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The Enthusiasts

The heartbeat of Minnesota comes from the passion of its citizens. For some, it's politics, or sports. Their passion often leads to fame. But each day, thousands of Minnesotans direct their passion -- their enthusiasm -- into everyday pursuits, far from the glare of the media. During the summer of 2003, Minnesota Public Radio producers and reporters are documenting these pursuits in a collage of stories that document the varied nature and interests of our neighbors. Stop by each week for the latest installment.

Tell us about your enthusiasm. Whether it's soft ball playing, canoe building; surfing Lake Superior or home construction of aircraft. We're interested in activities that provide some healthy escape or maybe even helps you make sense of the world. (More )

Broadcast editor: Mike Edgerly
Online editor: Bob Collins
Interactive editor: Julia Schrenkler
Art director: Ben Tesch

Go to story Document The balloonist
Flying a hot air balloon can be a time consuming and expensive hobby. The colorful balloons cost tens of thousands of dollars. You can only fly when the weather is good, and you go where the wind takes you. But for a Fargo attorney it's an avocation that's allowed him to meet interesting people around the world.

Go to story Document The beetle man
Lots of people get excited about wolves and bald eagles, but who gets excited about tiger beetles? Ron Huber does.

Go to story Document The treasure hunters
The sport known as geocaching is catching on. The sport combines high-tech gadgetry with the ancient lure of treasure hunting. Pam Combs hunts for treasure this new-fashioned way.

Go to story Document The rodeo queen
When she was a little kid, Amber Hultman hated horses. Now, at age 16, she's the Minnesota High School Rodeo Queen. But she says being queen is much more than looking pretty while riding a horse.

Go to story Document The dog lover
You may be a dog lover, but your passion can't compare to Karen Elvin's. Elvin's family has been raising one particular breed since 1943: the Norwegian Elkhound.

Go to story Document The phenologist mail carrier
John Latimer records the coming and going of nature. He drives a mail route in the north woods near Grand Rapids, and hosts a program about phenology on a local community radio station.

Go to story Document The sheep shearer
Doug Rathke shears sheep for a living and competes in shearing competitions around the country and abroad.

Go to story Document The bicycle guy
Minneapolis resident Gary Hoover commutes on a bicycle -- actually a tricyle. The self-employed handyman is a common sight on south Minneapolis streets. He's the bearded fellow pedaling a bright red, custom-made cargo three-wheeler.

Go to story Document The guardian of the Air Guard museum
Ray Peterson has devoted thousands of hours to the Air Guard museum over nearly 20 years. The museum's displays feature the Minnesota Air National Guard's history, aircraft, and a rare Blackbird spy plane.

Go to story Document The fisherman's fisherman
Lots of people have fishing lures. But Ken Bachman has hundreds, possibly thousands of lures collected over the past 25 years.

Go to story Document The artcar lady
Jan Elftman, known to many as The Cork Truck Lady. She covered the exterior of her Mazda truck with thousands of old wine corks. Now she's making her next art car. This time she's using ashtrays.

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