t’s all about cowboys and horses and Wild West action and fun for all ages when the 48th annual U.P. Championship Rodeo takes place here Friday and Saturday, July 17 and 18.
Three rodeo performances will put the cowboys to the test: at 7 p.m. Friday and at 2 and 7 p.m. on Saturday.
It takes place at the Iron County Fairgrounds in Iron River. The main entrance is on Seventh Avenue, several blocks north of U.S. 2.
In addition, many other events are taking place all over the area. The schedule promises two jam-packed days throughout the Iron River area.
Friday, July 17
The big daytime event on Friday is Rodeo Market Daze in downtown Iron River. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., area merchants and vendors will be manning booths, selling a large variety of items. Food vendors will be on hand with refreshments and treats on a (hopefully) sunny July day.
The West Iron District Library on Genesee Street will be busy with a book sale, a bake sale and a western photo shoot from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Judging for the Miss U.P. Rodeo contest also starts on Friday. Contestants will be judged on their horsemanship at 8 a.m. at the rodeo arena. At 11 a.m., while visiting Market Daze downtown, they will be judged on modeling and answering impromptu and extemporaneous questions. When the queen contestants aren’t on stage, local musicians will be playing.
Meanwhile, up at the rodeo arena, the cowboys will be preparing for their first rodeo performance. The arena gates open at 5 p.m., and the performance starts at 7.
Regular tickets to all three performances are $15 for adults and $5 for children. But the first performance is Friday Night Rodeo Fever, with a “two for $20” coupon special. The coupons are available at area sponsors and businesses.
Rodeo events include saddle and bareback bronc riding, steer wrestling, calf roping, team roping, cowgirl barrel racing and, capping action-packed evening, bull riding.
And that’s not all. The rodeo also includes specialty acts, and the rodeo clowns will be tickling your funny bone all evening.
Kids are invited to try their skills at “mutton bustin’” (riding a lamb) and join in a wild calf scramble (trying to snatch money from the calf’s tail) during all three rodeo performances.
Friday night’s rodeo ends with Stompin and Rompin’ in the rodeo arena, featuring entertainment and live music.
Saturday, July 18
Fuel up for a busy Saturday at the Chuckwagon Breakfast, taking place at the Post 21 American Legion Hall on Washington Avenue, at the top of Stambaugh Hill. The chuckwagon will be open from 7 to 11 a.m.
If pancakes are more your taste, the Iron River Senior Center on Fourth Avenue will be serving flapjacks starting at 8:30.
At 8 a.m., the Windsor Center Rodeo Run starts on Cayuga Street, behind the former school building on U.S. 2. Competition includes 10K and 5K runs plus a 2-mile run/walk.
Windsor Center is also the site of the Art Round-Up, featuring artists and crafters from a wide region. It begins at 9 a.m. and continues to 3 p.m. Spaces are available both on the front lawn and indoors. Find out more about both events at www.windsorcenter.org.
At 10 a.m., it’s time to find a good place along the route of the Wild West Parade, which is hosted by Global Response North. The route is as follows: south on Fourth Avenue to Adams Street (U.S. 2); east on Adams to River Avenue; south on River one block to Genesee Street; and west on Genesee to Seventh Avenue.
It is the biggest parade of the year in Iron County, not to be missed if you love horses—there are many riding units, cowboys, cowgirls and horse-drawn wagons of all types. Businesses and organizations from throughout the region take part in the parade each year, along with 4-H groups, youth groups and riding groups.
Getting hungry? How about some brats? Two brat feeds take place right after the Wild West Parade: at Angeli Foods (sponsored by Friends of the Library) and at VFW Post 3134, where there will also be a show by the Classic Farm Machinery group. Both brat feeds start at 10:30 a.m.
The rodeo arena gates open at noon for the second rodeo performance, which begins at 2 p.m. The afternoon performance is Kids Day, with all kids 12 and under admitted free with an adult.
It’s a full rodeo performance, with the same events, broncs, bulls, horses, clowns, specialty acts along with mutton bustin’ and the calf scramble.
The final rodeo perfor-
mance is Saturday evening. Gates to the arena open at 5 p.m. The judges will have decided the winner of the Miss U.P. Rodeo contest, and she will be crowned at 6.
The Saturday night show starts at 7, and it is Tough Enough to Wear Pink Night, featuring plenty of pink to promote breast cancer awareness.
Once the show is over, the cowboys pack up and head out to the next event on the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association circuit.
“This year’s U.P. Championship Rodeo is presented by Aspirus and brought to you by Angeli Foods and Potawatomi Carter Casino-Hotel.”