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Inductee Profile

Harold Nelson


As co-owner of the Coca Cola Bottling Company in Rice Lake for 48 years, Harold Nelson shared his success as a civic leader with his interest in sports that benefited the recreation scene in Rice Lake, Barron County and surrounding counties for nearly five decades. Harold and his brother Earl built, owned and operated the Coca Cola Bottling Company from 1938 to 1986. Harold provided the game programs for football and basketball games for the Warriors and area teams for over 30 years. He also printed schedules for the Warriors, sponsored radio broadcasts of games for the entire area and advertised in the local newspapers for the benefit of athletics. In addition, he and his company provided scoreboards for the football, baseball and softball fields. Harold helped form, organize, and chaired the committee that hosted the popular annual sports banquets for Rice Lake athletes which featured such nationally known figures as Bart Starr, Ray Nitschke, Forrest Gregg, Norm Van Brocklin, Don Riley, John Erickson and Milt Bruhn in the late 50’s and 60’s. He also arranged transportation for the Warrior basketball teams from the late 40’s to the mid 50’s to attend Minneapolis Laker basketball games. Harold served on the committee in the dedication of the Francis “Pug” Lund football field in 1979. Harold Nelson was born in Green Valley, MN and graduated from Pine City High School before coming to Rice Lake. He entered the U.S. Army in 1942, serving in New Guinea. His numerous civic contributions include being a charter member and past president of the Barron County Campus Foundation and the Dean’s List, a member of the Rice Lake Rotary Club where he received the Paul Harris Fellow Award, past president of the Chamber of Commerce, and founder of Salute to Industry Day. Harold passed away in May of 2004.

Harold Nelson
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