Kennedy celebrates homecoming with 90th rodeo

February 15, 2023, 1:26 pm
Sierra D'Souza Butts

Above is a photo of one of the rodeo performances from Kennedy’s weekend rodeo event in July, 2022.

In celebration of Kennedy’s 90th Moose Mountain annual rodeo, a concert—All Roads Lead Home­—will be happening this year to kick-off the homecoming, rodeo weekend event.

The event will take place on the July 21 weekend.

“We’re in the process of planning something special, we haven’t got anything definite except for the homecoming concert on the Friday night of this year’s event, which is new this year,” said the president of the rodeo association Jill Lowe.

“The concert is something we’ve had in the works for a long time. Eli came to us with hers, Heidi, Blake and Lane’s idea, then we brought it forward to the table and decided to go for it.”

With all four of the performers being from Kennedy, the concert will help make the big event even more special, saidLowes.

“Way back in the day, Heidi, Eli and Lane used to sing together when they were in high school, then they all went their separate ways” she said.

“They were well known here in this area when they were growing up. It’s pretty spectacular that they went their own ways and have become great musicians. Lane is a bit younger, but he’s made a pretty good name for himself too.”

On Friday July 21, the event will begin with the slack which starts at 5 p.m. Later that night at 8 p.m., is when the concert will start and feature Eli Barsi, Heidi Munro and Scott Patrick, Lane Easton and Blake Berglund.

“It’s always been a weekend event. We used to do slack in the morning on the Saturday, but it became a busy day and because we’re the same weekend as Morris, Manitoba, it was actually the contestants that asked us to do our slack on Friday so they can get to both events,” Lowe said.

“It works way better to have the slack on the Friday night because it spreads it out, that way we’re not in a rush and we can actually enjoy it too.”

On the Saturday, there be a parade followed by a demolition derby, then a rodeo performance. The night will close off with beer gardens and a performance by Switch.

On Sunday, July 23, there will be a pancake breakfast at Kennedy Friendship Center, then a cowboy church service at the rodeo grounds.

The final rodeo performance for the weekend will be in the afternoon at 2 p.m., followed by the demolition derby finals.

Lowe has been a part of the rodeo association for two decades and said she is looking forward to the club celebrating its 90th year.

“I think it’s a pretty big deal,” she said smiling.

“To just think about how they started the rodeo, I don’t think any of them thought it would still be going 90 years later, but it’s definitely unique and worthy to celebrate.

“I’ve been an active member for about 20 years, it was actually my great-grandfather who was the very first president and that’s why I joined. I love my community Kennedy, and this is what puts Kennedy on the map.”

“It really is something special, especially to be in this area.”

Lowe said celebrating 90 years of the rodeo is a special moment for her and the community.

“This is pretty special and is something that the rodeo association has kept our focus on, which is getting to the 90th year,” she said.

“We’ve all pulled together and we’re ready to host the party of the century.

“I’m looking forward to getting together with all of my family too, we’re having a Dorrance family reunion that weekend so it will be nice having them all here to celebrate with us.”

With this being an important milestone, Lowes said she hopes to see people from the community come out.

“Anyone who is from Kennedy and has been to a Kennedy Rodeo, hopefully they remember what that’s like and that they bring their families,” she said.

“It’s a chance to get together, to see some old friends and meet some new people. Kennedy is thriving so it’s a great chance for all the new people who have moved to the area to see what we have to offer, and it’s not just Kennedy, it’s the whole southeast area that comes together.”

Lowe was asked how many people they are expecting to come out for the weekend rodeo event.

“Usually we estimate for about 1,500 for the weekend,” she said.

“Because it’s the 90th year, we’re calling it a Kennedy homecoming so that people can plan class reunions, family reunions, etc.”

How can people help leading up to the event?
With a lot still needed to do in preparation for the big event, Lowe said help is always welcomed.

“We’re always looking for sponsorship, people and new volunteers to come out and help for the weekend,” she said.

“There will be some work that we need to do at the rodeo grounds once the snow is gone to get the grounds ready. We can always use people, many hands make a light work.”