Weather Forecast


Minnesota town’s 4-year-old mayor draws national attention

Dorset Mayor Robert Tufts indicates he got three bean bags in the hole Friday, May 10, 2013, during a game at the community picnic in downtown Park Rapids, Minn. The mayor is becoming a national sensation after a video of him went viral. (Anna Erickson/Park Rapids Enterprise)

DORSET, Minn. -- Dorset’s Mayor, Robert “Bobbie” Tufts, has become a national sensation after a WCCO TV interview went viral over the weekend.

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 his or her 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 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 and had more than 10,000 hits as of Tuesday morning.

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

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 home pages 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.”

Forum News Service

The Forum Communications News Service is the premier news wire service covering the Upper Midwest, including the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin. In addition to breaking and enterprise news, we offer a wide variety of sports, features, business, agriculture, outdoors and opinion content. For more information about the services we offer or to discuss content subscriptions, please contact us.