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Couple's work gains attention

August 4, 2012
Jodelle Greiner , Fairmont Sentinel

WINNEBAGO - Charlotte and Ron Osborn don't think they need recognition for what they've done, but other people feel otherwise, so the couple will be inducted into Winnebago's Hall of Fame on Aug. 11.

An open house reception is scheduled from 2-4 p.m. at the Winnebago Municipal Center, with a presentation at 3 p.m. The public is welcome to attend.

The couple tried to turn down the induction when Doug Hill from the Winnebago Economic Development Authority told them.

Article Photos

Charlotte and Ron Osborn of Winnebago stand by their black 1951 Deluxe Chevrolet, which they have displayed in every Moto Fest since the beginning. The Osborns will be inducted into the Winnebago Hall of Fame on Aug. 11.

"I said, 'Really?'" Charlotte recalled. "'I don't know that Ronnie will accept it; he doesn't want recognition.'

"Two of the kids said, 'Yes, you're gonna take it. It's an honor, Dad, go ahead and accept it,'" Charlotte said.

One of the reasons the EDA wanted to recognize the couple was their role in starting Moto Fest, the town festival, which happens to be this weekend.

Back in 1980, the Osborns were out to supper with friends, when they came up with the idea for the car show. Ron had just gotten a black 1951 Deluxe Chevrolet.

The first Moto Fest was July 27, 1980, and the Osborns have been involved in some way ever since: pageants, queen contests, bathtub races, tractor pulls, kiddie parades, the all-school reunion and the Centennial celebration.

Ron still remembers how much work it was to fence off the area when people had to pay to get in.

Charlotte was head of the parade for seven years: "Loved communicating with all the people," she said, especially the bands.

"Had a lot of fun over the years," Ron said.

During that time, the Osborns raised four sons and a daughter and helped out with other community projects. Ron was on the Winnebago Fire Department for 21 years and is now the proud owner of a 1940 Chevy fire truck that he still tinkers with. Charlotte was a Pink Lady volunteer at Parker Oaks. Both served on the ambulance crew: Ron for 10 years and Charlotte for five.

Now great-grandparents, Charlotte still drives school bus and serves coffee at church. Ron was a church trustee, but "things have really changed," Charlotte said.

Ron is battling cancer and their youngest son, Bret, has taken over operating the family business, Ron's Trenching.

The couple's last year to work with Moto Fest was 2006, but that black Chevy has made it to the car show every year. Whether the car continues to make an appearance each year might not be up to Ron.

"We have a 7-year-old grandson, (Levi), who really likes grandpa's car," Charlotte said.

The family hopes if Levi someday decides to show the Chevy, Moto Fest will still be around.

"Our local people support it well," Charlotte said.



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