October 2, 2009

Rio wins the Olympic bid. Ely loses in first or final round - no one's talking.

Congratulations go out to Rio. We gave it our best shot, but came up short. Guess the pristine million acres of wilderness surrounding this beautiful little town will be preserved for a few more generations. I don't think anyone up here has the energy to go through this mind-boggling, heartbreaking process again!

Thanks to all of you who supported us. Please come visit us anyway. Any time of the year. There's plenty of lodging and always lots to do - as long as a few million of you don't all come at once.

Remember, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is on everyone's list of "Places You Must Visit In Your Lifetime." And the best way is through the town of Ely, Minnesota.

Thanks also to all the IOC members who voted for us in their hearts, even if that didn't translate to a finger pressing a button on a computer. You know who you are, and so do we.

All IOC members receive special discounts on lodging for the next 365 days. (Check in at the Chamber of Commerce Office - 1600 East Sheridan)

We'll try to post more after we step back, have a few beers at the Ely Steakhouse and get some well-deserved sleep.

September 29, 2009

President Obama to travel to Copenhagen

So the President has changed his mind and will now be going to Copenhagen to help Chicago's bid for the 2016 Summer Games. The question here is, what if he sees support waning for Chicago? I have to believe that Rio might have the upper hand right now - it has tremendous support from its residents and many world leaders. Plus, the lure of bringing the Olympics to South America for the first time is huge.

If he sees Chicago losing support and realizes it's not going to happen, will he throw his support behind Ely and try to bring the Games to the US regardless of location? Or will he fight to the end, even if it's a losing cause?

As I recall, Minnesota went pretty strongly for Obama in 2008. He might want to keep that in mind. Of course, having our Governor out there speaking ill of the President doesn't help our cause, but Pawlenty has never come out strongly in support of our effort and he clearly isn't a Range guy, so we have to hope Obama looks past that and can buy into our vision of the first in-ground Olympic Stadium, the first Olympic Village Tent City and all that when his beloved Chicago starts to bite the dust.

The decision comes early Friday morning - this week! - keep your fingers crossed.

In the Ely area this Thursday? Come help us celebrate!

We're rallying for our Olympic bid this Thursday in Whiteside Park. Here are the official details from the Olympic Organizing Committee:

Residents of Ely, MN and city officials are expected to turn out in force for a city- wide rally to cheer for their unofficial bid for the 2016 Summer Games at Whiteside Park on Thursday, October 1, from 4-6 PM. This community rally supporting Ely’s bid is sponsored jointly by the Ely Chamber of Commerce and the City of Ely and will center at the Park’s Pavilion area. The official selection of the site for the 2016 Olympics will be announced from Copenhagen, Denmark the morning of Friday, October 2.

The Summer Games Mascot, Buzzy the Mosquito, chosen in a contest sponsored by Ely Greenstone Public Art, will make a first public appearance. Come join in the fun and excitement that has been building since April 1 for Ely’s unusual Summer Games campaign. In the event of rain, the event will be cancelled; snow ill only slow things down a bit. Ely will be celebrating “Sport” and all athletes, young and old. Please wear 2016 “gear” or Olympic or athletic team uniforms or clothing in the spirit of the Games.

Music will fill the park during the rally, starting with The Ely Memorial High School Band marching into the park in their new uniforms. The newly formed “Largemouth Brass” group will perform rousing rally music and the Ely Pipes and Drums will add an international flair to the lighting of Ely’s symbolic torch. Rob Mattson, guitar and bass, John Ely, steel guitar, dobro & bass, and Bill Bulinski, guitar, well-known local and national performers, have formed 5-Oh!, and will perform from 5-6 PM. They provide a variety of background instrumental music, including pop, country, swing, surf and Hawaiian music, to name a few.

Ely High School Dance Team, directed by Nichole Boitz, will demonstrate new fall routines. Hamburger and hot dog sales, with head chef Frank Ivancich, benefit the Senior Class Washington, D.C. trip. Kids’ activities, sponsored by the Washington Elementary PTO and Ely Young Life, include the “Moon Walk”. The Ely Track Club will have water for sale and Piragis Northwoods Company and Grand Ely Lodge will provide prizes. The Ely DQ Grill and Chill will offer coupons for a free Twist Dilly Bar to kids in games or wearing team or Olympic gear and Ely Northland Market and Zup’s will provide fixins’ for free S’mores for kids at 5:00 PM following the torch lighting.

Other community organizations and non-profits are invited to participate with activities, games or booths and share the spirit of the Games. Please call Muffin Nelson at 235-1912 or Barbara Lyke at 365-6565 if you’d like to be a part of this celebration.

