U.P. Rodeo Queen pageant will take place at the fairgrounds, and registration for the Wild West Parade will take place at the corner of Franklin Street and Fourth Avenue.

The Iron River Senior Center will offer a pancake breakfast from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Windsor Center will hold the annual art round-up in the gymnasium and on the lawn.

The Wild West Parade will step off at 10 a.m. in downtown Iron River. Nap Sharkey, who participated in the very first rodeo parade in 1968, will serve as the parade’s grand marshal. Iron River residents Ed and Sylvia Lindwall will serve as parade marshals.

Immediately following the parade, the United Methodist Church will hold a barbeque with hot dogs and homemade pies. Food will be available until 3 p.m.

Beginning at 11 a.m. food will also be available at the brat feeds at Angeli Foods and the VFW Post 3134.

Arena gates open for the first rodeo performance at noon. Events begin at 2 p.m.

Cowboys and cowgirls from across the Midwest will try their hands at events like bull riding, steer wrestling, and barrel racing.

Also performing will be rodeo clown David “Danger Dave” Whitmoyer. He has been fighting bulls for seven years and acting as a rodeo entertainer for five years. Earlier this year, he was granted membership into the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.

Fans can meet Danger Dave in the arena after each rodeo performance, when he will be available for photos and autographs.

Arena gates will re-open for the second rodeo performance at 5 p.m. Events will begin at 7 p.m.

Saturday activities will close out with a bang with a street dance in downtown Iron River next to the VFW Post 3134 beginning at 9 p.m.

On Sunday, arena gates will open for the final rodeo performance at noon.

Current Miss U.P. Rodeo Queen Brooke Granquist of Powers will crown her successor at 1:30 p.m. Queen candidates include Clara Churchill of Gwinn, Allison Dagenais of Gladstone, Georgie Dohl of Iron River, and Emily Samppala of Marquette.

Rodeo events will follow the crowning at 2 p.m.

Tickets to the rodeo performances are available at the gate. They cost $15 for adults, $5 for children age three to 12, and are free for children age two and under.