Erwin Nelson

Erwin Nelson Private Photo Stash!

Erwin NelsonWe lost Erwin Nelson not too long ago, and in my email the other day I was stoked to see some photos Erwin took himself back in the day, sent in by Sandra Torgerson, Erwins daughter. 

These photos are such a great snapshot in time. Thank you so much Sandra for sharing! 

Per Sandra: “Erwin Nelson took a lot of pics of scenery, as he loved outdoors.  These show just how harsh the land was.  

I personally like the pics of the place they stayed at and the old hotel signs – wow does that bring me back to that time period!   

One photo shows white salve the faces to help recover from the frostbite.  

Dad was in only one pic, that’s him in front of the Playmill Theatre.
I included the plane photo just because I thought it was kind of fun to see  an old Northwest ORIENT logo on the side of the planes again.
I graduated from Roseau  high school in 1976.  The Starfire Kids are names my sisters and I grew up with.  And because Roseau is a small town, we are even related to some.  
I remember they would put on a show in town with the Thrill Team.  That was a fun, big event to see!!!    
Erwin Nelson PhotosI miss the Winnipeg to St. Paul race.   Mom, my sisters and I  would go into town and watch them come through Roseau.  (Dad was busy working.) We’d also be glued to the local AM radio station, listening for race results.    
I married a man who grew up in Ada, MN.  The race went through near there as well, and he recalls how it was a big event to go and see the sleds race by.  Those were the days!
BTW – when the race season was over, they could purchase the old sleds.   Dad bought one of Dorothy Mercer’s sleds.  Oh that was grand.   I was in high school at the time.   I remember I took it out on our farm field and hit the throttle — and was a bit shocked how fast it got me to the end of the field, but it was fun!   Unfortunately Dad sold the sled shortly thereafter.  Wish we still had it….but probably was best that he sold it.
Erwin Nelson's Air SledErwin designed a wind sled in the early 60’s. It had an airplane prop on the back. I remember “helping him” when I was little, probably around age 6 or 7,  while he worked evenings in the garage on the farm making the sled.  By helping, I held the light for him or brought him tools. 🙂    
That sled was an example of Dad’s engineering and work, right down to the paint job.  He built a flip up door on the roof. 
Back in the day one could hunt that way.   The cab had two passenger doors, where two could sit in front almost as comfortable as in a car.   It also had a nice “sling” backseat that 2 or 3 could fit, or it could be easily removed.  

The Blizzard of 1966

During early March 1966 there was a real  Minnesota blizzard. He took the back seat out and used the wind sled to haul milk cans for our neighbors and us into the creamery.  Milk trucks could not  get through and farmers were faced with dumping their milk if they could not get it hauled into the Roseau creamery.   Dad did that even though at home he had a newborn (sister Lisa born 2/23/66) and his 4 year old daughter Jessica was recently home from the hospital, having nearly died from encephalitis, a complication after contracting measles.  But if help was needed Dad would be there, no matter what the conditions. “

His commitment to the people of Roseau, his co-workers and his contributions to the race team are why Erwin was always a member of the Starfire Kids. Thank you Sandra!

Don Drews and Jim Bernat with salve on their noses to combat the frostbite. 

A driver demnstrating the only way Ski-Doo gets across the finish line. 😉 

Erwin Nelson at the original book signing. 

A very young Leroy Lindblad


The passion, triumph, dominance and tragedy of one of the most successful
efforts in motorsports: The Polaris Professional Race Team


Starfire Kids Books