Musical acts replace rodeo at Russell’s Bandwagon Days

Pretzel Days in Lucan features RAD Zoo display

RUSSELL — When the cowboys loaded up their horses and bulls onto trailers on the Russell rodeo grounds last June, it would be for the last time in this southwest Minnesota community.

For 15 years the Stampede Rodeo was one of the main features at the annual Russell Bandwagon Days. But rodeo organizers decided last June would be the last one. According to Bandwagon Days committee member Shelbi Keifer, planning for this year’s festival started right away.

“We started thinking about new ideas,” Keifer said Thursday.

The committee is hoping these new ideas will continue to draw people to Bandwagon Days just like the rodeo did. Musical entertainment tops the list. Russell Bandwagon Days is one of two festivals scheduled for this weekend. A Taste of Lucan Pretzel Days started Thursday and continues through Sunday.

The Dueling piano group River Rats from Minneapolis will perform at Bandwagon Days under the open tent at 7 p.m. today. Jim Steinworth and Cal Spooner combined comedy with music to “bring lots of fun to the show,” according to the River Rats website.

Both performers come from a rock band backgrounds and brag “a large repertoire of everyone’s favorite songs old and new.”

On Saturday night, the South Dakota band “Eclipse” will start playing at 9 p.m. under the outdoor tent. “Eclipse is a longtime working band, according to its website. “The band and crew bring live rock ‘n roll and country music.”

The band has shared the stage with such acts as Black Hawk, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Diamond Rio, Hall & Oates and Joan Jett. Their original songs include “I’m in the Mood,” “2 Birthdays,” and “Mexico.”

Both musical events were paid for by donations and there is no admission costs.

Saturday’s 2-person best ball golf tournament is one of the new events this year. It starts at 9 a.m.

The dunk tank is also a new event. Participants include local firefighters, EMTs and school officials and baseball players from Russell-Tyler-Ruthton School District.

Pretzel Days is also featuring something new as well. The RAD Zoo out of Owatonna will set up shop at 3 p.m. Sunday. It features reptiles and other animals.

Other events include medallion hunt, co-ed softball tournament, volleyball tournament, Fireman’s breakfast on Sunday and the kids pedal pull.

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