Frontier Days Honorees

2020 Honoree 1 - Russell Curtis Olson
Russell Olson was born on March 4, 1926 to Butryx and Esther (Johnson) Olson at their home in White River. At that time, he joined 4 brothers (later they would expand their family to include another brother and a sister) which led to many adventures and lots of mischief through the years. Born and raised in Mellette County, Russell attended White River School graduating from high school in 1944 where he was active in basketball, band, dance band and he worked the projector at the theater as a side job. After completing high school, he attended one year in Brookings before returning to White River where he owned and operated a trucking business with his brother Eugene from 1946 to 1951. In 1951, he joined the US Army, serving until 1953. During this time, he spent time in Baltimore, MD and was deployed overseas to Japan. During his time overseas, he had some fun playing on the baseball team. After his return to the states, he returned to White River where he would meet Wanda Barry at a dance in Mission. She would later become his wife on September 26, 1954. They purchased and moved to the ranch northwest of White River where they would raise their two sons, David and Clifford. Ranching and farming were Russ’s true passion. He loved everything about the land, livestock, everyday challenges and especially the hard work. Even well into his 80’s, Russ would check on the daily operations and lend a hand by running equipment or checking on the cattle. Russ was very community oriented and was instrumental in organizing and starting the Mellette County Health Clinic. He also served on the County Commissioners. He was a very active member in the Methodist Church and enjoyed singing, participating in the community and church choirs. He was also a member of the Masonic Lodge, Eastern Star and the America Legion. One of Russ’s greatest pleasures was his family, especially his grandkids and great-grandkids. He loved the opportunity to spend time with them and share his love for the land and the hard work that came with ranching. Grandpa Russ always had an extra snack for them in the lunchbox to share in the middle of the afternoon for a quick break. He also became an avid sports fan – attending the many activities that the grandkids were involved in and even helped shuttle them around when needed. Russ always enjoyed the festivities of the Frontier Days Weekends – from the rodeo to the parades and wagon trains. He especially enjoyed taking tickets at the rodeo – it gave him a chance to visit and see old friends (and make some new ones) as they came through.
2020 Honoree 2 - Eugene "Gene" Robert Olson
2019 Honoree - Clellan Bechtold
2018 Honoree - Larry Veldon Harrison
2017 Honoree - Marvin Starkjohann
2016 Honoree - Harold Krogman
2015 Honoree - Warren John Astleford
2014 Honoree - Marvin Williams
2013 Honoree - Don Hight
2012 Honoree - Bob and Patricia Adrian
2011 Honoree - Delmer Volmer
2010 Honoree - Herman "Bud" Stromer
2009 Honoree - Clifford W. "Smokey" Jensen

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