The first cast: A fly fishing essay






7am • Friday The coffeemaker does its thing just like every other Friday morning, perking away automatically at seven. But this is not any other Friday. There’s work ahead of us, of course—unloading, paddling, at least one serious portage—but this work is eagerly anticipated. Work that brings sweat, physical progress, distance made from city and […]

Sepak attack: The sport of takraw is gaining a foothold in Minnesota






Thirty people are are dispersed between two nets on a near perfect August night outside Olson Middle School in North Minneapolis. Younger players, roughly between 20 and 40, play at one court, 50-and-60-somethings at the other. The courts are twined-off, the grass worn. Spectators cheer from the sidelines. From a distance, this might seem like […]

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Wood-fired feasting: Lessons from Chef Camp






In the opening of his book “The Magic of Fire,” William Rubel writes that “firelight infuses everything cooked on the hearth with a touch of magic.” This may be doubly true for the campfire, the outdoor hearth that has been bringing people together at dinnertime since before the dawn of history. It was a love […]

Raising hackles: The prized chickens at the center of fly fishing






Nine hens and a rooster scuttle through the straw in a large pen in Steph and Eric West’s backyard in Grant, Minnesota. These are three-month-old Whiting True Blues—a breed that’s been selected to lay gorgeous blue eggs. The birds give a cockeyed warble to the Buttercup chickens rooting through the grass on the other side of […]

Field and revenue stream: How hunting contributes to wildlife conservation






In some parts of Minnesota, it’s no big deal to see trumpeter swans flying overhead, their black bills in stark contrast to their white bodies. It’s exciting to hear the trumpeting sound they make and exhilarating to feel as much as hear the thumping sound their wings make as they fly overhead. And while trumpeter swans […]

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Pain & Glory: The brutal, beer-soaked, free-for-all also known as Cyclocross






Holy hell this hurts. Holy Hell this hurts. Holy hell This Hurts. HOLY HELL THIS HURTS… What starts as a cursory observation turns into a sadistic mantra that ricochets around the brain during the 45–60 minute full-tilt boogie that is the average cyclocross race. Sure, other thoughts creep in from time to time, like “Why I am […]

Play ball: Returning to the roots of America’s pastime






Across the northlands each summer people flock to ballparks big and small to revel in the American tradition and pastime of the game we call baseball. They set up their folding chairs along grassy third-base lines, settle into cushioned seats under flashy jumbotrons, or relax on rickety bleachers behind home plate. This tradition dates as […]

Welcome to boathouse island






The view from the Highway 43 bridge that crosses from Winona into Wisconsin is pristine: muddy blue-brown channels and green islands decorate the Mississippi River as it flows past Winona’s historic downtown. On Latsch Island, situated on the Minnesota side of the river border, there are several fixtures along the beach just next to the […]

Photos: MN United FC vs. Club León at Target Field






Minnesota United FC took on Mexico’s Club León in the first ever soccer match at Target Field on June 25. Though the friendly game ended in a 2-4 loss for the home team, it was a great experience for fans in attendance, particularly the two main supporter groups, the Dark Clouds and True North Elite. The […]

Minnesota United FC brought the world’s game to Target Field






June 25 was a typical Saturday at Nomad World Pub in Minneapolis. Soccer matches filled every TV screen and black and blue soccer kits crowded the bar as members of the Dark Clouds, a Minnesota United FC supporters group, downed a pint (or three) of beer before heading to the match. However, instead of the […]

Minnesota’s stunning streams lure trout anglers






Anglers drawn by the lure of stunning streams have plenty of places to fish for trout in Minnesota. Southeast Minnesota, a land of forested hills and shaded valleys, is laced with high-quality streams that harbor brook, brown and rainbow trout. The state’s premier trout fishing destination, the region’s many streams—hundreds of miles of them—are among […]

Return of the rapids: Could the Upper Mississippi River run wild again?






Boulders and whitecaps surround me. My kayak feels unsteady at best, a mere toy in the hands of Mother Nature. I secure my helmet a notch tighter and grip my paddle with adrenaline-fueled super-human strength. I’ve never whitewater kayaked before, but I’m determined to learn. And what better place to do so than my hometown of […]

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On boards: How a Minnesotan taught the world to water ski






The date is Saturday, July 22, 1922. The place is Lake City, Minnesota, on the waters of Lake Pepin, the largest naturally occurring lake on the Mississippi River. The time is 4pm. The scene is set for Lake City native Ralph Samuelson to carve his name into sporting history. Samuelson, who is just one day […]

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Craft Culture: Great Northern Boatworks turns unusable boats into show pieces






Along the eastern edge of a chewed-up dirt lot off Como Avenue in St. Paul, the pristine white bow of a Windsor Craft boat noses through a large garage door, reflecting the bright afternoon sun. It’s an odd place to spot a boat, considering there’s not a drop of water in sight. The buildings around […]

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Roaring Dan Seavey: Pirate of the Great Lakes






When you envision a pirate, there’s a definite pop culture template. Johnny Depp, obviously; maybe Captain Hook or Errol Flynn for you old-timers. (Underrated pirate: Dave Parker of the 1979 World Series champion Pittsburgh Pirates.) He has an eye patch, a treasure map, a sword, and he says “arrrrrrrrrr” and “matey,” a lot. He is […]

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