Al Rasmussen Day – Wednesday, July 11, 2018
Hall of Fame member Al Rasmussen from St. Charles has a long history in education, and proudly notes that his career went from 1971 to 2010.
The Rasmussen family include wife Barbara, who is now retired as a registered nurse with Fillmore County Public Health. The couple also raised 3 children – son Quinn (Amber), daughter Anne and son Jordan, and have 2 grandchildren, Reagan and Cooper.
“Having grown up on a farm in Winona County, I enjoy the rural atmosphere and the values of St. Charles and Winona County… My wife and I have always appreciated the geographic location of where we live,” replied Rasmussen about why he lives in Winona County.
Rasmussen notes that he is very familiar with the Winona County Fair since during this youth he was a member of the Echo Ridge Pioneers 4-H Club and exhibited at the fair. During high school he was also active in FFA. With the fairgrounds in plain sight outside his back door, Rasmussen has also been “un-official security” for the fair over the years.
After graduating from high school Rasmussen worked for the highway department, but his career path changed when he went to college, and that sent him in the direction of education. In 1971 he began his career in elementary education at Red Wing Public Schools. Beginning in 1975 he moved on to the roles of principal and community education director for Canton School. From 1985 until retirement in 2010 he was elementary principal for the St. Charles Public Schools.
“Education was good to me, and St. Charles was a great career opportunity for me… my family liked this area, so this is where we stayed” stated Rasmussen.
Since retirement Al and Barbara have had the chance to travel, and have been to such places as Italy, Finland and Spain. Rasmussen is also an active member of the St. Charles Lion’s Club and St. Charles Moose Lodge.
Ron Haugen Day – Thursday, July 12, 2018
Ron Haugen of Utica is well known in Winona County and beyond for his gift of music, and his generosity to share that gift. For that reason, Ron has been named to the Winona County Fair Hall of Fame.
According to Ron’s family “he has a “great sense of humor” and looks for a chance to work in a joke whenever possible. Ron has five children and has been married to his wife Anne for 38 years. Ron, a Rushford native and graduate of Winona State University, has lived near Fremont with his family for 28 years.
After completing his degree in Music Education, he began his teaching career in Glidden, IA, and after two years, moved back to Minnesota and taught for one year at St. Charles.
Ron then left teaching to further pursue his music career full-time. In Arizona Ron worked as a musician, music producer, and actor. He was also a stuntman and wrote and produced the music for one of the shows at Rawhide, a popular old western theme park.
After a 14-year hiatus, Ron returned to teaching and taught for two years in Cosmos, MN. He then decided to go back to his roots and return to southeast Minnesota by taking a job at Lewiston-Altura School District where he taught for several years as the choir director and elementary band director. His final teaching job was in the Dover-Eyota School District as the band director.
Ron says his favorite part about teaching was watching a child succeed, and particularly if they had been struggling with something, “It’s almost like you can see the lightbulb come on when they finally ‘get it’,” states Haugen.
In his retirement, Ron still enjoyed being around kids and worked as a bus driver for Winona and Lewiston-Altura Schools and continued giving guitar lessons.
Ron started playing music in his dad’s band at the age of 10. For 50 plus years, Ron has played in numerous bands, private parties and spent countless nights playing at local supper clubs. He has also performed with his church worship team, Sometimes 8, Christian Crossings, and Winona Hims. He continues to play classic country hits, but in recent years has focused more on performing and recording gospel music.
Ron has also been a part of the Winona County Fair for nearly two decades performing and sharing his musical talent with fair-goers and judging the talent show. Ron has a keen talent for combining his passion for music, his deep, soulful voice, and his witty sense of humor to engage a wide variety of audiences.
Ron is an avid hunter, fisherman, and golfer, and says he lives in Winona County “To be close to family, the beautiful bluffs and farm country, the plentiful trout streams, and small-town living”.
Dean Sanders Day – Friday, July 13, 2018
Hall of Fame member Dean Sanders of St. Charles has a real passion for the Winona County Fair, and that explains his long- time tenure of 23 years on the fair’s board of directors.
Sanders has a great commitment to the fair, and among the many things he does are fairgrounds maintenance year- round, supervises livestock barns during the fair and works hard to secure sponsorship funding to support the mission of the fair. The fair is on his mind daily, and he makes numerous trips to the fairgrounds during the year to make sure things are okay and secure at the Winona County Fair.
“When I came on the board I was mentored by long-time board member Louie Schultz about all that needed to be done…. I love the fair, and that keeps me doing this,” commented Sanders.
Sanders grew up on a farm near St. Charles, and there was no question that farming would be his career choice. In the past he and wife Donna had a 250 cow dairy operation, and now he custom raises heifers and dairy steers. The Sanders Family was also honored in the past as the Winona County Farm Family of the Year.
“My dad always told me to not be afraid of hard work, but to also have a little fun… I guess that is why I like being part of the fair,” says Sanders.
Dean grew up being part of the 4-H program, and currently serves as a leader of the Utica Victory 4-H Club where some of his 9 grandchildren are members. Dean and Donna’s family also include son Adam (Nikki) daughter Tricia (Kyle Fuller) and son Heath (Tasha).
When asked about his reason for living in Winona County, Sanders explains that this is “God’s Country and home”, and he has no desire to live anywhere else.
Scott Bartelson Day – Saturday, July 14, 2018
Hall of Fame member Scott Bartelson of Utica is the perfect example of someone who loves Winona County, and strives to make it a better place to live by his community involvement.
Scott and his wife Barb have been married for 36 years and met while he was a hired hand on a dairy farm and she was babysitting. They have two daughters, Abby (Josh Randall) and Becky (Dennis Mueller), and four grandchildren.
Bartelson says Winona County is a great place to live, and he has no desire to leave. Also, his family has a long history here in the county.
“ Both the Bartelson/Nahrgang families have been part of Winona County for over 100 years, and both family farms are still in the family… My great grandfather Jonathan Lewis donated the land for the depot, and hence the City of Lewiston was born,” Bartelson proudly states.
The Bartelson family lives on a hobby farm, and over the years Scott has worked as a farm laborer for numerous farmers. For the past 34 years he has been an employee of Jennie-O Turkey Store, which is a division of Hormel Foods.
Bartelson and wife Barb like to be involved in the Lewiston community and help out wherever they can. Over the years Scott has been chairperson of the Heartland Days Tractor Pull, Lewiston Lion’s Club member, past president of the Lewiston Jaycees and volunteer for the Fools Five Auction, which are a few of many volunteer activities for Bartelson.
He has also been a past Utica Township Supervisor, current Utica Township treasurer and for the past two years the president of the Winona County Township Association.
Steve Kohner Day – Sunday, July 15, 2018
Steve Kohner, Hall of Fame member representing the Winona area, is proud of his involvement in the business community of Winona County. That business is Modern Ready Mix, and Kohner describes a long family history.
“ Total family experience in the business is 60 years, and I have been in the ready mix and aggregate industry for 48 years of those years,” commented Kohner.
A graduate of Winona Senior High School, Kohner also attended Winona State University for pre-engineering. In addition, he served his country in the Army.
Kohner and his wife Candi have been married for 32 years and have six children and twelve grandchildren. Their children include Shawn (Michelle), Steph (Gabe) Vargas, Jason, Jennifer (Kevin) Bronk, Kjersti (Mark) Anderson and Kollin. The Kohner’s have a connection to the Winona County Fair since Candi is a former 4-Her from this county.
Over the years, Kohner has been a member of the Winona Chamber of Commerce, 25 years supporting the Family Nite on the Farm, 30 years working the milk shake booth at Steam Boat Days and 35 years supporting the market auction at the Winona County Fair.
When asked about why he lives in Winona County, Kohner commented that is a “great place” to raise a family.