“Space Cowboys” will be the theme for the 49th Annual Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo Parade in July.

The parade will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 20 on Main Street and Lawler Avenue in Mitchell. The theme was announced Monday by the Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo Committee.  

“Our parade theme is intended to celebrate the 50th anniversary of America’s first moon landing on July 21, 1969, and to lay a foundation to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo in 2020,” said Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo Parade Co-Chairmen Mike Dittmer and Tony Tilton.

Space Cowboys was also the title of a 2000 major motion picture starring Clint Eastwood, James Garner and Tommy Lee Jones as grizzled veteran astronauts who are called back into duty to help save the world. Dittmer and Tilton said they “thought the concept fit well with Mitchell’s rodeo.”

The parade is generally considered one of the highlights of rodeo week in Mitchell, bringing thousands of people to the downtown area. Awards are given for floats and parade entries with the best adaptation of the theme.

Also announced Monday is the barrelman for the PRCA rodeo event, who will be Allan Dessel, of Paullina, Iowa. Dessel, 34, who has also worked as a high school math teacher, is an experienced barrelman and bullfighter, serving as the latter at the Great Lakes Circuit Finals three times.

Many other popular aspects of the rodeo return this year, with performances starting at 8 p.m. each night from July 18-21 at the Horseman’s Sports Arena. The Community Kickoff burger feed will be held at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, July 16, while the Family Fun Day and Chili Cookoff event will be held Sunday, July 19, starting at 11 a.m. The Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo Queen Contest is also planned for rodeo week, with the winners to be announced July 18.