We hope to see you there!

September 15, 2009

Chicago residents not on board with bid. It's Ely's time.

Only 47% of Chicagoans support the city’s Olympic bid. That’s what a recent Chicago Tribune poll revealed earlier this month. That could spell trouble for Chicago’s chances in Copenhagen on October 2 when IOC officials are expected to announce their choice for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

While that may spell bad news for Chicago, it might be just the opening Ely needs to sneak in the back door and capture the crown. We don’t need a formal poll to tell us what we already know: Ely and all its residents are ready to step up and take this on. We’ve got architects lined up for the major projects. We’ve got food caterers salivating at the chance to introduce Iron Range delicacies to the rest of the world. We’ve even found enough ping pong tables and paddles in peoples’ basements to provide our spectacular table tennis facility (admittedly, still on the drawing board) with all the equipment the world’s top players could ever need – not to mention a few Ely teens who think they could push some of these heavily trained Chinese players to the limit. (Have they ever played Polish Ping Pong rules, by the way?)

Yes folks, while the US would totally benefit by having the 2016 Summer Games come to Chicago – and if it happens, we’d love to host a couple of the events (dock dogs and competitive fishing are still at the top of our list) – up here in Ely we think our dark-horse status just got a bit brighter.

What is it with those Chicago residents anyway? Where’s their civic pride? That’s one thing we don’t lack up here on the edge of the Boundary Waters!

September 1, 2009

Let’s Send Tokyo Packing

A recent study done by German consulting agency Sport+Markt concluded that Tokyo 2016 has the least amount of public support.  Only 72 percent of the citizens questioned felt that Tokyo’s bid was “good or very good”.  Leading the pack was Madrid, with 93 percent of Spaniards backing the bid.  Chicago and Rio were closely behind. 

Now we know you’re probably thinking, but what about Ely?  Why was their public support not measured?  The answer is simple.  It would look terrible for little ‘ol Ely to have more public support than one of the big dogs.  The IOC would be faced with answering the dreaded question they have been avoiding for so long, “Why NOT pay attention to Ely 2016?”

If we were the IOC we would toss out Tokyo and seriously consider Ely. Then again we may be slightly biased.

August 28, 2009

“It’s all about the hair.”

As we near the final decision date of Oct. 2, we are leaving no stone unturned.  In fact, we have compiled a list of items we need to address in the upcoming months.  My personal favorite is the need to hire an Olympic hair styling team.  Can you believe this almost slipped right past our planning committee?  Amidst the lodging, food venues, mascot search etc . . . we almost overlooked the hair stylists. 

This was brought to our attention by a family we met late last week, who came all the way from Mizunami, Japan to visit Minnesota.  Lucky for us they ended their journey with a week of relaxation and fun in Ely.  It was actually the first thing the youngest son brought up to us, his exact words, “it’s all about the hair.”  A quick Google search confirmed, we are in need of an on-site hairstyling staff.

Olympic athletes and enthusiasts alike seem to go wild with their locks.  Check out the pictures below and if you know anyone who may be interested in a position as an Olympic Hairstylist (yes, we’ll make that a “real” position) let us know!

August 25, 2009

We’ve Inspired Another Beauty

When we first announced our bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics, nearly everyone’s first reaction was “What a beautiful area to showcase to the world. Ely is a perfect location as long as the natural beauty is unharmed.”  We on the Ely Olympic Planning Committee feel strongly that each and every Olympic location should showcase a beautiful part of our world (some of the previous locations, not so beautiful, but we won’t name call). 

So you can imagine our delight to see that Dubai is strongly considering a bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics.  The landscape of Dubai is in great contrast to our neck of the woods, but nonetheless beautiful.  Trade our lush green wilderness for sand dunes, fresh lakes for the deep blue sea and our quaint downtown for a cosmopolitan metropolis and you’ve got yourself the best back-to-back Summer Olympic locations in history.

Of course, we’d like to think Dubai has been inspired by yours truly in their quest to bid for the 2020 games.  Maybe we should offer them help in organizing their bid; after all, we are experts.

August 16, 2009

Ely Olympic fans show their support!

Watch the video made from photos submitted by fans of Ely from all over the country. Maybe now the IOC will stand up and take notice!

August 14, 2009

Buzzy named official Ely 2016 mascot.

After a nation-wide search, Buzzy the Mosquito has been named the official mascot of the Ely 2016 Summer Olympics.  The public voted on a winner during the annual Ely Greenstone Art Show & Sale. 

