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Adventure. It's something we do every summer while on vacation. Packing for an extended excursion or just for the day, taking a drive out of the city to a small community for a slice of calm is just what the soul needs.

Forget that gas prices are around $3.50 per gallon, this is the best-spent money for a ticket to the simpler side of life. The other side if you will. The side some of your relatives talk about. And, the reason those relatives have lower blood pressure.

In the small Minnesota community of Hamel, located in Hennepin County, residents are close enough to the big city atmosphere but still far enough away. Just under 30 minutes from downtown Minneapolis.


Ever been to Medina, Minnesota? Well, their unincorporated neighbor is Hamel.

The dust still has yet to settle in Hamel on the heels of the 4th of July holiday. That is due to the World's Champion Hamel Rodeo & Bull Ridin' Bonanza.

With a nod to Only In Your State, Hamel's claim-to-fame is the tag Rodeo Capital of Minnesota.

Not only does the four-day event have its Bull Riding Bonanza, other featured events include Bareback Riding, Saddle Bronc Riding, Tie Down Roping, Steer Wrestling, Team Roping, and Barrel Racing.


If you're a fan of rodeo, yes there are many other larger shows around the country like Cody and Cheyenne, Wyoming. And those would be great road trips for the family too. Both take you across South Dakota and the Black Hills.


This summer get out of the city and experience a small town. Take a walk outside your comfort zone and see what's out there.

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Dives Worth a Drive in South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota

Almost every small South Dakota town has a watering hole. It’s where the locals go to kick back a few brews and engage in conversation.

Some of these establishments are located in buildings almost as old as the town itself. There might be a fresh coat of paint on the walls or new vinyl on the booth seats, but the ambiance is still reminiscent of a good ol’ dive.

If you think a "dive" is all about the sketchy clientele, the smell of the Devil’s lettuce, and stale Grain Belt, you’d be wrong. Not every dive has a bad reputation.

What makes a dive, a dive?

A dive has character. Neon beer signs and local memorabilia adorn the walls.

You might find a pool table, dart board, and a few video lottery machines.

The bartender knows the regulars by name and they know what you drink.

Some dives don't even serve food except for bags of chips and pickled eggs that sit in a jar of brine on the bar.

Dives aren't fancy. You might see 70's-style wood panels on the walls and wobbly tables leveled with a folded napkin.

Finally, the bathrooms. The bathrooms in dives are in a class by themselves and could be a whole topic on its own. 

There are several small-town dives in our area with friendly faces, cheap booze with a burn, and even really good food! We use the term "dive" in the most affectionate way.

Here are some of the best and why you should go there.

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