Thousands of people attended a rodeo in northern Minnesota in spite of Gov. Tim Walz's Stay Safe MN order, which limits how many people can gather for outdoor events.
The North Star Stampede marked its 65th anniversary in Effie over the weekend. Prior to the event, organizer Cimmaron Pitzen shared in a Facebook group dedicated to the rodeo that it would happen with no spectators, but no one would be turned away if they showed up.
"Thanks to John Olson from the Mn Dept. of Health and Jason Pleggenkuhle from the Attorney General's office pushing their political agendas, 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.'"
The venue can hold about 530 people, based on state guidelines, but due to the executive order, the number of spectators would have to be limited to 25 percent capacity, or 132 people, the Star Tribune reported.
According to KBJR 6, Pitzen had worked with the Itasca County Sheriff's Office to hold the event, while taking precautions to help prevent the spread of the virus, like social distancing and cleaning.
Despite a rainy and muddy weekend, FOX 21 said thousands showed up to protest the governor's use of executive powers and government overreach during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the North Star Stampede Facebook group, many attendees said it wasn't their first rodeo, but it was their first protest. Some brought homemade signs or wore shirts that criticized Walz.
Among those in attendance was Rob Farnsworth, who is running for Minnesota State Representative. He told FOX 21 that he wasn't worried about his health, he was more concerned about the civil liberties, personal freedoms and personal responsibility.
There were no issues between protesters and law enforcement, an attendee told the Star Tribune.