Elk River Eagles Club traces its roots to 1965

by Joni Astrup

Associate editor

On July 24, 1965, the Eagles Club in Elk River was formed.

Harley Rohlf and Wallace Brindamour started the club and Rohlf was its first president.

Known as the Elk River Aerie No. 3264 of the Fraternal Order of Eagles, the club continues today.

It is located at 824 Railroad Dr., in what once were the offices of a John Deere dealership.

Shirley Whiting describes the club as “old but comfy.” Whiting joined the Elk River Eagles in 1975 and works as a bartender there.

“They’ve done a lot of good around town,” she said of the Eagles.

The Eagles Women’s Auxiliary was involved in the purchase of a fire truck for the Elk River Fire Department, Whiting said. It was a pickup truck that was converted as a wildland truck, according to Fire Chief John Cunningham.

The Eagles also helped the Elk River Police Department with its first police dog.

Police Chief Brad Rolfe said the Eagles, along with other local organizations, donated $22,000 in 1989 to get the police department’s K9 program up and running. The first team was officer (now Captain) Ron Nierenhausen and Baron. The funds included the purchase of a squad car and other K9 equipment.

The Eagles Club has also held a number of benefits for various causes over the years.

Club helps others

The Elk River Eagles has about 150 members, and is always looking for new ones. Memberships cost $40 a year for new members and $30 a year for renewals.

“It would be great to get more members involved, just to help out more in the community,” said Michelle Kliber, the club’s chaplain.

Kliber joined the Eagles Women’s Auxiliary in 2003. The Elk River Eagles Club no longer has a women’s auxiliary and all members are now Aerie members, she said.

A 1984 graduate of Elk River High School, Kliber likes the fact that the Eagles helps people and raises money for charities.

“It’s a good feeling for me to be helping to give back because I’ve had help in the past,” she said.

Besides hosting fundraisers, the club has a pull-tab operation which helps generate money for community causes.

While the Eagles is a private club, non-members are welcome to visit. The club opens at 11 a.m. daily and has many specials, including:

•Happy hour from 11 a.m.–1 p.m. and 4–6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

•Monday: Beer for $1.50 all day.

•Tuesday: Tacos (donation requested) at 5 p.m. and Bargo and trivia at 7 p.m.

•Wednesday: Texas Hold ’em at 7 p.m.

•Second and fourth Thursdays: Karaoke at 7 p.m.

•Friday: Meat raffle at 5 p.m.

•Live music on weekends.

When the Vikings play, the club serves hot dogs and chips (donation requested) and has drink specials when the Vikings get a touchdown.

The Eagles will have an Oktoberfest celebration today (see box). Other upcoming events include a Halloween celebration at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29. The club hopes to have a fishing contest again in February. The club also is planning to serve bouya, a vegetable soup with several kinds of meat in it, sometime in February. The soup is cooked outside all day. “People just love it,” Kliber said.

Elk River Eagles officers

President: Bernie Erie

Vice President: Yvette Jacobson

Secretary: Leon Potratz

Treasurer: Jim Jaroz

Chaplain: Michelle Kliber

Conductor: Barb Benik

Inside Guard: Russ Kampa

Trustees: Karl Schiebel, J.D. Enright, Chuck Wells and Greg Lehmann