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Dorset Mayor takes new fame in stride

Dorset Mayor Robert Tufts indicates he got three bean bags in the hole during a game at the community picnic in downtown Park Rapids Friday night. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)

     Robert is no ordinary mayor. The 4-year-old from Nevis was “elected” mayor of the tiny town of Dorset (population 22) at last year’s Taste of Dorset festival. Each year, anyone can pay $1 to put their name in a hat for a chance to have the title and key to the city for a year.

     Last August, Robert was the lucky winner.

     His mother, Emma, said her son usually includes his title as Dorset Mayor when he meets people.

     “It’s just part of his spiel – he’s always pushing it,” she said. “I don’t think he even realizes it.”

     A visit to Dorset’s restaurants last Thursday was part of the 2013 Governor’s Fishing Opener festivities for media. WCCO TV’s Frank Vascellaro and Chris Shaffer met Robert during their visit and recorded an interview with the young mayor.

     Robert didn’t miss a beat. He described the best bait to use to catch fish, gave a shout out to his girlfriend Sophia and performed a song and dance routine. The video was posted to YouTube over the weekend had more than 10,000 hits as of Tuesday morning.

     “The video has only been up for two days. It’s just crazy,” said Robert’s mother, Emma.

     The Tufts have been receiving media requests from many outlets including World News with Diane Sawyer, Good Morning America, Inside Edition and radio stations from the Twin Cities and beyond. Yahoo and MSN each had stories about Robert on their homepages Monday.

     What does Robert think of all the attention?

     “It’s just another day for him,” his mother said. “He likes the attention but doesn’t think too much of it.”

     The experience has been fun for Emma as well and she thinks the publicity is great for the area.

     “When I was explaining to the person from Yahoo the fishing opener and the celebration, she didn’t understand why we would celebrate fishing,” Emma said. “I told her, this is Minnesota and it’s a big deal here.

     “It’s just awesome for the area, for Dorset, for Park Rapids, for all of Minnesota. It’s huge.”

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
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