WILLOW RIVER (AP) -- Striking workers tried Friday to confront Gov. Jesse Ventura by blocking his tour bus outside a correctional boot camp, but he never emerged and he might have avoided them using a helicopter.
More than 200 pickets yelled "Jesse the scab!" outside the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Willow River, where Ventura participated in a boot camp graduation ceremony and broadcast his weekly radio show. Ventura holds membership in two entertainment unions.
The strikers blocked the "Ventura 2001 Tour" bus for several minutes before letting it inch through their line.
A helicopter left the camp moments after Ventura's bus drove toward a turnaround area not visible to the pickets. A camp employee later said Ventura was on the helicopter.
"How did you like our little trick?" said Ventura bodyguard Ron Quittem from the driveway of the correctional facility. "We've got more."
Unknowing pickets tried to goad Ventura off the bus.
"He's just a big blowhard," said Greg Olson, of Sandstone, a Minnesota Department of Transportation highway maintenance worker who stood in front of the bus for several minutes.
"He won't talk to the media. He won't talk to the strikers. I said I'd even wrestle him. All I want to ask him is why can't we get a decent raise. The state should give a little," Olson said. "These 2-year-old temper tantrums are getting old."
During his visit, Ventura refused to discuss the strike, and ended a news conference abruptly when the issue was raised.
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