Dakota Zoo

How much poorer would the world be without its zoos? Until we had the clever idea to house animals from all over the globe in one place, only the most intrepid hunters and explorers had any hope of seeing a wolf, a tiger, and a scarlet macaw in one lifetime, let alone an afternoon. Not since Noah’s day had so many creatures been available for viewing all at once — and even then the sight was only available to a very select few.

Mees Physical Therapy

Empathy and enthusiasm — these are the two most important qualifications that a physical therapist can have, and if you looked up either in the dictionary a picture of Missy Mees would smile right back at you. Missy devastated one of her legs during a game of basketball when she was a teenager, so she knows firsthand the kind of pain that her patients suffer from. That she spent so great a part of her younger years receiving physical therapy would also lead her to love the practice entirely. A local lady, Missy studied physical therapy at University of Mary and went on to hone her skills in rural North Dakota. Seventeen years later she is now the proprietor of Mees Physical Therapy, the place to go when you’ve “earned” your injury, whether through hard work or hard play, and deserve just as much to get better.

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.

Otter Creek 55 Mountain Bike Race & Festival

“We started this race over a decade ago,” said Collin Kemmesat, general manager of 701 Cycle and Sport. “It was originally called ‘Race to Sunset,’ and because there was a big push in endurance mountain bike racing back then it lasted for a grueling 12 hours, from sun up until sundown. We ran it that way for almost eight years until we decided it was time to change things up a bit. We wanted to reinvigorate the race — and found the perfect new venue for it at Harmon Lake.

Shoe-Zam

Shoe-Zam first opened in Bismarck in 2000. The locally owned business started out small in Kirkwood Mall, a venture born of owner Connie and Bob Lundin’s love for peerless customer service and world-class apparel. Those passions proved a potent combination, and so Shoe-Zam celebrated their move to a new location in Mandan last year. The store now stands as the area’s premier destination for shoe shopping.

Roundhouse

Show me the way

To the next whiskey bar

Everybody knows about The Elbow Room downtown. It’s that distinctly Midwestern species of neighborhood bar in which you could recognize every face cast in the light of the neon beer signs. Budweiser placards depicting animals that can be either hunted or milked line the walls, a NASA-like array of television screens apprise patrons of sports and only sports, and the occasional clatter of an overenthusiastically struck pool ball bouncing across the floor tiles elicits stares and tacit disapproval of everyone nearby. They all could have made that shot.