Highway 55 Rental, founded 40 years ago by the Pederson family, will serve as Grand Marshals of the Hamel Lions Rodeo Parade, beginning at 2 p.m., Sunday, July 14.

The Grand Marshal’s float will feature a bounce house being enjoyed by Chris Pederson’s kids. The parade will step off from Hunter Lions Park, swing north on Hunter Drive, turn east on Hamel Road and finish at the Hamel Veterans of Foreign Wars clubhouse east of Brockton Lane.

This traditional event has been one of the final activities of Hamel Rodeo weekend. The rodeo runs this year from Thursday, July 11 through Sunday, July 14 at Corcoran Lions Park, located on County Road 10 west of County Road 101.

This year’s parade lineup features bands, clowns, fire trucks, police cars, lots of candy and many other specialty acts. Grab a lawn chair and find a spot on the route from which to view the parade.

The Lions parade committee selected Highway 55 Rental as Grand Marshals to celebrate the company’s 40 years in business serving the western metro. Reg and Jeff Pederson founded the tool rental company in Hamel along with their father Pete in 1979.

Younger family members have joined the business, along with a loyal, hardworking staff, the majority of whom have been with the company over 10 years and some over 20 years. The company has grown to serve thousands of customers every year, according to Chris Pederson.

The company’s website displays a vast array of equipment available to rent, including trucks, trailers, air compressors, earth moving equipment, automotive tools, bobcats and excavators, carpet and floor care equipment, concrete tools, demolition hammers, dollies, drill bits and saw blades, generators, jacks, lawn and garden equipment, pressure washer and painting equipment and much more.

Reg’s sons and Jeff’s nephews, Chris and Jon Pederson have worked at Highway 55 Rental’s “Party Store” since the 1990s, when it was first started. They now run the Event Rental division, which offers party rental equipment for graduation parties, weddings, corporate events and everything in between.

“Highway 55 Rental feels lucky to be a part of the Hamel – Medina community and is humbled by the incredible support the residents and businesses have provided it throughout the last four decades,” said Chris Pederson.

He invited the public to Highway 55 Rental’s 40th anniversary party at Highway 55 Rental from 4 to 7 p.m., Wednesday, July 31.

Five action-packed performances of the Hamel Rodeo, July 11 to 14, will feature Bareback Riding, Saddle Bronc Riding, Tie Down Roping, Steer Wrestling, Team Roping, Barrel Racing and the Bull Ridin’ Bonanza. A specialty act by Tim “Wild Thang” Lepard and Team Ghost Riders will bring three cowboy monkeys to each performance. The three Capuchin monkeys will dress in vests, chaps, and cowboy hats and sit in saddles on border collies as they round up sheep in the arena.

The 39th annual event is attracting over 400 cowboys and cowgirls from across the US and Canada. They will compete for cash prizes in Professional Rodeo Cowboys and Cowgirls Association competition.

The 2018 Hamel Rodeo barrel racing champion has returned to defend her title. Shelby Janssen, a native of Austin, Minnesota, won last year’s rodeo with a time of 16.04 seconds. Now living in Coleman, Oklahoma, Janssen has competed at the rodeo for the past 10 years. The 27-year-old competed in the Minnesota High School Rodeo Association and collegiately, at Vernon (Texas) College, on a rodeo scholarship, graduating in 2013.

The Hamel Rodeo will offer evening performances at 7:30 p.m. on all four days. Family Day at the rodeo is Saturday, July 13 with a 1 p.m. matinee and all tickets costing $10. Kids’ activities will include stick horse races and a calf scramble.

Pony rides for kids will be available for 90 minutes before all performances and all day on Saturday. Food vendors will be on site. Dances will follow the rodeo at Inn Kahoots Bar, 45 Hamel Road, on July 12 to 13. Featured bands will be Michael Paul Band and Gus Sent Me. People who buy a $3 rodeo button will get $5 off the admission price for the dance.

The rodeo is a fund raiser for five area not-for-profit organizations, including the Hamel Volunteer Fire Department, the Heinzen-Ditter Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Hamel Lions, the John Pohlker American Legion Post and the Lord of Life Military Family Support Ministry in Maple Grove. After rodeo bills are paid, all five organizations split proceeds evenly. Over the past 38 years, local charities have received over $2 million.

In addition, the rodeo will support the fight against cancer at Tough Enough to Wear Pink night on July 11. Attendees, cowboys and cowgirls are encouraged to wear pink to raise awareness for breast cancer research.

Tickets for the rodeo range in price from $10 to $18 and can be purchased online at HamelRodeo.org and at the gate.

For information, visit the website at HamelRodeo.org or call 763-478-6611.

The Hamel Rodeo & Bull Ridin’ Bonanza dates back to 1981. What began as a small event to put Hamel on the map and raise a little money for local non-profits has grown into one of the largest professional rodeos in Minnesota. During the first couple of years, competition and activities took place in the parking lot of the Medina Ballroom. When the Medina Inn was built, the rodeo moved to its current location at the Corcoran Lions Park just north of Hamel.

Compiled by Susan Van Cleaf, susan.vancleaf@ecm-inc.com

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