Isanti native Tony Nelson can add another prestige memory to his block-buster 2013 year: Grand Marshal of this year’s Isanti Rodeo Jubilee Days parade.
This year’s parade will be held Thursday, July 11 at 6:30 p.m. Food vendors will be lined up along the parade route beginning at 3 p.m.
Back in March, Nelson became only the second University of Minnesota heavyweight wrestler to win back-to-back NCAA national championships when he ran the brackets in Des Moines, Iowa. He capped off a 33-1 redshirt junior season by defeating Northwestern’s Michael McMullan 6-2 in the championship.
“I’m excited to come back home for the parade. I was a little surprised when I got to the call to ask if I was willing to be the Grand Marshall, but it will be an honor,” Nelson said in a July 1 phone interview.
This summer, Nelson is busy working as a counselor at the elite J. Robinson Wrestling Camp hosted at the U and run by his Gopher head coach. He also is working the weights hard and getting in wrestling workouts to further prepare for a third NCAA title this coming season.
“We have a good wrestling squad falling into place for the Gophers. It should be another fun year,” he said.
Nelson admitted he has never made it to an Isanti Rodeo performance, but he added this could be a good year to take in a show. After the wrestling camp sessions finish in early August, he has plans to join a few fellow Gophers for an end-of-summer trip to the Caribbean to relax before school starts once again.
Parade Organizer Brian Strike said the parade will feature more than 150 different entries representing a wide variety of organizations and businesses.
Some of the nearly 20 visiting royalty/ambassadors include the St. Paul Klondike Kates singing float and Minneapolis Aquatennial; Kracker Jacks Drum Line; Zuhrah Flyers; Cobra Corp; Steel Drum Band and Chanters; two marching bands; Tom’s Mechanical Music; many fire departments led by the Isanti Fire Department and many other community organizations.
Strike noted there will be several food vendors along the parade route beginning at 3 p.m. and Angie Senger will perform at 4:30 p.m. at First and Main streets.
“The strong business support and help from city of Isanti and the dedication of many volunteers makes this Isanti Chamber of Commerce event possible,” Strike said. “We would like to thank all of them for their support.”