For the fourth year, the Royal River Casino and Hotel is hosting Flandreau Rodeo Days this weekend, an event expected to bring hundreds of people to town.
There are rodeos on both Friday and Saturday evenings with qualifying events starting at 11 a.m. each day. New this year is a children’s petting zoo on the grounds, along with inflatables.
“We’re excited that they’re having it (the petting zoo) this year,” said Kim Johnson, who is on the rodeo committee. During the intermission before barrel racing, Maynards grocery store is sponsoring a candy toss.
The rodeo events are held west of the casino and draw contestants from the area and from other states. Team penning will be held at 5 p.m., followed by mutton busting. The entry is at 6 p.m., followed by the rodeo at 6:30 p.m.
Last year, the casino moved the rodeo to August because the casino was just reopening in June after being closed for Covid precautions. The turnout was good, Johnson said. “We had a record-breaking year last year.”
Each day, the rodeo usually draws about 200 contestants and 800 spectators, she said.
The rodeo still will have sanitizing stations, like last year, she said. People also are invited to bring their own chairs if they would like to social distance themselves from those in the bleachers, she said. “If they want to wear masks, that’s up to them.”
Food, western wear and craft vendors will be open on the grounds, and there will be a beer tent open for adults.
The casino will host concerts each night in the Royal Room immediately after the rodeos, with Hicktown Mafia playing Friday night and rising country star Camille Rae providing entertainment on Saturday night. The concerts are free.
Parking for the rodeo will be located across Veterans Street to the east of the rodeo grounds, but handicapped spots will be available inside of the gate.
Tickets are available ahead of time for $10 either in the casino gift shop or online at flandreaurodeodays.com. Tickets are $15 at the gate, and children 10 and under are free.
“Everybody needs to come out. It’s fun,” Johnson said.