Minnesota resident Anthony Buckner, who lived in Ely years back and attended Vermillion Community College, drew Buzzy.  “It was the first thing that came to mind when I heard the Ely 2016 committee was in search of a mascot,” said Buckner.  “We used to joke that the mosquitoes up there were so big they drove cars and wore sneakers.”

Here’s to hoping the whole world gets bit by Buzzy!

August 11, 2009

USOC focused on Chicago 2016

The Associated Press recently reported that the United States Olympic Committee is solely focused on supporting the Chicago 2016 bid.  Stephanie Streeter, CEO of the USOC, released the statement on Monday after reports surfaced that Pittsburgh may explore a bid for 2020. 

Streeter mentioned she didn’t want the reports of other U.S. cities and Olympic bids to obscure the focus of the USOC and Chicago 2016.  Besides Pittsburg 2020, rumors have surfaced that Denver and Reno are possibilities for 2018 Winter Games.

“We don’t quite understand how Ms. Streeter and her team at the USOC aren’t focused on the Ely 2016 bid,” stated Olympic Committee member Tony Zeunik.  “I mean clearly we are in the hunt to host the 2016 Games. If they (USOC) want to put their eggs in Chicago’s basket, that’s great, but I think they’ll be sadly mistaken.”

Zeunik and fellow Ely 2016 Olympic Committee member, Jason Peltala are gearing up for an early trip to Copenhagen in an effort to persuade the IOC.  When asked why they weren’t traveling closer to the Oct. 2 decision date, the answer was simple.  They didn’t want to miss the autumn season in Ely.  (They claims it’s the best time to visit!)

July 27, 2009

Let the Digging Begin

Located on the edge of town, the site of our Olympic village sits.  Eager construction workers and excavators have been chomping at the bit to begin work, so we decided to let them get a head start.  We took time yesterday while the sun the shining to visit the site and discuss future steps with the foreman, Johnny Jarones.  We decided right away that it only made sense for the village theme to have a woodsy, northern Minnesota motif.  We envision each housing unit in the village to resemble a log cabin.  Until the Oct. 2 decision provides us with final authority to move forward, we will continue to dig away week by week.  It’s a good thing for us that the rest of the summer is loaded with things to do in Ely, because if time allowed we’d be working on venues around the clock.

July 24, 2009

Show your support for our Olympic bid - send us a photo!

On October 2, 2009, the International Olympic Committee will meet in Copenhagen to select the host city for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

In an effort to appeal to their sense of fairness, we’re putting together a video album of people showing their support for Ely’s Olympic bid.

If you have a t-shirt, sign or sticker with the Ely Olympic logo on it, send us a photo of you holding or wearing that logo and we’ll include it in our video. Or you can make your own sign by downloading the Ely 2016 logo from our recent post here or on our Facebook Group page. Or just write your own message to the IOC and hold it up.

Include your kids, your parents, your grandparents, neighbors, distant relatives, strangers on the streets. If you live outside Minnesota, include landmarks in your photos to show how widespread our support is. The more photos we have, the more support we can demonstrate, the bigger impression we can make on the IOC!

Send your photos ASAP to fun@ely.org. And check back here after August 15 to see the finished video.


Thanks for all your support in our bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics in Ely, Minnesota!

Download the Ely Olympic logo here

Want to create your own sign of support? Make a t-shirt decal? Put a sign in your window? Here's the Ely 2016 logo design for you to use however you wish to show your support for bringing the 2016 Summer Games to the pristine wilderness of Ely and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Just drag this .jpg file to your desktop and create your own design. Or go our Facebook Group site to get a few more designs.

July 16, 2009

Our Chicago Fans

Over the last couple of months our Olympic committee has received several messages through email and phone from our lovely friends down in Chicago.  Not to tell us to “give it up” or “throw in the towel” but to show their support for Ely.  In fact, hundreds of city clickers have even made the trip from Chicago to Ely and shown their support in-person.  We were apprehensive at first, after all it is a bit like sleeping with the enemy.  After we realized they were in town to enjoy the adventures that come along with Ely and NOT to sabotage our Olympic bid, we became flattered.

Recently, a man from Chicago stopped by our office and shared with us his love for Ely and the Boundary Waters.  He went on to tell us about an organization that formed for the sole purpose of persuading Chicagoans not to support the Olympic bid, No Games Chicago.  They’ve even gone as far as delivering the No Games Chicago “Book of Evidence” directly to the IOC.  The Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization recently joined the group citing Chicago’s "long history of being unable to contain special projects costs" and the violation of the "initial promise that ‘not a dime' of taxpayer money would be used".

