Mid-Western Rodeo turns 60
Three-day event in Manawa
By Holly Neumann
It’s the 60th anniversary of the Mid-Western Rodeo slated for Thursday thorugh Saturday, June 28-30, at Hoffmann Memorial Park, E5888 County Trunk B in Manawa.
According to the event’s website, the Manawa Rodeo began when local business owner Carl Dretzke was traveling in the western part of Wisconsin and saw a sign advertising a Bob Barnes Rodeo.
Dretzke thought it might be a good fundraiser for the community, and brought the idea to the Manawa Lions Club.
The Lions Club formed a rodeo committee and contacted Bob Barnes, a rodeo stock contractor, who in turn invited them to his ranch in Iowa to watch a rodeo.
Casey Klemm, the local barber, and Dretzke made the trip to Iowa and liked what they saw. They agreed that Manawa should host a Championship Rodeo.
The whole community pulled together that first year.
Twenty acres of land on the south side of town were leased from Farmway Co. for the grounds area.
Local businesses, such as Jones Farm Store, Sturms and Farmway Co., provided the trucks used to haul rented portable wooden bleachers to and from Fond du Lac.
Manawa Lions Club members and localresidents provided the volunteer labor that went into setting up and tearing down the bleachers and circus-type tents. Tickets were sold by Lions Club members, and publicity issues were handled by the rodeo secretary Lyle Spiegleberg, a position he held for over 30 years.
The bucking stock was housed at Harold and Jean Schuelke’s farm south of the grounds. On rodeo day, when the 100 head of stock needed to be moved the five or six blocks to grounds, they were herded right down State Highway 22/110 by three cowboys.
For the city of Manawa, now known as Rodeo City, the Mid-Western Rodeo has turned into a valuable part of the local economy.
“In the past 10 years the rodeo has brought over $263,000 into the community,” said Connie Klotzbuecher, Mid-Western Rodeo secretary/treasurer. “It also give a sense of pride to the local people who work at the event. They know that this is their chance to show off their friendliness.”
Rodeo highlights include bull and bronc riding, steer wrestling, team and tie-down roping and women’s barrel racing.
This year’s show will include Bull Jumping by Manu Lataste, who will leap and flip over a charging bull.
“My father used to do that, my brothers. It was kind of normal,” said Lataste. “I have jumped maybe 500 bulls. I have broken bones throughout my body. I love what I do, it’s my passion.”
Mid-Western Rodeo Queen Amanda Doman, of Manawa, and Rodeo Princess Sara Harrmann, of Hortonville, will also be in attendance.
Performing at all shows will be the Pink Ribbon Rebels, a youth drill team, who will be raising awareness to finding a cure for a breast cancer.
The Mid-Western Rodeo has designated Friday night’s rodeo Wrangler National Patriot Military Night.
“We want to give back to those who gave so much to us,” said Klotzbuecher. “The Mid-Western Rodeo and Wrangler are proud of our country and those who fight for it. Now they’re proud to give something back to those soldiers who have been wounded or have fallen, along with their families.”
Look for the National Patriot symbol on Mid-Western Rodeo wear sold at the rodeo. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this clothing will be donated to a Wisconsin charity supporting military veterans and their families.
“As another way to honor the military, the Mid-Western Rodeo invites all military members to attend this performance,” said Klotzbuecher. “Members must present military ID or American Legion membership card at time of ticket purchase and will receive a free seat in the reserved military/veteran seating area.”
Rodeo Fans are encouraged to wear red, white and blue at this performance.
The Saturday evening show is Tough Enough to Wear Pink.
Funds collected through the “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” campaign will be donated to Fox Valley Hematology & Oncology (FVHO). FVHO’s goal is to keep what’s best for the patient at the center of each treatment plan. Proceeds collected throughout the weekend will be used to provide patients gift cards to let them know they are cared for by FVHO staff.
Rodeo fans are encouraged to wear pink to show their support of the cause.
Local businesses are encouraged to get involved in the window painting contest.
To purchase tickets for the rodeo or for more information call 1-800-74RODEO or visit www.manawarodeo.org.
“I hope our guests feel that they are well entertained and that they feel the friendliness of Manawa because of all the local people that work at the rodeo,” Klotzbuecher said.
Scheduled events include the following:
Thursday, June 28
• 6 p.m. – Vendor and food stands Open
• 7 p.m. – Pre-Rodeo music
• 7:30 p.m. – Rodeo Family Night
• 10 p.m. – Fireworks
Friday, June 29
• 6 p.m. – Vendor, Food stands and rodeo arena gates open
• 7 p.m. – Pre-Rodeo music
• 7:30 p.m. – Rodeo Wrangler National Patriot Military Night
• 10 p.m. – Free dance with live music
Saturday, June 30
• 7:30 a.m. – Stampede Fun Run/Walk at Lindsay Park
• 10 a.m. – Rodeo Parade
• 11:30 a.m. – Vendor and Food Stands Open-Chicken BBQ
• 1:30 p.m. – Pre-Rodeo Music
• 2 p.m. – Rodeo-Family
• 5:30 p.m. – Sizzlin’ Sonny’s Rockin Roadshow
• 7 p.m. – Pre-Rodeo music
• 7:30 p.m. – Rodeo-Tough Enough to Wear Pink
• 10 p.m. Free dance with live music.