Meet the Committee

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

Committee Members:

Ryland Eichhorst, Mayor and Chair of Gold Rush Committee

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 2018 and years to come! See ya!

Patsy Ann Matts, Co-Chair 2018

DOGRD Previous Committee Member 2015-2017

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. 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 in 2015 I became one of the Oronoco Gold Rush Committee members.  This year I accepted the position of co-chairman.  I hope I can contribute with my time to help make the Oronoco Gold Rush an event not to be missed.

Beau Hanenberger, Council Representative

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!

Nancy Quimby, Council Representative, Secretary

Trish Shields, Treasurer and Council Representative

Trish Shields






Linda Sorensen

Linda SorensonMarried to Lance Sorensen. We have two “launched” adult children.
DOGRD Board Member to present
DOGRD Volunteer 2010-2015
DOGRD Previous Committee Member 2001-2009
I volunteered to serve on the Board because there was an opening on the and feel that the Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Days needs to continue.
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.

Paul Pendergrass

The Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Committee is very pleased to announce that Paul Pendergrass has agreed to “officially” re-join the committee. Paul has been helping with Gold Rush activities for many, many years. He is a huge asset to the committee, and we have been grateful for all the work he does to support Gold Rush each year. We are exciting to have him officially back on the committee and look forward to continuing to benefit from his expertise! 




Shean Fritts

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!”