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Finding Minnesota: Rent-A-Reindeer

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(credit: CBS) Mike Binkley
Mike Binkley has been covering Minnesota news for more than 25 year...
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GLENCOE, Minn. (WCCO) — By now, you’ve heard of Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and Vixen but how about Sophie, Yukon, Chestnut and Jingles?

They’re lesser-known reindeer living in McLeod County. They won’t be guiding any sleighs on Christmas Eve, but they will keep very busy this month.

Bob Kendall and his wife, Sandy, have spent years raising reindeer on Kendallville Farm near Glencoe and trying to convince others that the animals are real.

“And I said ‘Yeah, guys, it’s a real reindeer,'” said Bob, recalling one of his conversations with parade goers. “‘Oh, I didn’t think they existed.’ And I said, ‘Well, here you go.'”

Their reindeer will be photographed hundreds of times in the coming weeks. The Kendalls rent them out for parties, parades and festivals.

Bob said he’s learned which reindeer will be best suited for each individual event.

“Yukon will pet a-OK,” he said. “Jingles is multi-tasks: he stands, he goes inside. I can go through wheelchairs and elderly without any problem.”

In all, the Kendalls have 11 reindeer.

“It’s a blessing to be able to bring them and show them to people,” said Sandy. “We like to think that they’ve brought a lot of joy to people.”

The reindeer are similar to the caribou, and they are still plentiful in the Arctic.

“The colder, the better. The windier, the better,” said Sandy. “They’re the only ones who like it but they definitely do.”

She said it’s true that the reindeer make a “click, click, click” sound. It’s the tendons in their hooves making a clicking sound, helping the animals keep track of each other in heavy snow.

And when the Kendall’s reindeer aren’t making appearances, they do join in some reindeer games in their pasture.

“Yeah, when it snows they get real (playful),” said Bob. “They love the snow.”

By the way, reindeer lose their antlers each year — sometimes in December. That has caused a few awkward moments when they’re out at Christmas gatherings and an antler falls off. But don’t worry, kids, the antlers do grow back.

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