EDMORE — Cowgirls and cowboys of all ages in Western shirts, boots and belt buckles as big as the Edmore water tower showcased their rodeo skills at the Super Kicker Rodeo at this weekend’s annual Potato Festival.
Presented by main title sponsor Randall’s Old Mill, the rodeo stands were filled to capacity at Webb Field, formerly Montabella Community School’s football field.
In his fourth year as festival organizer, Rich Adgate takes great pride in the community’s support. The success of the event is due largely to the businesses and community members, he said.
“I can’t begin to thank all the community members who came out this weekend to help with the festival,” said Adgate. “The rodeo was a success because of their hard work over the past few months, specifically yesterday, where if we got to 300 adult tickets and 150 kids tickets I would be happy. I believe we surpassed the 800 mark, easily.”
The rodeo competition began with a flag salute around the arena led by Edmore’s Lil Rasmussen on her quarter horse “Doc,” followed by the national anthem and a cowboy prayer.
EDMORE POTATO FESTIVAL PHOTO GALLERY
“I’ve been trying for the last three years to get one (a rodeo) into Edmore,” Rasmussen said. “I recommended Super Kicker Rodeo to Rich Adgate. They’re fantastic, one of the best in Michigan. I had retired as a rodeo girl, but now I’m thinking about giving it another go.”
Action-packed bull riding, saddle bronc and bareback bronco riding, team calf roping and barrel racing gave the crowd quite a show. Rodeo clowns did more than distract raging bulls as they entertained the audience with amusing one-liners the entire evening.
Wee wranglers did a little mutton busting, while other kids 7 to 12 became part of the show, too. Wearing one shoe, they raced — girls first, then boys — to retrieve their other shoe positioned in the center of the arena. The winner was the first to return to the starting line wearing both shoes.
A few area riders participated in the rodeo competition, along with other rodeo regulars from Michigan and neighboring states.
Local cowgirl 17-year-old Gabby Larson of Stanton has barrel raced since she was 6 years old. Although she wasn’t happy with her time Saturday night, she thought having a rodeo near her hometown was awesome.
“She was nervous,” said Larson’s mom, Joanne, after the competition. “She’s not used to racing in front of people she knows.”
Other festival offerings kept things hopping around Edmore, as well — a 5K run/walk, farmers market, neighborhood yard sales, fries and potatoes prepared by local churches, the AMVETS breakfast, museum tours, mud volleyball, dodge ball and, of course, the parade.
Families gathered downtown for Saturday morning’s parade. Ron Farrell, retired longtime superintendent of Montabella Community Schools, was honored as grand marshal. He and his wife, Sharron, waived to the community gathered along Main Street (M-46) from high atop an Avalon pontoon.
Webb Field bustled with activity — carnival games and rides, music, a flea market, car and bike show, Lego display and an outdoor expo.
The Edmore Lions Club’s Third Annual Outdoor Expo featured more than 20 vendors displaying their products and literature under a 50-by-150-foot tent at the west end of Webb Field.
At the opposite end, it was Lego city. Lego means “let’s play” in Danish, according to Scot Thompson of Bay City, president of the Michigan Lego Users Group. He’s been playing with Legos since the late 1980s when his mother bought him a Lego train set at a yard sale. After he set it up, his imagination simply took over.
“I said, ‘We have mass transportation, now we need a city,’” Thompson remembered. “So I took all my old Legos and built 53 facades of houses and buildings. I just had fun and started building.”
Thompson’s Lego display — complimented by an interactive play area — opened many eyes to creative possibilities in Lego building.
This hobby intensified even more about four years ago. Thompson’s 7-year-old son, Max, now shares the Lego interest and occasionally helps him with the construction process.
Among Thompson’s Lego creations displayed at the Potato Festival were a replica of the Pontiac Osteopathic Hospital, Rathaus City Hall in Hamburg Germany, Citizen’s Bank of Saginaw and the Bay County Building.
He also erected a special Lego vignette of Maxfield’s Inn and The Depot to thank the Maxfield family for sponsoring his display.