Our residents couldn’t be happier about our bid to host 2016.  Every window, lawn and storefront in town is showing support.  Maybe the committee members of No Games Chicago should wander up here and take a peek at what it means to be supportive to their hometown.   Of course, there is always a chance that like many, once they’re in Ely they won’t want to leave.

July 7, 2009

No "Love" for Ely?

After a win at Wimbledon this weekend, Serena Williams said in an interview, “I am praying that they (Chicago) get the Olympics because I think it would be really special to play there.”  Serena goes on to say she hopes she will be around for the 2016 Olympics so she can add an Olympic singles title to her list of life accomplishments.

Ok, now we understand that when two incredible US cities (Ely of course being more incredible) are vying for the same honor, most folks are going to pick a side.  But couldn’t Serena have offered just a smidgen of support for Ely? I mean all we’re asking for is a mention!  Maybe we should extend our “Minnesota nice” hand to her, and offer her a relaxing stay at one of our pristine resorts.  Perhaps after she experiences Ely, she’ll understand why we’re the best choice for 2016.

Until then, we’ll be pulling for Venus. 

June 30, 2009

Destroy Our Wilderness For Lodging? Guess Again.

When our team began making plans for the 2016 Olympics, housing was our last concern.  With the vast acres (and by vast we mean millions) that surround Ely, we saw a rare opportunity to offer Olympic spectators a housing option so unique they’d be begging to make a trip back to Ely in 2017, 2018, 2019 . . . you get the picture. 

So what unique housing option are we moving forward with?  Camping, of course!  We haven’t ironed out all the kinks, but we do know that spectators would have the option to rent tents of various sizes, cots, sleeping bags and even pillows.  This will allow us to preserve the wilderness around Ely, offer inexpensive lodging to spectators and save millions on construction costs. 

At the entrance of each site a large public commons area will be built that will house restrooms and showers for those who aren’t willing to “pop a squat” or bathe in a nearby lake.  If you’re planning to attend the 2016 Olympics and would like to get comfortable with camping before then, come and visit us.  We’ll make sure that by 2016 you’re a pro! 

We do understand that staying in a tent, under the glistening sky, listening to the chirping of crickets isn’t for everyone.  If camping isn’t your style, spectators will have the option of booking rooms in any one of our luxurious resorts or B & Bs.  We suggest doing it within the next year because they fill up quickly.

Visit the official Ely website to see all the lodging options we have to offer.  Come and get familiar with our picturesque town so that by 2016 the phrase “travelers anxiety” means nothing to you.  The official Ely website.

If you attend the 2016 Olympics in Ely which lodging option will you choose? 

June 22, 2009

Money in the Bank

We were astonished when we read a recent article that stated China profited approximately $176 million from hosting the 2008 Beijing Olympics.  The country of China is said to have spent $2.8 billion hosting and staging the Olympics, which brought in revenue of $3 billion.  

So what does this mean for Ely and our quest to host the greatest summer Olympic games known to man?  Not only will the world have a chance to explore our untouched acres and lush landscapes, but we stand to make a few bucks while we’re at it.  With all the activities, adventurous tours and quaint small-town boutiques in Ely, we’re confident we can bring in some serious cash.  Imagine all the things we could do with $1 billion plus!  We envision rope bridges and zip lines throughout the wilderness that surrounds us, maybe even an amusement park.  What else would you like to see added to the Ely area, got any ideas?

June 17, 2009

106 days and counting . . .

With the final decision less then 4 months away, it’s about time we reflect on our efforts over the last two months.  What have we done, what needs to still be done?  So many unanswered questions and of course, bidding for the Olympics doesn’t come with a users manual.

What we know:
1.     We’ve got a location for the Olympic Stadium.  Although many aren’t happy about Miner’s Lake being drained, it’s the perfect location and we’ve promised to refill the lake when the Olympics are finished.
2.     Jim Brandenburg was named the official Olympic photographer for 2016.  A photographer with National Geographic for more than 30 years, Jim has an eye for action and calls Ely home.  www.jimbrandenburg.com
3.     New housing will be needed, and a record number of Olympic spectators WILL find a love for camping and the great outdoors.
4.     After a vote, we decided a complete international airport was unnecessary.  Instead we will add two large landing strips that will be used for athletes only.  All others will fly into Minneapolis or Duluth and take our official Ely 2016 shuttles.
5.     We will ask Jessica Biel to be our celebrity spokesperson.  We’re requesting she bring Justin Timberlake (and the rest of N’Sync) for an N’Sync reunion at opening ceremonies . . . what better way to captivate spectators worldwide!
6.    Plan to host swimming and diving in Shagawa Lake, utilizing natural resources!  We wonder if Michael Phelps can out swim a bass?
7.     Hosting the Olympics is spendy. We do have private donations lined up and are planning several meat raffles in the upcoming months.
8.    You can already purchase official Ely 2016 shirts at www.zzapps.com

