Thanks to Dan Clabo of Brainerd (who is actually one of the "it doesn't get any better than this" actors) for clarifying the mystery of "Crow Wing, Minnesota" in the commercial - from Dan:
Excerpt about this clip in the book: Fishing Minnesota: Angling With the Experts in the Land of 10,000 Lakes
Marv Koering is pictured in the boat:
Don Kottke was honored Tuesday in Walker as the Minnesota Resort & Campground Association's 2010 inductee to the Minnesota Hospitality Hall of Fame.
Kottke, 69, along with his wife, Mayva, own and operate Don and Mayva's Crow Wing Lake Campground just off Highway 371 south of Brainerd. The Kottkes joke they purchased the campground in 1970 looking for a business near Brainerd as a nice environment to raise a family. They wanted to teach their children responsibility. Forty years later, the kids are gone and the couple notes they are still there.
Don and Mayva Kottke posed with their dog Kali. The couple owns Don and Mayva's Crow Wing Lake Campground, Brainerd. On Tuesday Don Kottke was inducted into the Minnesota Hospitality Hall of Fame.
Reached in Walker after the ceremony, Kottke said he was appreciative of the honor.
"That was a big surprise," he said. "I wasn't really expecting that. I don't really know what to say."
Kottke, 69, has spent nearly a lifetime at work and has no plans to retire any time soon. He grew up on a farm in western Minnesota. When the family moved to town when Kottke was a boy, he helped out in their general store. He graduated from Tintah High School in 1959 and married his high school sweetheart, Mayva, in 1960.
She was named the resort and campground association's Minnesota Resorter of the Year in 2005, the first time the award was presented to a campground operator. Mayva Kottke said her husband's induction into the hall of fame represents the second campground owner to be included. Kottke was inducted during the association's fall conference at Chase on the Lake in Walker.
While Kottke has spent much of his life in Minnesota, he's also been far from the lakes area. After joining the Navy in 1959, Kottke went to California and then was stationed in Morocco, North Africa. Mayva joined him and two of the couple's three children were born there.
After his time in the service, Kottke worked in Minneapolis and then tried farming in Traverse County before going back to college. He earned an accounting degree at St. Cloud State University. The effort, combined with a part-time job for a finance agency and raising a young family, took six years.
Kottke said going back to college was one of the best things he ever decided to do. He credited his family's support in helping him reach his goal of a college degree.
At monthly Minnesota Campground Owners Association meetings after purchasing the campground here, the Kottkes reported they were the youngest ones there and wondered if they had done the right thing.
"We got into it not knowing what we were doing, but it was a fun time because it was the beginning of the camping industry," Kottke said. "It was a great business to be in. It was a great business to raise a family in and the longer we were in the more we learned."
In the beginning, the Kottkes were charging $2.50 for a family of four per night for a full hookup at the campground. The Kottke family was working to make ends meet. Knowing how much they could charge was one of the hardest parts of running the operation, Kottke said.
"We're fortunate our campground is first of all in the No. 1 tourist area in Minnesota and our entrance is right off a major highway," he said.
Kottke served on the Minnesota Association of Campground Operators board for 18 years and was president five times and also served as treasurer. He also served on the Heartland Board for 11 years and as treasurer for eight of the 11 years.
Kottke also served on the Minnesota Tourism Economic Recovery Commission, which was started by Gov. Rudy Perpich and spent 12 years on the Fort Ripley Township Board.
At the induction on Tuesday, Kottke, who now has seven grandchildren, was surprised by his family's attendance at the conference in Walker.
"I wasn't expecting the whole crew to be here," he said. "I gave it 20 years on the campground association board. I had a lot of fun. It was interesting I was glad I was able to help out and do things for tourism in this state."
by RENEE RICHARDSON
Lake History Project >