A fleet of bicycles, black, sleek and flashy—with neon yellow trim –were massed June 26 at the Trinity Lutheran parking lot.
Area Shriners and Masons went all out with a special, coronavirus bike give-away. Similar to the El Zagel Shrine circus, which was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were concessions, prizes and the sort of fun the Shriners have made famous—though on a somewhat scaled down fashion. Forty-four Pelican area kids rode off with brand new two-wheelers.
Kids lined up for photos as each bike was presented at the Trinity Lutheran Church parking lot.
Pictured are regional Shrine leaders Jason Kirkwood, Detroit Lakes, left, and Mike Dow, Moorhea
Pelican first grade youngster Rayder Hodson, pictured with Pelican area members of the Otter Tail Masonic Lodge: Blake Meland, Bill Osborne and Harold Holt. Also pictured, representing the Pelican schools, elementary principal Derrick Nelson, far right, and Kim Nelson, kneeling at left.
Pictured with her new bike, Britchadashal Laureles, and her mom Suzette.

Area Shriners, Masons delight Pelican kids unable to go to the big show this year

Area Shriners and Masons don’t do stuff on a small scale.

Normally, they entertain kids with big things—like elephants and three-ring circuses. And clowns, acrobats, and daring performers on tightropes and trapezes, in the spotlight.

Well, due to COVID circumstances beyond their control, the annual Shrine circus was cancelled. Sponsors had already been lined up, 44 of them in the Pelican area alone.

So…How do you replace a circus?

Hand out a warehouse full of bikes to kids.

The bike presentation at the Pelican Rapids Trinity Lutheran Church wasn’t exactly a big show in an arena. But Shriners and Masons went all out—including concessions, prizes, and goodies.

An outdoor grill was set up, and families enjoyed a free meal with their free bike. With hot dogs and treats, it was sort of like the Big Top. Absent was the sticky cotton candy, gumming up the works—which was probably appreciated by the parents.

There was no shortage of help, as nearly 40 volunteered for the circus replacement engagement.

“They’re very generous to donate that many bikes to our students,” said Principal Derrick Nelson, who provided the Shriners with 44 randomly selected names. “This is really a nice set-up.”

The Pelican Rapids area has always been extremely supportive of the Shrine Circus. Local Masons line up dozens of sponsors, with Pelican’s support rivaling that of larger communities in the area. The number of bikes distributed was directly correlated, one-to-one, for each sponsor. In the Pelican area this year, 44 businesses and others sponsored the circus—so 44 bikes were given away.

“We can’t say enough about the sponsors,” said Detroit Lakes Shriner Jerome Tappe. “They make the circus possible every year.”

The bike presentations went a little slower than anticipated on June 26, as a number of Pelican area families misunderstood the notices—driving to Trinity Lutheran in Detroit Lakes, rather than Trinity in Pelican Rapids.

Despite the misunderstanding, everybody walked away with a smile on their face—especially the young bikers.

Pelican Rapids Bike Winners Sponsors
• Park Region Co-op
• Rehab Plus Fitness
• Heart O’ Lakes Meats
• Dugout Bar
• VFW
• Mr. Plumber
• Light Speed Electric
• Rocky’s Bait
• Duckwitz Trucking
• Hendricks Road Maint.
• Northwest Glass
• Krekelberg Law
• Lakes Area Kitchens
• Christensen Bus
• Lakeland General Store
• Farmers Elevator
• Grefsrud Farms
• Super Septic & Excavation
• Egge Construction
• Blake Meland
• Larry’s Supermarket
• MN Warehouse Furniture
• SB Inc.
• Bobcat of Ottertail
• HA Thompson and Sons
• Ballard Sanitation
• Pelican Pete’s
• Southtown Subway
• Integrity Homes
• Captains Pub
• Pelican Liquors
• Owen & Becky Thompson
• Arntson Construction
• Shada Seed
• Northern Exposure
• Midwest Tire
• Wells Construction
• Sherbrooke Turf
• JRK Transport
• Marita Thompson
• Satter Trucking
• Everett & Shannon Erickson
• Premier Taxidermy
• Dakota Smile

Circus among fundraisers for the 22 famous Shriner Childrens Hospitals

The El Zagel Shrine has 23 units, and 14 Shrine Clubs—and are famous for the annual Shrine Circus.

It’s not all fun and games, as the Shrine Clubs and the affiliated Masons support 22 Shriner Hospitals for children.

For information on the Shrine organization and the Shriner Hospitals for Children, website is elzagel.org.