MANITOWANING—The anticipation is mounting in Manitowaning, and across Manitoulin, as the Manitoulin Rodeo will soon roll into town, bringing with it professional cowboys and cowgirls, bucking broncs and brave souls on bulls.
“Things are really coming together and I am so excited it’s almost here,” said an enthusiastic Kayla Jansen, Manitoulin Rodeo committee chair. “Fingers crossed for a weekend of great weather.” The rodeo is set for Friday, June 21 through Sunday, June 23.
Last week, the crew of Randy Noble Construction broke ground on the ring, which will be located at the centre of the Manitowaning fairgrounds track and will be the new home of the annual event. The A-Bar-K Rodeo, the group bringing the event to Manitoulin, is not new to the Island, having been hosted by the Wikwemikong Agricultural Committee for a number of years with much success.
“I’ve heard the competitors are really looking forward to coming to Manitoulin,” Ms. Jansen shared.
While the majority of cowboys and cowgirls will be travelling to Manitoulin to take part in this event, there is also the chance for Islanders to get involved in the rodeo itself as well as in the Friday night truck pull.
The event will begin at 4 pm on Friday, June 21 with a contest between horses and horsepower. The rodeo committee is looking for Islanders to enter their trucks (heavy and lightweight classes) into a truck pull to see which truck reigns supreme on Manitoulin. Following the truck pull will be a horse pull, which will determine what is more powerful—machine or beast. Prizes will be awarded to winners in both categories. To register your truck or horse team, please contact Greg Pyette at 705-368-0217.
Those brave enough (and strong enough) can also enter the main rodeo event, even bull riding! For more information on how to enter, please contact Ms. Jansen at 705-368-6032 or check out the rodeo Facebook page by searching Manitoulin Rodeo in the Facebook search bar. (For those who aren’t so courageous but are still looking for a little adventure, why not try the mechanical bull that will be looking for riders all weekend long with prizes too?)
“We’re also looking for local bands to take part in a jam session on Friday night,” Ms. Jansen said, putting out a call for Island talent. Bands looking to get involved can also call Ms. Jansen.
While enjoying the talents of Manitoulin Island following the truck and horse pulls, rodeo attendees can also enjoy the beer garden, which will be open all weekend long with the proceeds shared between the rodeo committee and the Southeast Manitoulin Lions Club.
Gates open at 8 am on Saturday, June 22 with the Honora Bay Riding Stables vaulting team taking to the rink at 9 am for a demonstration of skills. From 10 am to 1 pm, the Manitoulin Horse Club will be putting on a horse show, complete with barrel racing, pole bending and speed events. As an added bonus, those taking part in the horse show events will have the opportunity to have pictures taken by a professional photographer as a keepsake from the inaugural event.
The Manitoulin 4-H Club will also be at the show with a petting zoo for the whole family. Pony rides will be offered throughout the weekend for only $5. Proceeds go to the Honora Bay Riding Stables vaulting team.
The main event, the A-Bar-K Rodeo, hits the ring at 2 pm with all the excitement of bull riding, steer riding, calf roping, steer wrestling, bare bronc, saddle bronc and tie down roping. Following the rodeo, at approximately 4 pm, the stars of the show will be available for autographs for their Manitoulin fans.
There will then be a break to go home, brush off the dust of the day and don your best bib and tucker before coming back to the Manitowaning arena for a genuine country ball with Midnight Blue taking the stage at 9 pm.
After a night on the town, wrangle yourself out of bed and head back to the ring for 9 am Sunday morning, June 23, for another great demonstration from the Honora Bay Riding Stables vaulting team at 9 am. The hour between 10 and 11 am is slack time for the rodeo when the horses and their riders warm up, so stick around and see how it’s done.
Children have one-and-a-half weeks to get creative and build a stick horse to bring to the rodeo Sunday and be their own star of the ring. Create a hobbyhorse at home, bring it to the rodeo and participate in speed events. Bicycles more your thing? A children’s bicycle barrel racing event will also be held. Children must pay an entry fee of $1 for each event with prizes to be won.
At 1 pm the rodeo is back with another afternoon full of exciting events.
“We have a lot of great vendors, so please come out and support them,” Ms. Jansen urged, noting that anyone looking for tack will be pleased to learn that Lonson’s Saddlery of Chesley, Ontario’s foremost tack shop, will be bringing 100 saddles plus plenty of tack and equipment to the rodeo to sell.
“It’s been a lot of hard work, but it’s all starting to fall into place,” Ms. Jansen added.
Tickets are $30 for a weekend pass and are available at The Expositor, Boarderline, Highway 6 Service Centre and 100.7 FM The Island in Little Current, Bridal Veil Esso in Kagawong; North Channel Financial in Mindemoya or by purchasing online at www.manitoulinrodeo.org or for $20 a day at the gate. And for all those who purchase advanced tickets, your name will be entered into a door prize with the winning ticket to be announced at the dance so get them while they’re hot!
“Buy tickets!” Ms. Jansen implored. “And please bring a lawn chair!”