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All this, and a water park, too. Weeds, 6/13/12

June 16, 2012 - Randy Krzmarzick
So, a lot of times when I am in New Ulm, people come up to me and say, “Randy, our family is thinking of vacationing in Sleepy Eye this year, but is there really enough to do?” I’m here to tell you the only question is whether one or even two weeks is enough time.

When you begin your vacation in Sleepy Eye, the first thing you’re going to notice is that we have a water park and a lake. A lot of cities don’t have a water park and a lake. Not to rub it in, but New Ulm does not have a water park and a lake. I know it sounds like bragging. But it ain’t bragging if you got it. And we do. Have a water park and a lake, I mean.

Tourism in Sleepy Eye rode the wave of the Little House on the Prairie craze for some time. If you lived near Walnut Station in 1875, Sleepy Eye was the Big City, with all of its amenities and temptations. The TV series was immensely popular. People came from all over to see the little prairie town where Pa Ingalls went for supplies and Slick McBurney pitched for the hated Sleepy Eye Green Stockings.

That was a problem. We weren’t really a little prairie town anymore. We had things like cars and electricity; the saloons that tempted Pa were long gone and Slick quit pitching when he tore his ACL. Little House fanatics seemed so disappointed when they got here.

Then the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau came up with a bold plan to cash in on Little House mania. They convinced the City Council to ban anything that had been invented in the last 100 years. Little House fans loved it, and they poured into Sleepy Eye by the bus-fulls. We missed our TV’s and refrigerators, but were glad to take the tourist’s dollars.

Unfortunately our Grand Experiment in History ended badly when a gunfight broke out between the cowboys and the farmers during a dance at the Orchid Inn. By then, we’d also grown tired of the grippe and the dropsy and black plague. The city council rescinded their motion, modern luxuries returned, and the Little Houseaholics quit coming.

(OK, I might exaggerate a bit. To distinguish truth from my personal ravings, I am putting this in parenthesis. Googling Little House on the Prairie, I came across “Frequently Asked Questions” that wondered if Sleepy Eye was a real or fictional city. The answer was, “As of today there is a city with the name Sleepy Eye located in the county of Brown in Minnesota, United States.” Apparently, we’re day-to-day around here.)

(Oh, and the part about us having a water park and a lake? That’s true!)

But there is so-much-more to see in Sleepy Eye beyond our pioneer roots. Unfortunately it’s tough to get tickets to see the number one attraction in town. They were sold out in March, but you might want to check on StubHub. I’m speaking of the Bopper Heiderscheidt Show.

Bopper, a.k.a. Lenus, runs a skid loader. That is like saying Placido Domingo sings. Lenus is an artist, an entertainer, and an all around showman. Really, watching any of the Heiderscheidts run equipment is worth the price of admission. Nothing beats Larry “accidentally” stopping his backhoe bucket a quarter inch from your head.

But Bopper takes it to another level. All the while he is defying gravity with his skid loader, he is offering a running commentary. He mixes current events, religion, politics in a way that is, well, unique. Even the stuff that doesn’t make sense sort of makes sense. Did that make any sense?

Bopper’s jobsite is staked out like the Masters with ropes separating the gallery from the performer. While general admission tickets are gone for the “2012 Bopper Heiderscheidt Season-On-The-Brink,” there are a few left for the VIP tent. There you can get your picture taken with the Swami of the Skid Loader.

One thing about vacationing in Sleepy Eye, we like to bring balance to your life. For example, if you’re an out-of-shape slob who huffs and puffs as you waddle past the salad portion of the buffet, we’ll set you up with Brent Mielke at Studio 34 Fitness. In one week, Brent will tear you down and build you up. No one back in New Ulm will believe it’s you. You’ll be eating healthy, pumping iron, running laps; that’s just before 6:00 AM!

But, like I said, we’re all about balance. You may already be toned, buffed, tanned, and really sort of hard to be around because all the rest of us hate you. If that’s the case, and your life has spun hopelessly in control, we have the Let R Go Package. Being the health-stud that you are, we’re going to assume you have not been exposed to the benefits of a darkened bar on a sunny summer afternoon. Psychotherapists note that it is very womb-like.

At 1:00 you start out at the Railway where you’ll get in a few hands of Sheepshead with the old guys in the corner. You’ll probably just have coffee, but we encourage you to have a couple heaters out on the patio. Around 3:00 we shuttle you over to Meyer’s. Since its 5:00 somewhere, its time for a beer and a bump. Life coaches Ole and Scott are on retainer behind the bar. Ole specializes in marital matters, while Scott focuses on financial advisement.

Then about 5:00, you’re off to the Servicemen’s Club, where guys are coming in after work. Here, you will learn everything that is wrong with Obama/Romney/Dayton/Twins/Vikings/Clinton/Bush. Heck, we can go back to Roosevelt and Bob Schnelker. Finally, we whoosh you to the City Limits for a cheeseburger with extra fries and one beer too many. That obnoxious healthy lifestyle? Nothing that a week in Sleepy Eye can’t take care of!

Did I mention Sleepy Eye has a water park and a lake?

 
 

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