What we don’t know:
1.     Will all this hard work pay off?
2.    What will the official mascot of Ely 2016 be? Submit your ideas before July 1 and you could win $500!
3.     Where to build the Olympic Village and other sport venues.
4.     What foods we will offer.  We are awaiting the end of the MN State Fair before we decide this one.  Should we introduce the world to peach-glazed pig cheeks?

Looks like we are on the right path, we will continue to update on all of our progress.  Thanks for the support so far!

June 11, 2009

Dock Dogs Didn’t Make the Cut for 2016

In an attempt to include man’s best friend in on some Olympic glory, we threw out the idea of adding Dock Dogs as an Olympic sport in 2016.  In Ely, we are already accustomed to hosting competitions for our furry, four legged friends, but it seems the International Olympic Committee feels different.  Below are the seven sports still in the running for two open spots in the 2016 Olympics.  We’re not sure any of these could provide the excitement Michael Phelps did in 2008, but who are we to say! What’s your top pick?

Baseball: An Olympic sport for more than 100 years, Baseball was cut for the upcoming 2012 Olympics.  More than 16 nations and countless dope dealers have taken part in Olympic baseball competition over the years.  Maybe by 2016, players will finally figure out you can’t hide steroid use forever!

Golf: Backed by some big names, including Tiger Woods, Golf draws a large, worldwide audience and following.  Having only been in the Olympics twice in 1900 and 1904, it may be time to give the nice guys a chance for gold!

Karate: We think the majority of us agree there are enough martial arts events in the Olympics, although you may not know that because nobody watches them.

Rugby Sevens:  Like the standard version of Rugby, only seven players on each side.  A fast-paced, nose to the grindstone, type of game, Rugby Sevens draws large crowds on the international level.

Softball:  Typically dominated by the US, softball was cut along side baseball for the 2012 Olympics.  We think they should be a package deal, vote baseball get softball for free.

Roller Sports: May draw a younger crowd to the Olympics but isn’t this what the X-Games are for?

Squash:  Ok, we admit we had to Google this one.  Who knew those little, funny-shaped pumpkins that we paint in the Fall share their name with a sport?  Turns out Squash is basically Racquetball with a smaller ball and racquet (and they would expect people to tune in and watch that?)


June 8, 2009

And the Winner is . . . Jessica Biel

After a weeklong poll, Ely 2016 followers and lovers alike voted Jessica Biel as the ‘celebra-sotan’ to best represent Ely in its quest for the Olympics.  We’re not sure the last time Biel has visited her birthplace of Ely, but how could she turn down the chance to represent such a wonderful location!

Surely, with her childhood stories she can reach out and show the world all the beauty that Ely has to offer.  Swimming in the pristine lakes, canoeing in the untouched acres of the Boundary Waters, snuggling up to a cozy campfire, the millions that would flock to Ely in 2016 would not be let down.  Now, we just need to figure out how to reach her?  How to make her see this is the best use of her time and efforts?  Here’s to hoping (please, raise your glass) that she reads our blog, or begins to follow us on Facebook or Twitter!

I know the next question on everyone’s mind is . . . what about Justin Timberlake?  We like to think he’ll tag along, ya’ know, like a package deal!  We plan on a JT performance during the opening ceremonies, as long as he promises NOT to expose anyone’s breasts.  Who knows, maybe he can persuade JC, Joey, Chris and Lance to join him.  We can’t think of anything that would captivate a worldwide audience, more than an N’Sync reunion (especially during opening ceremonies)!

June 4, 2009

We’ve Got One More Chance to Woo ‘Em!

To say we’ll be burning the midnight oil the next two weeks is an understatement! After learning the International Olympic Committee is hosting a forum for cities to present their final pitch, we figure this is a perfect opportunity for Ely to show the world we are equipped and ready to host the 2016 Summer Olympics.   We’re a little disappointed that we didn’t receive an invite (and had to read about it in the Chicago Tribune) but if we show up June 17 in Switzerland with presentation in hand, there is no way they can turn us down!

