Anoka-Ramsey Community College has been chosen as the grand marshal for this year’s Isanti Rodeo Jubilee Days parade, which begins at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 6.
The college was nominated for the honor by the North 65 Chamber of Commerce after being recognized as one of the top 10 community colleges in the U.S. by the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.
The president and vice president of the college will march in the Jubilee Days parade along with many of the college’s faculty, including Shannon Kirkeide, the college’s dean of academic and community outreach.
“We all look forward to passing out some candy and some swag, so to speak,” Kirkeide said.
The parade kicks off Rodeo Jubilee Days, which extends through the weekend and features rodeo performances as well as a variety of other family-friendly activities.
The rodeo has been organized by the Isanti Firefighters Rodeo Association every year since 1977. Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association-sanctioned event rodeo performances will take place at 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; on Sunday, for the second year in a row, an “Xtreme Bulls” performance, featuring all bull riders, will be held at 3 p.m.
Rodeo chairman Tom Pagel has been helping organize the rodeo since 1977. He mentioned a couple of small improvements have been made to the rodeo grounds for this year’s events, including some additional seating and moving the announcing system.
There are 71 bull riders and 124 barrel racers registered for the rodeo this year.
“We’ve got more contestants entered than we’ve ever had before,” Pagel said.
Current world champion Sage Kimzey is coming to the rodeo, as well as Joe Frost, second cousin of Lane Frost, a famous bull rider from the 1980s who died when a bull gored him after his ride.
“This year we’ve even got more of the top world contenders coming,” Pagel said.
Pagel said one reason top rodeo cowboys are attracted to the Isanti rodeo is the quality of the stock they are able to ride on.
“They love our stock contractor,” Pagel said. The stock contractor provides the bulls to be used for the rodeo, as well as other services. The Isanti Firefighters Rodeo Association switched the stock contractor it uses for the rodeo starting with last year’s rodeo.
Another reason top rodeo talent come for the Isanti Rodeo is it takes place the same weekend as a few other rodeo events in Minnesota and Wisconsin, which allows the riders to hit a few competitions in one weekend with not too much travel.
Pagel pointed out all of the revenue generated by the rodeo stays in the community through the Isanti Fire District.
“I think every piece of equipment in the fire station, all three of them, have rodeo proceeds invested,” Pagel said.
Each day of the rodeo will also bring with it a number of other rodeo and Jubilee Days events, including goat tying at 5:30 p.m. and mutton busting at 6 p.m., as well as dances with live music after the rodeo performances beginning at 9 p.m.
In addition to the rodeo performances, there will be many other fun things to see and do in Isanti throughout the weekend.
Activities on parade day, July 6, will begin in the afternoon with a pie and ice cream social from 4-10 p.m. at Faith Lutheran Church. Starting at 4:30 p.m., there will be food vendors along the parade route and DJ entertainment provided by KBEK’s Happy Trucker. Prior to the start of the parade there will be a flyover by the T-6 Thunder, sponsored by Strike Funeral Homes. The parade will begin at 6:30 p.m. After the parade there will be live music from Soulistics at 9 p.m. at the Isanti VFW. From 7-10 p.m. Wintergreen’s will have beer tasting, games by Gameworld and a fire.
This year the parade is set to include high school marching bands as well as River City Rhythm, Cracker Jacks Drum Corps, Zuhrah Shriners and more. North 65 Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Melissa Bettendorf said she loves to see the variety of floats in the parade, which usually averages 130 to 150 floats.
“Everyone does a really neat job with their floats,” Bettendorf said. “They come back year after year, but they surprise us every time.”
Jubilee Days chairman Dave Englund has been helping organize the celebration for over a decade and said he values the parade as a community tradition.
“It’ll be interesting,” Englund said. “Every year’s different.”
Jubilee Days activities will continue Friday, July 7, with Members Cooperative Credit Union’s Summer Celebration starting at 10 a.m. and featuring vendors, classic cars and games, as well as a barbecue lunch at 11 a.m.
This year there is again a junior division for the outhouse races, for which participants between the ages of 12 and 16 are allowed to compete. The 28th annual Outhouse Races will be held at 2 p.m. July 8 on Main Street.
Bettendorf and Englund said teams are still being accepted for the Outhouse Races. Team registration is $50 in advance and $65 the day of the race. Teams can register online at the North 65 Chamber of Commerce’s website.
At 6:30 p.m. Friday, July 7, there will be the first Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association sanctioned rodeo performance of the weekend at the rodeo grounds. The performance will be preceded by goat tying and mutton busting at 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. and followed by a dance at the rodeo grounds with live music from Bad Jack. The Isanti VFW will also feature live music in the evening courtesy of Shotgun Drama Junkies, at 9 p.m.
Saturday, July 8, will bring a bevy of activities to the community, stretching from the 5-mile and 2-mile Fitness Run-Walk at 8 a.m. sponsored by Snap Fitness to the 8 p.m. Hockey Association bingo at Wintergreen’s and live music by Stranded at the Isanti VFW at 9 p.m.
Other Saturday activities will include the kiddie parade at 11 a.m., turtle races at 1 p.m. sponsored by the Isanti Lions, the 28th annual outhouse races at 2 p.m. and another PRCA sanctioned rodeo performance at 6:30 p.m. Also, Free Kids Day activities – including games, face painting, anobstacle course, pony rides, petting zoo and more – will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in downtown Isanti.
New for Kids Day, there will be a Cub Scout group bringing in an inflatable archery range, Bettendorf said.
For the second year in a row, the Isanti Firefighters Rodeo Association have booked an Xtreme Bulls event for the final day of the Jubilee, Sunday, July 9. The Xtreme Bulls performance will take place at 3 p.m., preceded by Bad Jack at the rodeo grounds.
The 2017 Isanti Ambassador Coronation Ceremony will take place at 6 p.m. July 9 at Isanti Middle School. Admission is $10, $5 for children under 12 and free for children under 3.
Tickets to the rodeo performances are $15 at the gate for adults ($13 in advance), and $10 for children 12 and under at the gate ($8 in advance). Children 3 and under are admitted free. Tickets for the rodeo are available online at isantifiredistrict.org.