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Pedal power bar hopper fizzles in Fargo

The Bar Hopper, owned by Jamestown, N.D., native Jon Vannett, is a pedal-powered vehicle chartered by riders who can bring their own alcohol and drink as they cruise city streets while a hired, sober driver steers. Special to The Forum

A pedal-powered vehicle built for 15 met another roadblock in getting approval from Fargo to allow drinking aboard.

The City Commission voted 3-1 to deny Jon Vannett permission to allow riders to drink alcohol on his Bar Hopper vehicle.

The Bar Hopper is allowed to run in Detroit Lakes and Moorhead because Minnesota law allows an exemption for alcohol aboard such a vehicle.

But North Dakota doesn't have the same provision, and city ordinance would make the practice fall under its drinking-in-public laws, City Attorney Erik Johnson said.

Commissioner Dave Piepkorn was the lone dissenting vote and vowed to help Vannett work through his proposal over the winter.

Piepkorn, who sits on the Liquor Control Board, saw Vannett operating the vehicle last month during the Bison football home opener at the Fargodome and said he likes the idea.

Commissioner Brad Wimmer was absent for the vote.

Vannett will spend the offseason getting his vehicle running smoothly and ironing out the details of his operation with the city in hopes of having it set to ride by spring.