Skip to main content

AG Keith Ellison launches action against rodeo that violated COVID-19 crowd limit

Thousands attended the event over three days.
Screen Shot 2020-08-01 at 7.23.35 AM

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison has announced his office has launched enforcement action against a northern Minnesota rodeo that defied statewide limits on large gatherings in response to COVID-19.

The AG said the action has been brought against North Star Ranch in Effie, Itasca County after it hosted the North Star Stampede rode between July 24 and 26.

The organizers had said that it wouldn't be allowing spectators due to the statewide ban on large gatherings above 250 people, but said nobody would be turned away if people attended to "protest ... government overreach."

Thousands of people attended as a result, and on Friday the Minnesota Department of Health says it's confirmed that one person among those in attendance tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday, July 27, and as a result was infectious at the rodeo.

Health officials have asked anyone who went to the rodeo to monitor their own symptoms as they may have been exposed, and isolate as much as they can for 14 days.

The AG's office said Friday it had spoke with the North Star Ranch owner on July 22 to ensure the event would abide by the COVID-19 restrictions, and said the owner "became agitated and hung up the phone."

Screen Shot 2020-08-01 at 7.23.24 AM

The owner then posted on Facebook: "The North Star Stampede will take place with no spectators. If people would like to come and protest against this ridiculous Government Over Reach, feel free to do so, I will not stand in the way of peoples ‘Right to Assemble.’"

Ellison's office says that as well as allowing big crowds to watch the rodeo from the bleachers – with images showing few if any were wearing face masks – the rodeo also accepted donations and sold programs to attendees.

Itasca County has had 125 positive COVID-19 cases since the outbreak of the pandemic, of which 12 have resulted in death.

Sign up for our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

Attorney General Ellison said. “My office has been working successfully for months with businesses and events across Minnesota to help them understand the law and the Governor's executive orders so that they can operate responsibly and keep Minnesotans safe during this pandemic.

"In most cases, we’ve reached agreement that leads to voluntary compliance. Because we take the health of Minnesota's people and economy very seriously, we take our responsibility to educate and seek compliance very seriously."

He added: "Stopping the spread of COVID-19 is everyone's responsibility. It's in all Minnesotans' interest for businesses and events to comply with the law and the Governor’s executive orders so that we can protect ourselves, our loved ones, our communities, and our livelihoods."

Ellison is seeking damages and $25,000 in civil penalties for each of the several violations in his office's complaint.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at 7.45.44 PM

Tyre Nichols: Initial police version of events bear similarities to George Floyd killing

Memphis PD said Nichols complained of 'shortness of breath' following 'confrontations' with police, who in reality violently beat him.

George Floyd, protest

Twin Cities authorities preparing for community reaction to Tyre Nichols video

The ATF division in St. Paul sent out an alert out of "an abundance of caution."

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at 2.12.05 PM

Changes at K102's Chris Carr & Company, with Sam Sansevere joining as co-host

She is the daughter of former KQRS morning show personality Bob Sansevere.

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at 1.16.21 PM

Minneapolis' Royal Foundry Craft Spirits announces closure

The distillery set out to infuse the Minneapolis craft cocktail scene with British flavor.


Shutterfly to cut almost 100 jobs at Shakopee facility

The layoffs are expected to impact multiple positions within the company.


Mill City Museum in the running to be named best history museum in the U.S.

The museum offers scenic views of the Mississippi River.


Man charged with attempted murder of White Bear Lake police officer

Daniel Holmgren Jr., 33, was being served an arrest warrant at the time of the incident.


Gallery: 1,000-acre Wisconsin resort listed for nearly $4.3M

The lush landscape features a creek and private lake.

school bus

Alert after Woodbury students approached by strangers asking if they want candy

Valley Crossing Elementary School urged parents to go over safety information with their children in response to the incident.

basketball unsplash stock

North St. Paul basketball cancels Eden Prairie game after opposing coach's reinstatement

Head Coach Cornelius Gilleylen said he let his players decide amongst themselves.



COVID-19 case linked to protest at rodeo in northern Minnesota

Health officials are asking those who attended to watch for symptoms.


Thousands attend a 'protest against government overreach' at MN rodeo

Health guidelines limited how many people could attend, so they protested instead.

Screen Shot 2020-05-17 at 10.33.50 PM

AG Ellison sues Stearns County bar owner who plans to open

Bars and restaurants are still subject to a mandatory shutdown due to COVID-19.

Alibi Drinkery in Lakeville.

Here's a list of businesses the state has taken action against for violating COVID rules

As of Dec. 31, 2020, the state has taken action against more than 20 businesses that defied Gov. Walz's executive orders.

Screen Shot 2020-05-31 at 7.07.04 PM

Gov. Tim Walz says AG Keith Ellison will lead George Floyd prosecutions

He will take over the lead from Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman.