MPR Photos of the Year

1 Thousands of spectators surround the track during the elimination round of the Red Bull Crashed Ice World Championship in St. Paul, Minn., Friday, Jan. 13, 2012. More than 100 athletes competed in the elimination round of the ice cross downhill event with 64 athletes advancing to the finals held Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012. 
2 A swine heart is monitored in the Visible Heart Lab at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis on Jan. 5, 2012. The Visible Heart Lab, which uses reanimated mammalian hearts for research and education, has been operating for 15 years. 
3 Jason Kugler of Pelican Rapids, Minn., enters the Ice Hole bar on Lake Lida on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012. The bar is located on the ice to be close to anglers, but many in the tavern said they didn't fish and were visiting just for the novelty. 
4 Jane Belau volunteers every Monday and Thursday morning to play the piano in the Mayo Clinic's Gonda Building lobby. Her music entices others to sing and dance, as well as lifts the spirits of Mayo's patients. 
5 Sahra Gure reads a book while other local women arrive for a water aerobics class at the Kandiyohi County Area YMCA pool in Willmar, Minn., on Feb. 27, 2012. Gure and her family attend the YMCA several days a week. 
6 Joseph Hudella, 10, and Megan Soukup, 9, escort first lady Michelle Obama to meet with Minnesota National Guard members and their families at Minnesota Air National Guard Base's 133rd Airlift Wing in St. Paul, Minn., on Friday, March 16, 2012. 
7 Hibbing resident Veronica Boucher, left, traveled to St. Paul with about 35 others from Blessed Sacrament Parish to join in the Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally at the Warren E. Burger Federal Building Plaza on Friday, March 23, 2012. Protesters were there to oppose President Barack Obama's Health and Human Services mandate. 
8 Six-year-old Adnan Hirsi, right, takes a break from viewing art to chat with Yassin Jama at Mohamud Mumin's solo exhibit at the Whittier Gallery in Minneapolis in late March 2012. The photography show celebrated Somali men who are making positive contributions to the Twin Cities. 
9 Pasque flowers in bloom on Tuesday, March 27, 2012, at Lyndale Park Peace Gardens in Minneapolis. 
10 Elle Scott, left, and Tanja Scott of Minneapolis, embrace during the OutFront Minnesota Lobby Day of Action at the Capitol in St. Paul, Minn., on Thursday, March 29, 2012. Elle, who is transgendered, has been married to Tanja for 15 years. The couple joined hundreds of others to rally against a proposed constitutional ban on marriage for same-sex couples. 
11 Main Street in downtown Clinton is home to Bonnie's Hometown Grocery. The USDA considers much of Big Stone County a "food desert." Bonnie's is one of several small stores in the county that fill the gap, especially for older people on fixed incomes who would have a hard time driving very far. This photograph of Main Street was taken from inside Bonnie's. 
12 Polk County co-workers, from left, Tu Lynn Sommerfeld, Wendie Osborn and Angie Bruggeman, stay bundled up during the Twins home opener at Target Field in Minneapolis on Monday, April 9, 2012. 
13 Left to right: oat groats, which is the whole grain; steel-cut oats, which are oat groats cut into smaller pieces; and old-fashioned rolled oats. Chefs tend to prefer steel-cut oats for their nutty flavor and good texture. 
14 Kethry Burke-Scovill, 17, left, and Bob Walser joke around during the Morris dancers celebration of the first day of May in Minneapolis on Tuesday, May 1, 2012. 
15 Declan Olson, 7, hugs his father, Cpl. Stacy Olson, as he gives a television interview upon arriving in Rochester, Minn., from his deployment overseas. Soldiers from the Minnesota National Guard's Red Bull Infantry Division returned home Tuesday, May 1, 2012, after being deployed last year. 
16 A man holds up a rosary before the start of the rosary procession Sunday, May. 6, 2012. Thousands of faithful Catholics joined together at the Capitol to walk in a rosary procession in support of the proposed marriage amendment. 
17 Vikings fan "Diggz" Garza of St. Paul watches a rally for a proposed Vikings stadium at the Capitol in St. Paul, Minn., on Monday, May 7, 2012. 
