It’s coming down to the wire in Outside’s fourth annual “Best Towns Tournament,” and Minnesota Democrats are doing their darnedest to ensure that nobody, but nobody — that means you, Beehive Staters — comes between Duluth and sweet, sweet victory.
The monthlong competition has seen its share of ups and downs, with the two top contenders battling hard for national recognition.
Along the way, Duluth handily disposed of Columbia, Mo. (enjoying a nearly 5-to-1 advantage in the first round); then trumped Athens, Ohio (second round); La Crosse, Wis. (third round); neighboring Minneapolis (fourth round) and Asheville, N.C. (fifth round), to reach the finals.
Provo bested Jackson, Wyo. (first round); Taos, N.M. (second round); Missoula, Mont. (third round); Anchorage, Alaska (fourth round), and then just barely squeaked by Ithaca, N.Y. (receiving just 51 percent of the votes in the fifth round), in its bid to achieve destination travel dominance.
With municipal bragging rights up for grabs through Sunday (voting closes just before the stroke of midnight June 15), the Minnesota delegation is letting the trash talk fly.
How is this even a contest? #VoteDuluth http://t.co/jI4tqwQ3Lj — U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan (@USRepRickNolan) June 9, 2014
This one's a no-brainer. #VoteDuluth for @outsidemagazine's Best Towns 2014: http://t.co/pSlShjm7Cr -Al — Al Franken (@alfranken) June 9, 2014
Based on their continued Twitter silence surrounding the entire affair, Utah lawmakers are either supremely confident or completely unaware of the territorial tug-of-war.
Meanwhile, HOH asked Teams Franken and Nolan to share some insights into what, exactly, makes Duluth so infinitely cool.
Sadly, we were provided no such guidance. So, we went digging on our own.
From the looks of things, Duluth is the type of place that wholly embraces:
Why battle crowds in the Big Apple when there's a pint-sized replica of Lady Liberty to admire right beside the local convention center?
Freakishly large things
Get a load of the giant auto repair manual immortalized in the "Books on the Plaza" mural that adorns the downtown library.
And totally insane things
(Remember that time we all dropped acid, donned medieval attire and then formed a conga line behind a giant bunny over in Enger Park? Yeah, me neither ... )
Getting better acquainted with Provo proved somewhat more challenging, given that our only frame of reference was what we'd gleaned from fellow hack Irwin Maurice Fletcher.
Turns out, Provo has some pretty solid selling points.
There's kolache for all
Feeling love for @provocity today. Kolache fest at @hruskaskolaches this morning and the first @pfarmersmarket of the season! #provorocks — Natalie Taylor (@nataliesandberg) June 7, 2014
“Bike Prom” — that’s how they roll
Hey! #ProvoBikeProm went right by our house! And they waved at us! pic.twitter.com/EePX9zUuKk — C. Jane Kendrick (@CJaneKendrick) May 17, 2014
Airport security, schmairport security
From parking lot to sitting on the plane took 4 minutes. Love the #ProvoAirport and this city. #provorocks pic.twitter.com/Ti4N3V9YSW — Eric Layland (@erniclintland) May 29, 2014
We’ll remain on tenterhooks until this geographic battle royal is resolved.