Earl Hanson

You may know his as the guy that drives the 1958 John Deer tractor in every single parade, smiling and waving at the crowd.  But rodeo folks know him as the guy that sets off the bombs—three of them to be exact—at every single rodeo.  Earl Hanson is the 2019 Dayton Labor Day Grand Marshall and, for Earl, it’s a family thing.  Both his mother and his father (Emory and Imogene Hanson) were Grand Marshalls as well.  

“I’ve been to every single rodeo the past sixty years,” he said. “I remember attending the rodeo when it was on top of the hill.”  The rodeo moved to the natural ampitheater in 1955.

Earl graduated from Dayton High School in 1968 and married Georgene in 1972.  Georgene was from Stratford and she was set up on a blind date with her future husband.  The couple has three kids:  Chris, Mike and Mindy.  Each of them have two children, giving the couple six grandchildren.

2019 Grand Marshall

In addition to setting off the bombs (one a few minutes before the rodeo, one at the exact start of the rodeo, and one before the wild horse race), Earl also supplies hay and oats and feeds and waters the stock all weekend.  “I’ve been doing this forever,” he said.
Even before this, Earl was helping with the rodeo.  His dad Emory built the outside fence years ago and Earl assisted him.  Over the years, he says he has helped building hay feeders, gates, and other things on the rodeo grounds.  He has also been a member of the Wrangler Saddle Club.  

In addition to the Wranglers, Earl is has been a member of the Rescue Squad, Fire Department, Emanuel Lutheran Church council, Pork Producers, Des Moines River Valley Antique Tractor Club, the Dayton Fire Board, and is a Township Trustee.  

Earl won the very first Dayton Community Service award in 2000 and shared it with Carol DeGroote and Rose Challgren for their work on the Dayton Rescue Squad.

And the 1958 John Deere?  It was bought new at Dayton Implement in October 1958.  The Hansons still use this tractor on their farm;  as a matter of fact, they raked hay with it a few weeks ago.

Write up provided by

Kendra Breitsprecher

Partial List of Past Grand Marshalls

1976: Les Danielson

1977: C.D. Lindstom

1978: Fred Schwendemann

1979: Claude Helms

1980: Eva Haub

1981: Vern Danielson, Duane Vegors, Allen Porter

1982: Don Lauer

1983: Mr. and Mrs. Harold Williams

1984: Mildren Vegors

1985: Russell Hanson

1986: John Campidilli

1987: Allen and Esther Porter

1988: Gordon and Clarice Lundberg

1997: Dick Chinburg

2000: Kenny Schlief

2001: Jonathan Anderson

2002: Wayne Newholm

2003: Dwight and Phyllis Kinsey

2006: Wayne Tell

2007: Bob and Colleen Bass

2008: Leonard and Marilyn Anderson

2009: Marty and Jerry Paullin

2010: Edna Will and Rose Challgren

2011: Doug and Duan Boker

2012: Allen Porter

2013: John and Cindy Haub

2014: Leonard and Marilyn Anderson

2015: Imogene Hanson

2016: Lynn Schlief

2017: Norm and Deb Vegors

2018: Gordon Lundberg

2019: Earl Hanson

2021: Rob Scott

2022: Brent and Barb Sandholm