When my paternal grandfather immigrated from Stadsbygd, Norway in 1880, he took the train to the end of the line, which at the time was in western Minnesota. From there, he and a couple of comrades hiked several miles to Rothsay, Minnesota where they found jobs with local farmers. I'd never visited Rothsay until this afternoon when I spotted an exit for it on the Interstate between Fargo and Fergus Falls (I'd been in southeastern North Dakota at a family reunion replenishing my "Minndakota" accent).
Upon entering Rothsay (population 500), which is located in gently rolling prairie just east of the pool-table-flat Red River Valley, one is greeted by this giant prairie chicken statue. Oh boy, by giant, I mean I could stand under the beak!
The Rothsaians claim only that it's the "Prairie Chicken Capital of Minnesota." One wonders if it's because there are other prairie chicken capitals in, say, the two Dakotas or up in Manitoba or Saskatchewan that may have even grander prairie chicken statues which keep Rothsay from claiming it's the "Prairie Chicken Capital of the World." Or perhaps it's just typical Minnesota modesty. And to think this has been a family secret for 127 years!
Sadly, I saw no live prairie chickens in or near Rothsay, but the locally-made Rice Krispies bars sold at Rothsay's Tesoro truck stop are hands down the best in the world. Man alive! I didn't unwrap it until I got to Fergus and darn near made a u-turn to go back and get another one. Somehow, though, I don't think a giant Rice Krispie bar statue would be much of a tourist draw. --Dennis