It’s that time of the year.
For the 49th consecutive year, the Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo invades Mitchell in mid-July at the Horseman’s Sports Arena rodeo grounds in Mitchell. The rodeo may be a year shy of its 50th anniversary, but the theme this year is Space Cowboys, in honor of the 60th anniversary of the first moon landing. The rodeo performances begin each night at 8 p.m. from July 18-21.
The rodeo festivities begin at 5 p.m. Tuesday, July 16, with the community kickoff event and Women’s Professional Rodeo Association barrel racing is the first competition at 7:30 p.m.
“We try to keep everything fresh and appealing to our crowds every year,” Miskimins said. “The committee doesn’t really take any time off. We meet throughout the year, and of course, ramp up our efforts during the summertime. … As far as programming, it’ll be a pretty traditional show with the rodeo events.”
One of the attempts to maintain a fresh feeling is this year’s rodeo clown and barrelman Allan Dessal. A former teacher from Iowa, Dessal started out as a bullfighter, but has since moved to a different form of entertainment.
The committee discovered Dessal in Northfield, Minnesota, they could not pass up the opportunity to bring him to Mitchell as a solo act.
“As folks put on the miles and time does its thing, he made the transition from the cowboy protection over to an area where he could use all of his talents,” Miskimins said. “He can assist those bullfighters as a (barrelman) and also use his wit and mental acuity to entertain the crowds.”
All seven pro rodeo events will be featured, with tie down roping, team roping, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding, bareback bronc riding, barrel racing and bull riding.
The rodeo has also has some specialty opening performances, including one in honor of local emergency first responders and veterans. Each night before every performance, one such public servant will be recognized.
“That’s going to be something that’s gauged to our local servants,” Miskimins said. “To give them a little more recognition that maybe they don’t get enough of.”
Team roping is slated for at 7 p.m Wednesday, July 17, while the rodeo queen contest is to be held at 8 a.m. on Thursday, July 18, leading into the first performance of the rodeo, dubbed “Tough Enough to Wear Pink Night” at 8 p.m.
Performances will continue nightly on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, while the downtown parade will take place at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 20.
On Sunday, July 21, the Cowboy Church Service will take place at 10 a.m., with the chili cook-off and Family Day events beginning at 11 a.m., and the final performance is set for 8 p.m., dubbed Man-up Crusade Night. At each rodeo performance, mutton busting and a kids candy toss will take place, as well.
Rodeo performance tickets are on sale at locations in Mitchell and online. Reserved tickets can be purchased at County Fair Food Store for $18 each. General admission tickets are on sale at Coborn’s, County Fair Food Store and Moody’s Western Wear in Mitchell, and the Parkston Food Center in advance for $13 each. General admission tickets at the rodeo gate are $15 each. Children’s tickets are $7 each for ages 6-12, while children age 5 and younger are admitted free.
All events are at the Horseman’s Sports Arena unless noted otherwise.