Meet the Committee

These wonderful people are the Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Committee.  Say “Hi!” if you see one of them during the show!


Board Members:

Skyler Breitenstein, Chair

Beau Hanenberger, Vice-Chair

Kevin McDermott, Council Representative

IMG_1484Ryland Eichhorst, Council Representative

My wife, Pat and I relocated to our house in River Park subdivision in March 2013 from Peosta, IA, just west of Dubuque, IA to be closer to our daughter and grandchildren, as well as Pat’s family in Lewiston and St Charles. We like what Oronoco had to offer with a small town atmosphere, but close to Rochester, well, at least Menards, 7 minutes away, and Target North!

This is my 3 rd year on the Gold Rush committee and I thoroughly enjoy it! It is a great experience to have thousands of friendly people visit the DowntownOronoco Gold Rush days! It is a lot of work, but very rewarding when you see people smiling, having a great time and carrying that lost treasure they have been looking for a long time or just bought it on impulse!

Looking forward to 2016 and years to come! See ya!

Carol Olson

Carol Olson, Event Coordinator

My husband and I moved to Oronoco in August of 1988. As we lugged boxes into the house, we couldn’t help but notice all the activity going on in the community. (Not every day does a port-a- potty end up on your street corner.) We looked at each other, and said, “Let’s throw a mattress down and spend the night and see what happens.” The rest is history. We experienced our first Gold Rush and we were hooked. Within a very short time I was volunteering as was my husband. We did this for many years, and I filled a variety of roles within the committee. In 2005 when I was preparing to retire after 30 years at Mayo Clinic, the Event Coordinator at that time, Ed Simon, asked if I would be interested in taking over his duties when I retired. With the committee’s approval, I moved into this role officially in 2006. I have thoroughly enjoyed working and volunteering as the event coordinator for this event. The vendors who come year after year have become an extended family to me. And there is also a certain pride in being associated with this non-profit organization and the individuals on the committee who give so generously of their time. Each year we see the profits returned to our community in a variety of projects, and there is a deep personal satisfaction, that in a small way, volunteering with this great organization is part of my legacy. I’m still hooked on “Downtown Ornoco Gold Rush Days!”

Bridget Hanenberger, Secretary

Trish Shields, Treasurer, Council Representative

Linda SorensonLinda Sorenson, Secretary

Married to Lance Sorensen. We have two “launched” adult children.
DOGRD Board Member to present
DOGRD Committee Member 2001 – 2009
DOGRD Community Volunteer for ice sales and information booth 2010 – 2014
I volunteered to serve on the Board this year because there were openings on the Board that were not being filled by others in the community.
My favorite things about Gold Rush is: 1. we raise money to give back to our community and 2. I see many friends and neighbors at the show every year.
DOGRD is a non-profit show that supports the Oronoco community.  Profits are used locally for example by: the Fire Department, local churches, the Oronoco Food Shelf, etc.

Patsy Matts

I moved to Oronoco in 2013 after having been a visitor to MN for the previous 7 years. Three grandsons in Rochester were the initial draw along with my daughter and her husband. We were fortunate to acquire property near the old downtown of Oronoco along the river that once was Lake Shady.

My first August in 2013 I had the benefit of being able to walk over to attend the Oronoco Gold Rush.  It was so much fun that I would come over 3-4 times a day.  I found favorite places to eat, treasures to explore and even was able to find affordable memento’s for the little grandsons.

The first 2 summers I was just like any other visitor to the Gold Rush.  I tried to get out early on Friday and rushed to find those last minute bargains before everyone packed up on Sunday. But last year my husband and I decided volunteering to help with the Gold Rush event was a great opportunity to get to know our neighbors. What we learned was that the Oronoco Gold Rush proceeds goes directly back to the community through the National Tuesday Night Out and the July 4th celebrations and more.

So this year I became one of the Oronoco Gold Rush board members.  My inexperience is accepted as the other board members are allowing me to grow into my position.  Each meeting they return with all the work they have done in the previous month and I just listen.  This year I hope I too can contribute with my time to help make the Oronoco Gold Rush an event not to be missed.

Shean Fritts, Resident Artist

Shean FrittsMy daughter (Nicole) and I moved to Oronoco in the year 2005. After my first wife (Lori) past away in 2004, the two of us moved here for a fresh new start in life. In 2006 I remarried to my new wife (Karen) who helped make us a whole family. I enjoy drawing cartoons which is how I got involved with Gold Rush. I am the guy who draws the old gold miner (Bill) and his donkey friend (Jack) and the girl gold miner (Clare). I was a Member at Large for a couple years before I volunteered to join the Oronoco Gold Rush Committee in 2016.

Shean Fritts



Paul Pendergrass, Map Layout & Striping

Julie Pendergrass, Map Layout & Striping

Alyssa Simons, Treasurer Ad Hoc

Ed Simon

Joanne McDermott

Lynn Benrud

Dan Ondler

Art Bernard

Penny Daniels

Jonya Pacey, Website Developer 

We moved to Oronoco in Spring, 2011 to a home that just borders the current footprint of the show…that August was a wonderful surprise! So much fun, so many people…so many wonderful temptations! I’ve volunteered in some way since I first helped flag in 2012, had a great time and gained a better sense of participation in the event by being part of the work involved. Every year, I see how hard everyone works, especially the Board Members, and am proud to live here.

Personally, I work part-time out of my home as a front-end web developer and social media marketing consultant, and so I manage the Gold Rush website and help with Facebook and Twitter. I’m also available to help the committee in any task throughout the year. The fun just keeps coming!

Joy Bertsinger, Volunteer Coordinator

Marci Goodman, Go-To-Flagging Volunteer

Bob Kapinos, Go-To-Garbage Volunteer


Bill Olson, Computer and Software