ALPENA - The Neiman's Super Kicker Rodeo is preparing for a weekend full of family fun at the Northern Lights Arena. The event, which is being held Friday, Saturday and Sunday, promises to excite spectators with the action, as well as offer up a salute to America's heroes and moms.
Arena manager Denny Dacey said the rodeo is always one of the most popular events each year, and this year will be no different. He said there will be special events for children and special deals for military, fire and police workers, as well as mothers on Sunday.
"It is going to be a great weekend of family entertainment; we will be having a boot scramble for the kids, as well as mutton busting, the ice cream truck and a lot of other fun things. We will have bikes and scooters as prizes for the winners, and I expect they will have a great time," Dacy said. "Friday military and law enforcement get into the event for free with a photo ID, Saturday is May birthdays with proof, so if you have a birthday in May you can get in free, and on Sunday the kids can bring their mothers and the moms can get into for free."
Norm Sommerfeld said this is the ninth year the rodeo has been held at the arena and said there will be a few special surprises that will take place before the event kicks off. He said he couldn't elaborate further on the details, because he wanted it to be a surprise for those who attend. Sommerfeld said the event has continued to be one of the most popular among the people in Northeast Michigan.
"We started to bring it back in 2004, so it is the ninth year and the reason it's popular is because many of the 3,000 people or so who come are people who may not come here for any other thing. This place was built so all people can come here and enjoy it and what we are finding is these are people who don't come to the ice events. It is very important to have things like this so everybody can enjoy what the community has built."
The arena staff, along with members of the Alpena Cycle Club, began moving dirt into the rink the third week of April and after it was in place the arena takes advantage of it by hosting several events that utilize it. Sommerfeld said the rodeo will be jam packed with thrills, as the cowboys compete against each other, as well as with the animals they ride.
"We know there will be 30 bull riders, seven saddle-bronc riders, so you'll see all 37 of them in action," Sommerfeld. "The event lasts about two hours and there will be a clown. We will have vendors in the lobby and outside the area showcasing their products, and both concession stands will be open."
Sommerfeld said because of the commitment of local sponsors who support the arena, the cost of taking the family will be less than it has been in years past.
"We actually lowered the price of tickets by $2. Last year it was $12 and it will only be $10 this year, and five years of age and younger will be free and six to 11 is $8," Sommerfeld said. "It is a great family deal, and we encourage people to come down and take a couple hours to enjoy the entertainment.'
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5689.