Over a casual conversation, longtime friends Tommy Dehler and Shaun Hagglund came to the same conclusion: their businesses cater to fans. Dehler runs the Rock N’ Roll Music Sale about three times a year. Hagglund owns Fan HQ, a sports apparel and collectibles store in Ridgedale Mall.
Dehler and Hagglund decided to merge their operations to host an event for both music and sports collectors. They called it the Rock N Jock Expo.
“Our goal was to try to create crossover and synergy between sports and music,” Dehler said. “Sales ended up being one-third music stuff, one-third just sports, and one-third crossover. So we were pretty happy to see that attendees enjoyed the mix.”
The success of the inaugural Rock N Jock Expo in 2013 compelled Dehler and Hagglund to put it on for a second time. In a poll they conducted, 90% of attendees said they would attend the event again—and bring a friend. “There are lots of people who want to buy a Twins shirt and a Led Zeppelin album,” Dehler said.
The 2014 Rock N Jock Expo, on March 16, will again be held at the New Hope Cinema Grill. The general expo will run from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and is free to the public. Thousands of records, as well as discounted sports apparel, will be for sale.
Throughout the day, there will be movie screenings, autograph sessions, and live music. On the sports side, Dehler and Hagglund plan to show Ballplayer: Pelotero, a film that focuses on Minnesota Twins super-prospect Miguel Sano and follows two young Dominican baseball players’ journeys to the big leagues. Attendees will also be able to meet and receive autographs from Bud Grant, the former Minnesota Vikings head coach; Kent Hrbek, a former Minnesota Twins player; and Caleb Truax, a local boxer.
For the musically inclined, Rock N Jock will feature a live performance and question-and-answer panel with Grant Hart, musician and former member of Hüsker Dü. This will occur in conjunction with a screening of Every Everything, a documentary about his career. (Read Andrea Swensson’s review of Every Everything.)
“The real goal that we’re trying to do is create a unique and intimate experience,” Dehler said. “You wonder how many musicians are going to come to a sports event, but Grant is really enthusiastic.”
Last year’s Rock N Jock did not feature live music. Dehler hopes the addition of Hart will help attract a larger crowd. (Tickets, available here, are required for the Hart performance and film screening; as well as for certain other autographs and meet-and-greets.)
Hart sees music and sports as a natural combination. “I think there is a breaking down of the music-versus-sports paradigm,” he said. “When we see a ball game there is a lot of music.”
Hart looks forward to playing in front of a new audience in his hometown. “I defy expectations,” he said. “If the audience acts like it is a ball game, they will get their nine innings.”
Ellie Fuqua is a freshman at Macalester College. She plans to double major in international studies and media and cultural studies, and hopes to pursue journalism as a career.