The North Star Regional Rodeo is a multi-day rodeo that takes place in Hugo, Minnesota. Competitors from all over the nation travel to the area to compete for the prizes on offer. All the action happens at Dead Broke Arena, a large site where many other horse events are held.
The rodeo is run by the North Star Gay Rodeo Association, a member of the International Gay Rodeo Association (IGRA). The inaugural event was held in 1993 during pride week. Like other IGRA events, it was started with the intention of providing a discrimination-free platform for contestants to participate in rodeo events, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
North Star Regional Rodeo features traditional rodeo events like bull-riding and barrel-racing as well as strength testing feats like bareback bronc riding, roping, and chute dogging. Unlike many other rodeos, the events are open to all genders, and everyone is welcome to participate. It ends with an awards ceremony and a fun afterparty where the celebrations continue.
The event raises funds for several charitable organizations in addition to promoting the sport of rodeo. It celebrates the spirit of inclusivity and welcomes participants and spectators of all experience levels.
Tickets to the North Star Regional Rodeo can be purchased online in advance or at the gate on the day of the event. You can also email the organizers ahead of time to reserve your passes. Tickets typically cost about $10 per day if purchased in advance and $15 if you decide to buy them at the gate. This pass will give you access to all the day’s rodeo events. Children 12 and under have been allowed to attend the rodeo for free in the past if a ticket-holding adult accompanied them.
The drive from Downtown Minneapolis to Hugo might take you about 45 minutes. The event takes place at Dead Broke Arena, which is situated on the outskirts of town. It is just east of the well-known Woodloch Stables. Once you reach Hugo, you might connect with US Highway 61 before reaching 170th Street to arrive at the arena.
There will be plenty of parking available for cars and larger vehicles onsite. Patrons with disabilities can make use of the designated ADA parking area. If you plan on camping at the venue, you will be directed to a separate area where you can park your rig for the duration of your stay.
Since the Dead Broke Arena lies on the outskirts of the small town, public transportation options can be hard to come by for the North Star Regional Rodeo. In the past, organizers have offered a ride-sharing service for those who cannot drive to the event. They request that patrons email them well ahead of time to make use of this service.
North Star Regional Rodeo gives patrons the option to camp on the grounds overnight, with primitive RV camping offered on site. Electrical, water, or sewer hookups, as well as showers and dump stations, will not be available. However, there has been a water station on site where you can fill your tanks in recent years. You’ll need to contact the organizers directly to reserve a camping space.
There are several well-equipped options within a 20-mile radius. William O'Brien State Park is a campground that comes highly recommended by other campers. It is about 14 miles away from the rodeo grounds and has large sites with some hookup options. There is also a riverside camping area where you can enjoy fun water activities. In the other direction, about 40 miles from the arena, Minneapolis Northwest KOA invites guests with motorhomes and Airstreams to stay.
Wheeled vehicles will not be allowed within the grounds, so you’ll need to get around on foot. There are no paved pathways, and the terrain comprises of grassy and gravel-covered areas. So patrons with disabilities may require some assistance to move around. For those unable to climb up to the bleachers, look for ground-level sheltered seating as provided.
Dig out your best western attire to get into the spirit of the event. You’ll feel right at home in jeans, boots, and a cowboy hat. Although the rodeo takes place in the summertime, the nights tend to be chilly. Carry a lightweight jacket with you and stash some blankets in your RV.
Pack a small bag with sunglasses, a hat, earplugs, a portable charger, and other essentials. Carry a refillable bottle with you and top it up at one of the drinking water stations. If your campsite offers activities like water sports or hiking, be sure to take all the gear you’ll need to enjoy these, or venture on your own to one of the lakes in Minnesota.
Keep your cell phone charged and designate a common meeting area in case you get separated from your group. When you’re driving to the event, you may encounter road blocks due to weather or construction. Call 511 or use your favorite GPS app to check for any road alerts and plan your route ahead of time.
Since you’re in town for the rodeo, why not cook the way cowboys once did? Grill up a juicy steak or some hearty vegetables on an open flame. Remember to inquire about regulations at our site and if there is a burn ban in effect. Check with your camp manager before lighting your grill or campfire. Fill your camper shelves before you arrive in Hugo or at a local store between the arena and your campground.
If you’re too tired to cook after a long day at the rodeo, you could always head to one of the small local restaurants in Hugo. Whether you’re in the mood for a quick slice of pizza or an evening of drinks with friends, you’ll find several options. Many of the large restaurant chains also have branches in the small town.
Thanks to Dead Broke Arena’s recent expansion, a large area has been designated for vendors selling food, beverages, and merchandise. Guests will have a wide selection of rodeo eats to enjoy. Patrons with dietary restrictions or preferences won’t have to leave the grounds to find delicious vegan, vegetarian, or gluten-free food.
Security personnel will be present at the entrances and will conduct bag checks upon entry at the North Star Regional Rodeo. Staff will also be patrolling the grounds, so you can approach them for any assistance. The festival prides itself on its inclusivity and diversity. Disrespect of others is not what the North Star Gay Rodeo Association wishes to support.
Daytime temperatures typically range in the mid-80s in the summer. Rain is unlikely, and visitors to the area often enjoy sunny, pleasant days in Minnesota. In the rare event that the weather turns severe, alerts will be issued on the event’s social media accounts.
Trained EMTs will be available to provide medical assistance to contestants and patrons. For more serious injuries, the closest medical center is less than five miles away. Portable restrooms will be present throughout the grounds. If you have special medical or accessibility requests, it's a good idea to contact the organizers at least a few weeks in advance.