DAYTON RODEO GRAND MARSHALL
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.
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.
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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