Rodeo Family

by Ruth Nicolaus

Hamel Rodeo is long-time tradition with St. Michael family


Hamel, Minn. – June 6,  2022 – When the annual Hamel Rodeo rolls around, there’s an air of excitement in the Heffner household, in St. Michael, Minn.


It’s because Mykee Heffner, her husband Greg, and their kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews, sister and friends all gather to attend the rodeo.


It’s a long-standing tradition with them. Heffner grew up attending the Effie, Minn. rodeo with her parents and when she moved to the Minneapolis area in 1990, she started with the Hamel Rodeo and hasn’t missed a year since.


There’s always a group of family members who come with her. For years, her mom, Dellia Helgeson, attended the rodeo, till she wasn’t able to come. Mykee’s son and his kids have attended, as have Greg’s daughters and their children, plus Mykee’s nieces and nephews.


They come early enough to mark their spot with a blanket on the hill overlooking the arena. Then they walk through Vendor Alley and enjoy concessions and each other’s company.


To celebrate Mykee’s mom’s ninetieth birthday in 2015, twenty-plus family members attended the rodeo. “We had family from Texas, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida and all parts of Minnesota,” she said. “It was so fun.”


The whole family appreciates the rodeo and the fun it provides. “It’s such a well-run rodeo,” Heffner said. “We love the clowns and the entertainment shows (specialty acts) are always super. Everybody is so friendly. Even the people working the concessions stand are nice. It has a small-town feel. We just love everything about the whole rodeo.”


Family members stay at Heffner’s house before and after the rodeo. “We stack them up,” she laughed, “whoever wants to nap or sleep. It’s a big family, not only at the rodeo, but at my house, also.”


Heffner is passing on her love of the Hamel Rodeo to future generations. Her son will have his first grandchild this August, and next year, that baby will probably attend his or her first rodeo.


Everybody recognizes the “rodeo blankets” Mykee and Greg lay on the ground to mark their seats at the rodeo. “Everybody knows, this time of year, if you want to see Auntie Mykee and Uncle Greg, come to the rodeo. They know what blankets we have.”


The family never hurries home when the rodeo is over, either. “We like to watch everything at the end: watching the bullfighters interact, and the livestock. We’re never in a big hurry to get out of there, even though the traffic is easy to get out with.”


This year’s Hamel Rodeo is July 7-10 at Corcoran Lions Park in Corcoran. Performances begin at 7:30 pm on July 7-10, with a 1 pm matinee on Saturday, July 9.


All tickets are general admission and are $24, except for the Saturday matinee; those tickets are $18.


To purchase tickets and for more information, visit the website at

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