Rodeo supporters filled their plates with brats and burgers and had a good time Tuesday evening at the Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo mixer at the Horseman's Sports Arena, signifying the beginning of rodeo week in Mitchell.

To kick off the 49th annual rodeo, Committee Chairman Jim Miskimins presented a few special awards to dedicated rodeo enthusiasts.

North Dakota bullfighter Josh Rivinius, a regular at the event, was inducted into the Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo Hall of Fame, and Lyle Swenson, of Mitchell, was named the marshal for Saturday’s rodeo parade. The rodeo begins 8 p.m. Thursday and continues with nightly 8 p.m. performances through Sunday at the Horseman’s Sports Arena.

“This is truly an honor, and I love serving for such a great event,” said Swenson, who has served on the rodeo committee for 14 years.

This year’s rodeo parade is themed “Space Cowboys,” which begins at 10:30 a.m. Saturday on Main and Lawler streets in downtown Mitchell.

To round at the award winners, Matt Zens, of Canova, received the John Justin Standard of the West Award.

“He’s a jack of all trades, and we’re so lucky to have him as one of loyal volunteers,” Miskimins said, prior to giving the award to Zens.

The jam-packed weekend full of events also includes the chili cook-off and family fun day, which kicks off 11 a.m. Sunday at the Horseman’s Sports Arena.