Mid-Western Rodeo returns to Manawa
Rodeo Weekend slated for July 2-4
By Jane Myhra
The 57th annual Mid-Western Rodeo will be held Thursday through Saturday, July 2-4, at the rodeo grounds in Manawa.
“This is great entertainment at a bargain price,” said Rodeo Chairman Peter Ziebell. “You could bring a family of four to Manawa Saturday morning for the parade, have lunch at the rodeo grounds and enjoy two and a half hours of great entertainment for under $100, including gas.”
The excitement includes music, bullriding, calf roping, barrel racing, clowns, queens, a parade and barbecued chicken.
Top professional rodeo performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with a matinee at 2 p.m. Saturday. Fireworks will follow the Saturday night performance.
This year’s clown and bull fighter is “Danger” Dave, with The One Arm Bandit as the specialty act.
Topping off the action is the Rodeo City Riders Drill Team with a flag routine for each performance. This Manawa-based drill team is famous for its red-white-and-blue presentation and performs at many other rodeos.
“They give the crowd a thrill and a chill when they enter the arena,” said Rodeo Secretary Connie Klotzbuecher. “Many dream about being on a drill team, but it’s not something everyone can do. The girls in the saddle in the arena have made that dream a reality.”
Klotzbuecher, who was a member of the Rodeo City Riders for 14 years, still enjoys a chance to carry a flag in the Saturday rodeo performances.
“That’s my reward for all the long hours,” she said.
The Mid-Western Rodeo was voted Great Lakes Circuit’s 2014 Medium Rodeo of the Year for the seventh time since 2007. This award is voted on by the contestants.
“That’s a testament to the quality of our rodeo,” Klotzbuecher said.
“If you’ve never seen professional rodeo in person you’re in for a real treat, from the roughstock events (bareback, saddle bronc and bullriding) to the timed events where you will see some of the best trained horses in the world,” Ziebell said. “Rodeo is filled with non–stop action, clowns, specialty acts, and we also have arguably the best announcer in the business.”
This will be pro rodeo announcer Roger Mooney’s 17th year at the Mid-Western Rodeo. He is known for calling rodeos from the back of his horse and for calling Manawa’s rodeo the “Rose Garden of Wisconsin.”
Klotzbuecher said professional athletes come from all over the United States to compete in Manawa. Some are loyal about coming every year, such as Mel Potter, from Arizona, who was at the first Mid-Western Rodeo 56 years ago.
“These contestants do rodeo for the love of the thrill,” Klotzbuecher said. “Most times, their only pay is the applause from the audience.”
When too many contestants enter, the Mid-Western Rodeo runs the “slack” at 9 a.m. Friday. This free show usually includes team roping and barrel racing.
General admission tickets are $15 for adults and $6 for children age 12 and under. Reserved seating tickets are $17 for adults and $8 for children.
A chicken dinner will be served on Saturday, starting at 11 a.m.
Live music and a free dance are featured at 10 p.m., after the rodeos on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
There is a Stampede Fun Run/Walk starting at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, July 4, at Lindsay Park, followed by the Rodeo Parade at 10 a.m.
“Aside from the rodeo itself, it’s not easy to put into words the atmosphere of an outdoor event of this caliber,” Ziebell said. “If you got to the parade and catch the afternoon performance, you’ll go home tired and excited from a full day. The night performances are electric.”
“I truly believe the whole venue is an experience, from the vendors, to the live music, really good food and, of course, the rodeo itself,” Ziebell said. “Come by and see what it’s all about.”
“Last but not least, the annual rodeo is sponsored by the Manawa Lion’s Club, so every dollar you spend goes to help those less fortunate than yourself,” Ziebell said.
Changes for 2015
A major change for the 2015 Mid-Western Rodeo is the addition of more general admission seats.
These general admission seats are located in Section C, which previously had been reserved seating. Now, rows 1-15, seats 1-12, are labeled general admission.
“For most evening performances, we have had more general admission tickets sold than reserve tickets,” said Klotzbuecher.
“The attendance was higher in 2014, even after a record breaking year in 2013,” she said.
According to Klotzbuecher, over 13,500 attended the rodeo in 2014. The arena can seat 5,500.
The Manawa Lions Club constructed a first aid building that will also house the Queen’s Booth. The new structure is 12×36-feet and allows more space to display rodeo merchandise.
There will also be a new hospitality pavilion for the rodeo contestants. The Rodeo City Riders donated about $1,200 for this structure, which will also be used for the RCR’s fun shows.
For tickets and more rodeo information, visit www.manawarodeo.org or call 800-747-6336.