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:


IMG_1484Ryland Eichhorst, Mayor

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 4rd 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 2017 and years to come! See ya!

Beau Hanenberger, Council Representative and Chair

My family moved to Oronoco in 2012 to get away from the craziness of the big city.  We woke up to our very first Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush that summer and we loved it.  We were corralled by our very own Carol Olson and the rest is history.   We love that a small community can put on such an amazing show of this magnitude!  There is only one word that describes this great town and this show from year to year and that is “Volunteers”.   Every year we as a committee and members from throughout the city  strive to put on the best show possible!

Carl Krause, Council Representative

Nancy Quimby, Council Representative

Trish Shields, Treasurer, Co-Chair and Council Representative

Linda Sorenson, Secretary

Linda SorensonMarried 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.

Shean Fritts, Secretary

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

Patsy Ann 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.

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,  Assistant Event Coordinator

My family moved to Oronoco in the Spring of 2012.  We had never attended Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Days before moving to the community, so the first August was shocking to say the least.  To see our small downtown area transform into the show was amazing site!  We had meet Carol Olson just after moving into town and my husband and I assisted with some prep work that first year.  The following year my husband joined the committee and the year after that I did as well.  I have now transitioned into the Assistant Event Coordinator role to help out Carol.
It is truly amazing that a small community can put on a show of this size. It’s all thanks to the many volunteers prior to, during, and after the show.  All profits after show expenses are put back into our community.