Two big air shows will converge upon the Mille Lacs County Fairgrounds on the Fourth of July. The annual fireworks show sponsored by the Princeton American Legion at the fairgrounds will fill the skies over Princeton with an explosion of color beginning at dusk.
But long before that, an air show of a different kind will thrill spectators at the fairgrounds.
As the Mille Lacs County Fair Board works toward its goal of building a new animal barn to house the poultry, rabbits and llamas, it booked a 90-minute show of the ATV Big Air Tour 5 p.m. July 4 at the fairgrounds, 1400 Third St. N.
A “pit party” takes place from 4-4:45 p.m. where the public can meet drivers and check out the machines, as well as win prizes and enter a kids-bike raffle.
Tickets for the show cost $15 for adults and $10 for children ages 6-14; kids under 6 are free with a paying adult. While the performers don’t work for free, the fair entity benefits from hosting the show on its grounds. Pat Braun, one of the fair’s directors, and Derek Guetter, one of the ATV riders, said it is the first time for this type of show to happen in Princeton.
Braun said some of the County Fair team attends an annual county-fair conference where they go to learning sessions and meet vendors. One year the fair booked a BMX bike team that Braun said was “wonderful” to work with and delivered a great performance.
She said, “I expect this to be no different.”
At this year’s conference they met Guetter, who with his brothers started an ATV “big-air” exhibition show. He lives in Redwood Falls but knows Princeton since he used to live in Otsego and one of his brothers used to live near St. Cloud.
Joining the high-flying ATVs will be professional motorcycle stunt riders and BMX Megajump team riders as some jump as high as 75 feet, do back flips and perform other “death-defying stunts” on their machines.
Guetter said, “I am the owner (of the ATV Big Air Tour) and one of the riders.”
He said the show will include eight or nine riders starting with basic things and building up to a big finish. Guetter said at the end they’ll try to get multiple riders airborne simultaneously; he calls one of the motorcycle riders who will be there “one of the best in the world.”
Braun said the Fourth of July show includes other attractions at the fairgrounds such as the Minnesota Lift Trucks display, Walter’s Wheelhouse Band out of St Cloud after the show, Firehouse BBQ, the 4-H Food Stand, a beer garden and ice cream vendors. The night concludes with the big Princeton fireworks show at dusk sponsored mainly by the American Legion.
She said the fair board saw the event as an opportunity to help raise the funds needed for the new barn. Construction of the barn is scheduled to begin July 5; it will house poultry, rabbits and llamas; and it is being built south of the Pavilion building, east of the 4-H General Exhibit building.
Guetter said the show includes three, four-wheeled, all-terrain vehicles; two motorcycles and at least three BMX bike riders. Some people can recall seeing parts of the show in other places, but this is the “full” show of 90 minutes with all the machines.
“Not many people do what we do with ATVs,” Guetter said, adding that they do some modifications to the machines. “And you don’t have to be a fan of motor sports to enjoy the show.”
He said they do it as their main job, have a clothing line and are among few in the world to do back flips on ATVs. He and his brothers started the tour 12 years ago and after 30 countries lost count of how many they have traveled to for a performance.
They have made four films and Guetter said he and a team member recently returned from a month-long job in Hawaii as the stunt doubles/riders for actors Zac Efron and Adam Devine in the movie “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” being released soon.