18 An American white pelican sits on its nest and chicks on Big Island on Minnesota's Marsh Lake on Wednesday, May 9, 2012. That island alone is home to an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 pelican nests. Researchers are trying to determine whether pelicans carry residue from the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. 
19 A giant pit of mud between obstacles was was a good excuse for Tough Mudder Minnesota participants to cool down or tackle a friend Saturday, May 19, 2012, in Somerset, Wis. 
20 Jens-Henrik Selin and his son Thomas Albert make their way to a Syttende Mai celebration at Mindekirken, the Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church in Minneapolis on May 20, 2012. 
21 Spin Collective member Denise Cooper practices near Park Point along the shore of Lake Superior Tuesday, May 22, 2012, in Duluth, Minn. 
22 A giant sinkhole along Skyline Parkway near Ninth Avenue East captured this car Wednesday, June 20, 2012, after heavy rains caused flooding in Duluth, Minn. 
23 Katie Jungers of Moose Lake, Minn., surveys the athletic fields behind Moose Lake High School Thursday, June 21, 2012, after flood waters inundated the town. 
24 Alan Shapiro works with physical therapist Nicole Rennie at Alan's group home in Bloomington, Minn., June 18, 2012. Rennie said regular exercise can help prolong the life of those living with Alzhemier's disease. 
25 Chief Arvol Looking Horse of the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota prepared to lead the Dakota Wokiksuye Walk to Minnesota on Friday, Aug. 17, 2012, in Flandreau, S.D. 
26 Vice President Joe Biden greeets supporters Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2012, after speaking at a campaign rally at The Depot in Minneapolis. 
27 Friends Mary Welin, 16, of Fosston, Minn., and Vanessa Weiland, 19, of Roseau, Minn., sit with Weiland's Black Exotic market gilt in the swine barn on the opening day of the Minnesota State Fair in Falcon Heights, Minn., on Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012. 
28 Wildlife Research Institute biologist Sue Mansfield hand-feeds June, a 300-plus-pound pregnant black bear, while fellow WRI biologist Lynn Rogers records June's heart rate Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012, near Ely, Minn. 
29 Dressed as Marilyn Monroe, Jennie Gorbunow of Cottage Grove, Minn., checks her makeup at Cottage View Drive-In in Cottage Grove, Minn., on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012. Gorbunow competed in the costume contest held during a farewell event at the theater. 
30 Members of the Minnesota Threshold Network sing to Anne Conley during her final days of life at her home in St. Paul, Minn., on April 17, 2012. Conley was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2011 and died at her home less than a year later. Conley had chosen to hold a three-day vigil at her home rather than a traditional funeral, and received guidance from Minnesota Threshold Network members about home death care. 
31 U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, wipes water from a rock displaying the name of Sen. Paul Wellstone and his wife, Sheila, on Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012, at the Paul Wellstone Memorial and Historic Site near Eveleth, Minn. 
32 Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak crowd surfs after it was announced President Barack Obama had won the election at the Minnesota DFL Election Night Party at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in St. Paul, Minn., on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. 
33 Staff and volunteers for Minnesotans United for All Families celebrate Minnesota becoming the first state in the nation to vote down a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. The group hosted an Election Night event at the St. Paul RiverCentre on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. 
34 Grace and Bethany Monson, 3, watch a DVD player while their father, Karl, fills out his ballot Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Rochester, Minn. Minnesotans went to the polls to cast their votes on issues ranging from county races to the presidential race. 
35 Joe Edminster inspects a few of the hundreds of traps he has collected and displayed in his basement on Friday, Nov. 23, 2012, near Grand Rapids, Minn. 
36 Shelby Childs, 9, of Red Wing, Minn., plays inside a tipi at the Legacy of Survival event in Flandreau, S.D., on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012. Held on the 150th anniversary of US-Dakota War of 1862, the three-day event celebrated the resilience of the Dakota people and their culture. 
37 Officers walk to the funeral of Cold Spring Police Officer Thomas Decker at St. John's Abbey and University Church on the campus of St. John's University in Collegeville, Minn., on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012.