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Days Gone By: Genevieve Hovde Rugo

Circa 1950s Genevieve with musicians from the Barn Dance Crew. From left, Cactus Slim, Dusty Lane, Lou Skarning, Eddie, Genevieve, and Andy Walsh performing at KSTP Station. Submitted photo.1 / 3
Genevieve Hovde Rugo with station owner Stanley S. Hubbard on the left, and Barry Zevan, the zany weatherman on the right. Photo by Glenn Griffen of KSTP.2 / 3
Genevieve's mother Nellie created all of her costumes. Submitted photo.3 / 3

Genevieve Hovde Rugo

Genevieve Hovde Rugo started her singing career 70 years ago in 1943, when her brother Milt insisted she enter an amateur contest held each year during the Fall Festival in River Falls.

She couldn’t believe it when she was presented with first place prize of 20 silver dollars in a First National Bank cloth bag (which she still has).

The next night River Falls Journal publisher C.E. Chubb introduced her to Frank Blood of radio station KSTP. He immediately asked her to be a guest on his show at the studio on University Avenue in St. Paul.

Genevieve was a skinny 11-year-old with pigtails when she walked into the St. Paul Hotel with its beautiful crystal ballroom, doormen in uniforms whistling for taxis and elevator operators ready to whisk passengers to their floor.

For nearly 16 years she appeared with the KSTP barn dance show, first with radio and then television, all owned by Stanley E. Hubbard.

She’s been patted on the head by Hubert Humphrey, met astronaut Neil Armstrong at a party in Nashville, and appeared with movie stars Rex Allen, Pat Buttram, Ken Curtis, Jim Reeves, Sons of the Pioneers, Marty Robbins, and Elvis Presley.

She is now the oldest member of the original broadcasting group and has been awarded “Pioneer Broadcaster” status. In September she will be interviewed once again on the Wayne Eddy Show on KYMN, streaming online worldwide, and still receives fan mail from loyal listeners.