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Giddyup for some first-class rodeo action, an exciting parade, enriching fun-filled kids activities, thrilling Outhouse races and more.
After being postponed in 2020 due to the pandemic, Isanti Rodeo Jubilee Days returns July 8-10, 2021, sponsored by the North 65 Chamber of Commerce and the Isanti Firefighters Rodeo Association.
Fan favorites such as the Jubilee Days Parade will be held at 6:30 p.m. on July 8; free kids day activities will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on July 9; and rodeo performances will be held at 6:30 p.m. on July 9 and July 10.
General admission tickets to the rodeo performances can be purchased online at isantifiredistrict.org or by calling 763-691-9809. Adult tickets are $20 at the gate, $18 in advance; tickets for children 12 and under are $5; and children 3 and under are admitted for free. Tickets will also be available at the gate the day of the event.
Melissa Bettendorf, executive director of the North 65 Chamber of Commerce, said it was a committee decision to bring back the Rodeo Jubilee Days celebration.
“The committee consists of community representatives from a variety of organizations and chamber staff who had been planning in the background, waiting for restrictions to be lifted. Once we knew we could hold the event, we moved forward,” Bettendorf said. “The response has been positive. People are eager to get back to their traditional summer activities.”
New events this year for Rodeo Jubilee Days includes a free Splish Splash Summer Bash event from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on July 9 at Bluebird Park, sponsored by the city of Isanti, and a musical performance by the Teddy Bear Band at 11 a.m. on July 10. The Splish Splash Summer Bash includes water slides and games, music, food trucks, face painting and more.
Prior to the parade, beginning at 4 p.m. July 8 the Maddy Braun Trio will perform and food vendors will be out along the parade route. The parade will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a flyover by the T-6 Thunder preceding the parade, which is sponsored by Strike Life Tributes Funeral & Cremation Services.
“This year parade-goers can expect to see several high school marching bands, including Zuhrah’s, royalty floats, business floats, fire trucks, youth organizations, horses and more,” Bettendorf said. “The generosity of our community businesses and organizations makes this all possible through sponsorships and volunteer time. After the parade, at 10 p.m., the city will be hosting fireworks in Bluebird Park.”
The grand marshal of this year’s parade is Isanti County Public Health.
“Isanti County Public Health was selected by the committee for their contributions to our community. Their vision of ‘Empowering our community to choose health and safety’ is important in any year, but especially as we experienced the pandemic,” Bettendorf said. “The Isanti County Public Health team helped to inform and educate our community, kept us connected through virtual events hosted with community organizations, and when the time came, organized the vaccination of over 11,000 residents (to date). Our local public health office provides a wide range of services to keep our community healthy, and we are grateful for their service.”
Isanti County Public Health is honored to be selected as grand marshal.
“We feel proud that the community has acknowledged the efforts of public health in the pandemic. Public health work is often invisible in the community. We are grateful that we have been able to continue to serve the community throughout the pandemic,” Isanti County Public Health planner Cassie Shaker said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful for public health, as we have been in response mode for 16 months as of June. Our staff has been tasked with case investigation and contact tracing, essential services, public education and communication, supply distribution, and vaccine clinics, as well as continuing our regular programming. We are so grateful for the support from the volunteer nurses and the staff from Isanti County for the vaccine clinics. We are also appreciative for the community support throughout the pandemic and the vaccine clinics.”
Bettendorf said on Saturday, July 10, guests can expect to see a mix of traditional and new activities, all of which are held in downtown Main Street.
“The morning (July 10) will kick off at 8 a.m. with the Free Fun Run, hosted by BetaBFit and Sandbox Promos. The Isanti Ambassador Program will be hosting this year’s Craft and Vendor Fair. At 10 a.m., Rum River BMX is hosting a Balance Bike Race, and at 11 a.m. is the Kiddie Parade and the Isanti Lions Corn Feed. Turtle Races begin at noon and the Outhouse Races begin at 1 p.m.,” Bettendorf said. “Throughout the day, there will be food trucks, and businesses and community organizations will have booths with games. There will be balloon artists and a strolling juggler. New this year, the Teddy Bear Band will play at 11 a.m. We are grateful for the support of sponsors that make these free activities possible.”
Isanti Rodeo Chairman Tom Pagel, who has served as chairman since 1978, encourages people to get out and support the rodeo again this year. Even though Pagel retired from the department 10 years ago after serving for 34 years, he still enjoys giving back to the community and supporting the firefighters of the Isanti Fire District.
“I think the community and people in general are just ready to enjoy the summer,” Pagel said. “We have very good entries. We’re the same weekend as the Spooner rodeo and the Hamel rodeo, so it’s kind of ‘Cowboy Christmas,’ they call it for the contestants, the month of July, that is. The Isanti rodeo is definitely the summer event in the Isanti area and it’s good, family friendly entertainment.”
On July 9 and 10 the gates open at 4 p.m. for each rodeo performance. Each rodeo performance is preceded by goat tying at 5:30 p.m. and mutton bustin’ at 6 p.m. Those interested in having their children, 5 years or older and 55 pounds or less, participate in mutton bustin’ need to register in advance at isantifiredistrict.org.
Following the rodeo on July 9, a dance featuring the band Them Pesky Kids “TPK” will be held, and following the rodeo on July 10, a dance featuring the band Six to Midnight will be held.
“This year we brought in Them Pesky Kids, which is a rock n’ roll band from the Cities and some really talented musicians. So it’ll be a changeup for Friday night, and that’s typically our younger crowd, so hopefully it’ll bring people in to see them,” Pagel said. “And Saturday night we have Six to Midnight, which is a country rock band from the Minneapolis area, and they’re a talented group of guys.”
When people attend the rodeo, they are supporting the Isanti Fire District.
“The Isanti Firefighters Rodeo Association is the organization that puts on the rodeo and the funds that they make go back into the Isanti Fire District,” Pagel said. “Nobody gets paid, it all goes back into the community. I think every piece of equipment that we have in the three stations has some rodeo proceeds in it, whether it’s for lettering or equipment.”
Pagel mentioned the rodeo clown for this year’s 45th annual Isanti Firefighters Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association rodeo is Jesse Larson, from Duluth.
“Jesse actually purchased Ben Eby’s, who used to be a clown at the rodeo years and years ago, he actually purchased his airplane, so the airplane will be here in the arena like it was in the ‘80s, and he’s an awesome family entertainment guy. Adults and kids of any age will enjoy the rodeo and the entertainment,” Pagel said. “We welcome you back, we missed last year and it was kind of a sad deal. This year will be bigger and better than ever, and it should be a very good weekend.”
Jubilee Days Chair Dave Englund encourages people to get out and visit downtown Isanti during Jubilee Days events.
“I invite everyone to come and see what downtown Isanti is like,” Englund said. “We have great businesses down there and Isanti’s Rodeo Jubilee Days is such a great event. There is something for everyone during this celebration. It’s a fun couple of days a year, and for me personally, I enjoying visiting with the same people who sit in the same spot year after year during the parade. Sometimes, this is the only time of year I see those people.”
Bettendorf said the North 65 Chamber is grateful to all the volunteers who help make Rodeo Jubilee Days possible.
“The volunteers mean everything, and this festival could not happen without them. These people, several dozen in total, are so dedicated to bringing joy to our community, they say yes to helping year after year. Some volunteers have been assisting for over 40 years,” Bettendorf said. “When you see someone wearing the parade crew or event staff shirt, please say, ‘thank you.’ And while we have a very dedicated crew, we encourage anyone interested in volunteering to contact us. With an event this large, there is always something to help with.”