Manitoulin Rodeo back in the saddle this month

MANITOWANING—Yee haw! It’s almost time for the second annual Manitoulin Rodeo, taking place at the Manitowaning Fairgrounds from Saturday, June 28 to Sunday, June 29.

“I am eating, sleeping and drinking rodeo!” an enthusiastic Manitoulin Rodeo coordinator, Kyla Jansen, told The Expositor during a Monday interview. “It’s looking really good.”

Ms. Jansen said that while all the little details leading up to such an event can get slightly overwhelming, the committee has pulled together to create a world class event.

“And the Weather Network is calling for great weather, and while I don’t always believe them, we’ll go with that,” she laughed.

The Manitoulin Rodeo begins on Saturday, June 28 with the Manitoulin Horse Club competition horse show at 9 am. This will feature largely local riders, but Ms. Jansen noted that cowboys and cowgirls who have heard of Manitoulin’s stiff competition are making their way to Manitowaning to also compete for cash prizes against the Island’s best riders. Pony rides for the children as well as local craft, tack, equipment and food vendors will also be available, starting at 9 am.

The beer gardens, hosted by the South East Manitoulin Lions Club, open at 1 pm followed by the main event: the New Holland Elite Rodeo. This is your chance to see calf roping, bronc riding, bull riding and all your other favourite rodeo events that are sure to put audience members on the edge of their seats.

At 4 pm, following the wild ride, the cowboys and cowgirls of the rodeo will be on hand to sign autographs.

The horse pull begins at 5 pm followed by the red neck truck pull sponsored by TC Auto and Marine. Ms. Jansen explained that this event features a modified category, a stock category with 3/4-ton, one-ton and half-ton classes and an ‘anything that pulls’ category (that can include tractors, ATVs or anything you have faith in!). “It’s similar to a horse pull in that everyone pulls,” Ms. Jansen explained. TC Auto and Marine has graciously offered the cash prizes for this new and fun event.

The dance, with music by DJ Deana Smith, will give cowboys and cowgirls an opportunity to mingle, and have a little fun too, as the opportunity to flex a little muscle will be given through the hay bale toss and roping competition.

On Sunday, June 29, the fun begins again at 9 am when the gates open for the day. Back by popular demand, the children’s rodeo begins at 10 am with so many ways for children to get involved in the spirit of the rodeo with a make your own hobby horse session followed by hobby horse pole bending, a hay bale relay race, sack race, bean bag toss relay race, hobby horse trail class and saddle up relay race where each team member has to place the saddle pad, saddle and bridle on the “horse” (a sawhorse), place a cowboy hat on their head and head back to the next person in line while racing against the opposing team. Kids can also try their hand at bicycle barrel racing and needle in a haystack, where loonies, both real and chocolate, are buried in a haystack.

At 1 pm, the stars of the rodeo take centre ring again with the hopes of taking hope the top prize.

This event, which celebrates Manitoulin’s rich agricultural roots, needs your support! Advanced tickets can be purchased at Island business across Manitoulin, including Loco Beanz and Big Rock Pizza in Little Current, Honora Bay Riding Stable and Kyla Jansen, Cedar Chalet in Manitowaning or from any member of the Manitoulin Rodeo committee, including Sylvia Moggy and Sarah Hutchinson.