Matt & Megan Binsfeld

2018 Commodore

Matt Binsfeld and First Mate Megan Binsfeld

Commodore Career: Marine Construction, Dredging, Environmental Remediation, Barge Transportation

Commodore Date of Birth: 2.12.1978

Commodore Hometown: La Crosse,WI

Siblings in order: Mark, Mike, Adam, Brittany

First Mate Career: Benevolent Dictator of the Binsfeld Home

First Mate Date of Birth: 5.22.1978 Hometown: Peshtigo, WI
Siblings in order: Tom and Erin Children 1: Elyse (9)

Children 2: Anna (8) Children 3: Katie (5) Children 4: Madeline (3) Date of Marriage: 10.07.2006

How did you and your partner meet? We first met in
the computer lab of our dorm hall during our Freshman year at Marquette University. Megan and I happened to
be working on the same paper for our Freshman English Class, which was due the following morning. It was about 10 p.m. on a Sunday evening, I was just finishing my paper, as she was just beginning hers. As I was sitting in front of
a 90’s era desktop computer, I hear these loud sighs to my left. Finally, I look over and I see this amazing redhead staring at her meager stack of notes. When I finally had the courage to ask her what was wrong, she went on to tell me that she had not done enough research and she has a paper due the next day. Megan is the type who is naturally smart and always a straight “A” student, whereas I am more of a grinder and “B” student. Anyhow, seeing an opportunity,
I handed over my stack of research to her, which was
fully highlighted, delineating the pertinent parts, which applied to our assignment. Now mind you, this was in the days before the internet, much of the research was photo-

copied from books and microfiche, quite an effort in itself. The stack of information I gave her, was at least several hours of research.

After submitting the paper, on which she later got a better grade than I, Megan returned the research by leaving it
at my dorm room door, writing a nice note of thanks. We did not see each other again until the following semester accidentally running into one another at an on-campus pizza parlor, Angelo’s. That evening while sharing pizza and beer with friends, we discovered our mutual river-rat backgrounds, and a common love for boating. We started dating soon after that, and the rest is history.

Commodore Hobbies and Interests: Work, Waterskiing, Snow Skiing, Hockey, Tennis, Basketball, Racquetball, Biking, Boating, Live Music, Reading.

Commodore Community Involvement: Aquinas Catholics Schools Finance Committee, Aquinas Catholic Schools Foundation, Boy Scouts, Boys’ and Girls’ Club, The Executive Committee (TEC), Trust Point Inc. Board Member, Western Dredging Association Board Member (WEDA).

First Mate Hobbies and Interests: Skiing, Boating, Hiking, Burn Boot Camp, Love for Music, Live Music, Traveling, Wine Tasting.

First Mate Community Involvement: Boys’ and Girls’ Club.

Interesting Family History: My maternal grandfather, in his heyday of the 1920’s, was a well-known individual, basing his “business” interests out of Red Lake Falls, MN. Throughout prohibition he and his “business partners”

supplied moonshine, whiskey and all forms of “alky”
to residents throughout Northwestern Minnesota. My grandfather’s name was Kaiser Savard and his “business partners” were headquartered in Chicago, allegedly all associates of Al Capone. When business was good, Kaiser was known to have several Cadillacs, each with secret compartments, which he used to smuggle whiskey back from Chicago or Canada. Moonshine, a more formidable type of alcohol, was produced by local farmers with whom he would partner as their wholesaler. All of the illegal products were sold in the several speakeasies he owned throughout Northwestern Minnesota.

I can recall a made-for-TV special, which ran in 1986, where Geraldo Rivera opened one of Al Capone’s safes, live on a national television. My grandmother, with whom I was watching the show, was sitting on pins and needles, thinking that there was a possibility that some document within the safe would contain my grandfather’s name. At the time she was 78 years old and boy was she relieved to see the safe was empty.

I never met my grandfather, he died in February of 1973,
I was born five years later. Despite making, and losing,
a fortune running booze, or “alky running” as it was otherwise known, he was a generous man. Some claim, before the IRS caught up with his scheme, that Kaiser poured every penny he made “alky running” back into his adopted hometown of Red Lake Falls, MN, which suffered mightily from the Great Depression.

Tell the story of how you were asked to be a Commodore and First Mate: Pat Stephens said that Riverfest was doing some research with each of their sponsors and that he would like me come downtown to meet and discuss how Riverfest can better promote Brennan. I told him that advertising falls under my brother’s department, as he heads business development at Brennan, so he would be the one most likely to meet with the Riverfest Committee. Pat mentioned that there is a charitable arm of Riverfest and that I should also attend the meeting, as the group might consider giving to a fundraising campaign I was working on at the time for Aquinas Catholic Schools.

Upon our arrival, my brother and I were ushered into the back room, where unbeknownst to me, the lineup of folks who would be asking us questions were all Commodores. The group began asking their questions, my brother and

I explaining our answers. Finally, Jeff Wieser spoke up
and said, “We won’t keep you, but we do have one final question. Would you be our 2018 Commodore?” Boy was I floored! I actually thought they had the wrong guy. Later I told Pat Stephens that I am not normally known to be one for a loss of words, but boy did they get me good, I never saw it coming. I was at a loss for words and absolutely flabbergasted. My immediate answer was Yes, however,
Jeff reminded me that “perhaps you should go home and ask your wife.” That night, Megan and I spoke it over and agreed it would be a fun experience for our whole family. We are honored to be a part of the Riverfest Family.

One thing on your Bucket List: Megan: To one day visit all the continents…Matt: To play a part in a La Crosse Community Theater Musical…

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