Ely hosts numerous events EVERY year, being the ‘hostess with the mostess’ is nothing new to us!  From dock dog competitions and art festivals to the season fishing opener we handle large influxes of people on a regular basis.

We’re a little unsure how we’ll come up with the funds to get to Switzerland, but with the dock dogs competition coming to Ely this weekend it’s the perfect time for a fundraiser!  Meat raffle, silent auction, and bake sale . . . the possibilities are endless!

For a complete listing of all the events happening in Ely, visit www.ely.org and click on Ely Events.


June 1, 2009

Okay, Okay Chicago We Get It!

How much more support does the Windy City need? As if Oprah and Obama weren’t enough, now Michael “His Airness” Jordan has joined the march in bringing the 2016 Olympic games to Chicago.  It’s time we step up our game and get some representation from Minnesotans!  We’ve compiled a list of our top five ‘celebra-sotans’ and need your help in selecting the person you think could make an inspiring, persuasive pitch to bring the Olympic games to Ely (we are quickly running out of time as the final decision is less than 130 days away).

And the nominees are (in our best award show tone):

Kent Hrbek: Although he prefers Ely in the winter when he can enjoy long days on the dog sledding trails, baseball great and avid outdoorsman Kent Hrbek could certainly speak to the beauty of Ely and it’s surroundings. 

Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura:  Sure his pitch may come off more like a circus act but the man does have a following.

Joe Mauer:  In the midst of a monster-sized season the hometown favorite has clout among the sports world! 

Prince:  Born and raised in Minnesota, Prince reaches an incredible number of people with his music and love of spandex.  The opening ceremony would be unforgettable!

Jessica Biel:  Born in Ely, Biel can share her heart-warming memories of the great town of Ely.  If her buzz is as big as her role in the remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, we’d be flying high!  Maybe Justin Timberlake would even tag along!

Cast your vote now!

Committee members discuss opening theme and more – check it out!

Check out this hilarious additional footage released from the Ely 2016 press conference:



May 28, 2009

Draining of Lake Could Provide Jobs to Thousands

After hours of experimenting and countless calculations we may not be able to drain Miner’s Lake in the fashion we were originally hoping (with 8 gallon buckets and a lot of hard work).  Water Resource students from Vermillion Community College estimated the lake to hold approximately 8 trillion gallons of water!  At our original proposal of 10 buckets every 30 seconds, this would require more than 30 million days working around the clock.  Obviously not an option since we need to be done by 2016.  

This is where we call upon Phase Two of the President Obama Economic Stimulus Plan.  If our planning committee can convince President Obama to support our quest to bring the 2016 Olympics to Ely, we could employee thousands of “Bucket Haulers” for the next seven years.  Certainly this would help to boost the economy and lower the unemployment rate.  It’s a win-win for all, the work on Miner’s Lake begins, it employs thousands, fuels Obama’s stimulus package and brings people from all around the country to the fabulous town of Ely (prior to the start of the Olympics, of course).  With festivals, activities and fishing galore throughout the summer, laborers would enjoy all the great things Ely has to offer.

We understand it may be a stretch for Obama to support our efforts up in Ely, but we deserve the love that Chicago has received!   

Position Description: Bucket Haulers (Crew Members and Crew Leaders)

Benefits and salary: free coffee, discounted work apparel, government health benefits, Crew Members $9.00 / hour, Crew Leaders $10.25

Hours:  multiple shifts available with option for overtime

Duties & Responsibilities:

  • Support overall efforts to complete the 2016 Olympic Stadium
  • Must work quickly and be able to stand, walk and bend for hours at a time
  • Ability to carry 50 lbs. comfortably
  • Must be comfortable around water, swimming experience beneficial
  • Crew Leaders will be responsible for 10 members and ensure all work is staying on pace


  • Must be 16 years of age
  • Desire to live in Ely area for up to seven years
  • A git-r-done mentality is crucial

May 22, 2009

Dock Dogs - the next Olympic sport?

There are spots being held for two additional sporting events in the 2016 Summer Olympics. While several sports have active lobbying efforts in place - baseball, softball, golf, roller sports, blah, blah, blah - we're thinking outside the box in Ely. Why not . . . (drumroll, please) . . . Dock Dogs!

Watch a short video here

You can get a great look at this exciting "sport" June 5-7 when Ely's Pet and Wildlife Expo features DockDogs® in Whiteside Park. This is what the Chamber of Commerce is saying about it:

"This event will consist of competitions in three disciplines: Big Air, Speed Retrieve, and Extreme Vertical. Big Air features dogs running down a 40 foot dock and jumping into a pool of water after an object, in which they are judged on the length of their jump. Speed Retrieve consists of dogs being clocked to see how fast they can run down the dock, jump into the water, and swim to the end of the pool to retrieve a dead fowl held by a modified extender arm. The final category is Extreme Vertical which is a “high jump” for dogs in that they lunge up to snag a “bumper” suspended in the air."

Now, you may be wondering if your dog is DockDog-worthy. Good question. You can find out with two events this year: "Fun Jump" and "Let's Try Dock Dogs." Again, from the Ely web site:

"A Fun Jump is an opportunity available to anyone with a dog to come out and use the dock. Its objective is to give those unfamiliar with the sport a chance to try it out before entering the competition. It is especially important to get your dog comfortable with jumping into a clear water pool, versus dark-colored lake water which they are typically familiar with. Fun jump participants will pay a flat fee of $10 per dog. This fee gives them unlimited access, during the allotted time, to practice their dog in: Big Air, Speed Retrieve, and/or Extreme Vertical. Dock Dogs Northern Stars members will be available to give pointers, instructions, recommendations, and answers to any of your questions. This session runs from 3-6pm on Friday June 5th, 2009.

"Let's try Dock Dogs is an instructional class available for anyone interested in learning more about the sport, as well as providing an opportunity to experience a jump before entering the competition. We will briefly explain the different divisions of the sport, how each one works, and provide an overview of the rules and regulations. After the class, and with the help of a DDNS instructor, participants will get a chance to try it out. Our goal is to get your dog interested by providing a positive, fun, and rewarding experience! Having experienced first hand the thrill of the sport, most participants go on to register for a Big Air Wave Competition immediately following the class. Participants will pay $10 per dog for the class, receive an instructional packet, a Certificate of Completion, and a $5 DDNS voucher (which can be used either towards the purchase of a wave or items at our merchandise tent). This class runs approximately one hour. We have 2 sessions available on Saturday June 6th, 2009: 8:30am & 11:30am. Please arrive at least 30 minutes early to allow time for registration. Class size is limited to 10 dogs."

Of course, Olympic purists would point out that this is not a human sport and not eligible for Olympic consideration. But consider how much we love our dogs, how much more loyal they are than most humans in our lives, and how many characteristics they share with the human race - like flatulence and the tendency to fight over females. Sort of gets you thinking, doesn't it?

Check it out June 4 and 5 in Ely this summer!

May 11, 2009

Design the mascot for the 2016 Summer Games in Ely and win $500!

The Ely Chamber of Commerce, together with the Games Organizing Committee and Ely Greenstone Public Art, is offering a$500 first prize to the winner of a contest to design the mascot for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

This is what Ely Greenstone Public Art has to say:

Will it be a comical timberwolf? A tubby black bear? A humanized loon or eagle? A mythical creature or a lowly woodchuck?

No one knows yet what the mascot will look like for Ely's 2016 quest. Together with the Games Organizing Committee and the Ely Chamber of Commerce, Ely Greenstone Public Art is launching a contest to create a 2016 Ely games mascot with a $500 prize awaiting the winner. One entry per person; no fee to enter. All submissions become the property of Ely Greenstone Public Art.

Contestants are urged to get their designs ready - prototypes are not necessary, but most welcome - for submission by July 1 to the Ely Greenstone, 2647 Van Vac Road, Ely (218-365-5917) or Ely Echo, 15 E. Chapman St., Ely, MN 55731, telephone 218-365-3141, either in person or by mail.

The first Olympic mascot was created during the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France with the introduction of "Schuss," a stylized skier. All Olympics since that time have had a mascot - usually an animal native to that area or occasionally human or mythical figures representing the cultural heritage of the area.

All artists, either professional or amateur, are invited to participate - families, groups or individuals. Any and all materials can be used and artist renderings of a proposed mascot are acceptable. Pieces submitted can be two, three or multi-dimensional. Maximum size is 6".

All submitted mascots will be available for viewing in Ely the weekend of July 18-20 at the Ely Greenstone 4th Annual Juried Art Exhibit and Sale. Arrangements are being made for display of the finalists' work for the public to vote on throughout the summer. The winner will be chosen by October 1, just prior to the announcement of the summer game's bid winner.

Questions, call Muffin Nelson at 218-235-1912. To learn more, click here.

May 4, 2009

Official Ely Olympic Photographer named

Famed outdoor photographer Jim Brandenburg has been named the official photographer of the Ely 2016 Olympics, should Ely succeed in its efforts to secure the rights to host the Games. (And why wouldn't we?) Jim's bio on his blog reads as follows: "Jim Brandenburg traveled the globe as a photographer with National Geographic Magazine for over 30 years. His photographs have won a multitude of national and international awards including BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year. Jim was twice named NPPA's Magazine Photographer of the Year."

(There's a much longer bio on his website that talks about all the other career highlights, awards, books and movies he's been involved with. If the photography world gave out gold medals, he'd be a Michael Phelps type of guy - without that whole bong incident, of course.)

Now, you might we wondering why a photographer that specializes in wildlife and the outdoors would be selected as an Olympic photographer. To which we say, would you expect anything different from Ely? We like to go against the grain. Zig where others zag. One photo of an athlete straining to cross the finish line or leaping into the air is pretty much like another EXCEPT when it's in Ely and there's something really cool in the background. Like, maybe a bull moose or a 16-foot Kevlar canoe or a spectacular sunset. That's when you want a guy like Jim Brandenburg behind the camera, not some guy from the Associated Press.

Jim lives in Ely and displays his work in the Brandenburg Gallery right here in town.

You can check out Jim's website and blog here:

April 22, 2009

Ely Olympic Stadium plans continue.

We should probably have a contest to name the new Olympic Stadium scheduled to be built inside Miners Lake - once it's drained, that is. "Squirrel's Nest" has been already suggested (a play on Beijing's "Bird's Nest.") What's your suggestion?

Once the ice is gone, we'll get the Army Corps of Engineers in there, or someone like that, to figure out the best way to drain the lake. There seems to be some concern from folks in town about where to put the water, but others think we can sell it - maybe to other states that need to cool nuclear power plants or something. Think how much money we could get for the water in a lake this size . . .

Other people have commented on the elongated shape of the lake and how it isn't the right shape for an Olympic Stadium. Of course we're not going to build a stadium that shape. The fact is, we think the area is big enough to not only hold the stadium, but also another facility like a badminton court or fencing arena or judo ring and probably a lot of parking, too.

If anyone knows a good food vendor, it's probably not too early to be thinking about what northern Minnesota delicacies should be served at the stadium. Think of the range culinary delights that we could introduce to the world. . .

New t-shirts available!

Classic design - similar to those worn in the videos, for all you who've been asking for 'em.


April 6, 2009

Another excerpt from that strange and funny but true Ely Olympic press conference last week.

Check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJUeb5ypjOU&feature=channel

April 3, 2009

Ely 2016 merchandise now available.

A lot of people have been asking for it, so here's the first retailer in Ely to offer official Ely 2016 merchandise. Basswood Trading Company in Ely has a full selection of stuff, from t-shirts and key chains to mugs and bookmarks. See it all here: http://www.basswood-trading.com/onlineshopping_c156082.html.

April 2, 2009

Second installment of press conference uploaded

See it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7pKmAYwzvQ

In it, Tony and Jason of the Ely Olympic Committee discuss the impact on Ely of having millions of international guests arrive in town sometime in August, 2016.

April 1, 2009

New Twitter link

Sorry, correct Twitter link is: http://twitter.com/2016ely.

March 31, 2009

Ely announces bid for 2016 Summer Olympics!

Is the land of 10,000 lakes up to hosting an international event like the Olympics? Today, Ely, our small northern Minnesota town known as the Gateway to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, threw its hat in the ring for the 2016 Summer Games.

Can we do that? Why not? Sure, there are already four cities “officially” competing for that right – Chicago, Rio, Madrid and Tokyo – but the decision isn’t being made until October 2, 2009, so why not make room for an underdog? Do those other cities have something to fear from Ely? Maybe.

Obviously, our air is cleaner, there’s less crime up here, and with 1.3 million acres of pristine northern Minnesota wilderness surrounding the city, there’s plenty of room to fit the ten or eleven thousand athletes and a million or so fans expected in 2016.

And the whole town is into it. We’ve got a huge banner up across Highway 1 when you drive into Ely. There are planning committees set up. There are t-shirts being printed, signs in the stores, an online petition, and more.

I think this thing could take off. What do you think? Let’s talk about it.

See the kick-off press conference at www.ely2016.com or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hh8WRoVX8tg

Join us on Twitter. http://twitter.com/ely2016

Join our Facebook Group “Ely2016” http://www.facebook.com/group.php?sid=9a7b1995e45c151f03bc68b9379e436c&gid=69588770101

I’ll be here blogging all summer. Check back for updates. Wait until you hear what we have in mind for an Olympic Stadium!