October 19, 2017
By David Nordby
The Brillion News
New project chronicles Brillion sports history
BRILLION – Earl Herring didn’t know that Ariens Company was going to give him a retirement ceremony for his work on the Ariens Museum Committee when he walked away from it earlier this month. He thought he would sneak away with a routine breakfast with the committee after helping start-up the museum and give it face-lifts numerous times over the last 14 years.
“It was kind of overwhelming,” Herring said. “It was very meaningful, no question about it.”
Ariens put together a PowerPoint presentation remembering Herring’s time as a member of the committee and presented him with a commemorative plaque.
Herring originally retired as a full-time worker from Ariens in August 1998 after 25 years as an employee. Ariens CEO Dan Ariens approached him in 2003, and asked him to be on the Ariens Museum Committee as a historian. Herring helped get the museum opened in 2003 and helped on updates in 2008, 2013 and 2015. The museum added a 1,300-square foot Gravely display in 2014, with video histories narrated by Herring. The museum received major enhancements earlier this year with touchscreen histories, wallboard displays and historic products.
“It’s something I’ve been very proud to be a part of,” Herring said. “There’s one thing about the museum, it’s constantly changed and I think that’s important. That keeps people coming back … I appreciate that the company has allowed me to be a part of this process. I hope I have been able to give back.”
Herring isn’t exactly opening more free time in his schedule though. He might be even busier. Since last year he’s been in the process of tackling a massive project – a book that will chronicle the history of sports in Brillion. A book of its kind hasn’t been done before in the city. Herring has spent time looking through old editions of The Brillion News and high school annuals. Gert Behnke, the Brillion Historical Society, Brillion High School and Zander Press have all assisted Herring in the project already, but he says he has many people to still talk to.
“I don’t know how to ween out, there’s so much,” Herring says laughing. “How do you do a presentation that has a flow and that is interesting?”
One way is to divide the book into five sections, like Herring is doing. The first section will feature early history of sports in Brillion beginning in 1876, the creation of the Brillion Athletic Association in 1900 and its role in Brillion and the city sports teams. The second section will have Brillion High School sports. The third will feature the history of other sports like golf and swimming. The fourth will feature notable athletes of Brillion and people who made contributions to sports. The fifth and final section, maybe Herring’s favorite section, will feature photos.
“People like pictures … at least I do,” he says laughing. Photos will also be featured in the first four sections of the book. “They tell so much of what you’re trying to relate.”
Herring encourages anyone with a story or photos to assist in the project with full credit.
“The effort I have made is to talk to people … it’s just interesting to hear from people what they remember or what someone has told them,” he says. “It’s just amazing.”
Please see the complete story in the October 19, 2017 edition of The Brillion News.