Senior Connections Senior Connections Mar 2019 - Page 3

Richard Sonstegard named Minnesota Fair Person of the Year DEB COX-JOHNSON Correspondent For the past 31 years, Dick Sonstegard of Howard Lake has been the manager for ticket sales at the Wright County Fair. Before that, he sold tickets at the southwest gate for 14 years. People who know him from his 35 years teach- ing and coaching at How- ard Lake-Waverly-Winsted (HLWW) High School, or avid fair patrons accus- tomed to seeing his smil- ing face at the entry booth, may not understand the full scope of his responsibili- ties. According to Troy Beise, Wright County Fair Board secretary, it is one of the largest jobs at the fair. Sonstegard hires, trains, and manages approximately 35 employees who sell tick- ets at both entry gates and for the grandstand events. Attendance at the fair typi- cally ranges from 65,000 to 70,000, and approximately 16,000 tickets are sold each year for the fi ve grandstand Richard Sonstegard of Howard Lake was named Minnesota Fair Person of events. the Year at the Minnesota Federation of County Fairs annual conference and Each year, the Minnesota convention Jan. 19 in Bloomington. Federation of County Fairs PHOTO BY DEB COX-JOHNSON selects one honoree for Fair Person of the Year from nominations received from all of the county and dis- trict fairs throughout the state. All fairs are encour- aged to nominate multiple fair board members, su- pervisors, staff, and volunteers, but only one person each year receives the award. Sonstegard was named Minnesota Fair Person of the Year Jan. 19 in Bloomington at the Minnesota Federation of County Fairs annual conference and convention. This event includes 500 to 600 fair board mem- bers, presenters, and fair services vendors. In his blood Sonstegard was active in 4-H as a young boy grow- ing up in New London, and could always be found at the Kandiyohi County Fair. In fact, he met his wife, Diane, at that fair when they were 13 and 14, and both 4-H junior leaders. Eventually, Sonstegard went on to St. Cloud State University, graduating in 1967, and the couple moved to Howard Lake. Their three children were also active in 4-H, and both Dick and Diane then served as senior 4-H lead- ers. While their kids were busy exhibiting at the Wright County Fair, there was a need for an additional ticket seller. Dick stepped up, which led to 14 years serving at the southwest entry gate. When the previous ticket manager retired, he was asked to take on the manage- ment job. For many years, Diane has also worked at the fair, managing the reserved tickets for all of the grand- stand events. Recently, online reserved ticket sales have reduced More SONSTEGARD on Pg 4 W ish it A w ay by C alling To day • Video Inspection & Location • Maintenance Agreements • Commercial, Residential, & Farm • Hydro Jetting • Environmentally Safe Products Call Genie Drain Cleaning today! Your drain and sewer specialists FAST, EFFECTIVE, SERVICE ������������������������������� (320) 587-4110 Senior Connections HJ.COM Senior Connections March 2019 3