Hot Sam’s Antiques & Foto Park

Drive though Lakeville on I-35W and you’ll see a great yellow billboard: “Hot Sam’s 10-Acres Antweaks & Photo Park.” It is a singular place: an antique shop surrounded by sculptures welded from scrap and other curiosities, presided over by Alley-Oop. Whether you would go to take photos with the myriad props or just drink in its uncanny energy, Hot Sam’s is well worth the trip.

Dakota Rodeo

“I’ve always been in the horse and livestock business,” said Joe Simon of Dakota Rodeo. “Back in about 1980 I took a couple of my bucking horses to this one fella’s rodeo to sell. These were good horses — one of them bucked a rider right off. I thought that my price was already low, but the fella wanted to give me even less than I was asking. He told me that if I wanted that much money, then I ought to just do rodeo myself. I was young, so I did.

Mick’s Scuba

“Scuba diving is just a whole new world,” said Aaron Olson, owner of Mick’s Scuba. “You’re with a group of people, and yet you’re not. All you can hear is you — your breathing, your bubbles. You can see walleye and northern in the lake near your house, or vast expanses of yellow-green coral and tropical fish in the Caribbean. But no matter what, you’re amazed every time you go out.”

Bullington Frenchies

Genetics have reached their limit with the French Bulldog. No further breeding could produce a more impish looking creature. The Frenchie has a network of wrinkles on his forehead that makes him look constantly in thought, and his long, up pointed ears give his apple head the appearance of navy sonar equipment. He has a doughty expression with his pushed in snoot, yet no guile ever shines behind his wide-set eyes. In short, he’s a cutie.