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Champs to host Stu Jam benefit

After his father’s death in November, Eric Nelson, 40-year-old son of Citizen of the Year award winner Stuart Nelson, felt like doing something in his memory while also helping to raise money for one of his dad’s biggest passions.

“My dad had a deep passion for learning and the environment,” Eric Nelson said. “The McMurtrie Preserve walking classroom represents that and that is why I decided to give all donations from the event being donated to the Preserve. And why can't raising money be fun? These are all bands that Dad loved listening to and seeing, so let's have a great time while doing great things.”

The event takes place starting at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, at Champs Bar and Grill in New Richmond and will feature four bands that Nelson plays drums for: Ingenious Whittler, The Firm Stools, Smothered in Bacon and Nelson’s Willie.

“I remember as a child my sister, Kara, and I listening to records by Bob Seger, Jackson Browne, Billy Joel and the Blues Brothers that our mom and dad played,” Eric Nelson said. “Dad even had a Blues Brothers tattoo. So music was a natural choice for this event.”

The reason Nelson chose to donate all the money raised at the event to fund the walking classroom was due to his father’s deep passion for the protection and appreciation of the environment, as well as his involvement with the Star Prairie Land Preservation Trust.

“My dad knew that the best way to learn is to see and feel what is around you, not just read it in a book,” Nelson said. “Dad and his pals at the Star Prairie Land Preservation Trust did a wonderful job of setting up the walking classroom, which is right by Cedar Lake. It is all ready. Now, we just want to find ways for people to use it. We are thinking elementary students, high school and WITC biology students, elderly field trips, 4-H, community education....the sky's the limit.”

When it came to getting the four bands to commit to playing at Stu Jam, Nelson had very little trouble convincing the groups to take part in the fundraiser.

“All of the members of the bands playing (at Stu Jam) are long-time friends of the entire Nelson family and were close to my dad as well,” Eric Nelson said. “I sent an email out with the idea right after dad died and everyone got back with a wholehearted yes within an hour. They are fantastic musicians and better human beings. This is a great way to honor Dad.”

For more information on the event, visit

Jordan Willi
Jordan Willi is a reporter for the New Richmond News. Previously, he worked as a sports reporter at the Worthington Daily Globe in Worthington, Minnesota. He also interned at the Hudson Star Observer for two summers and contributed to the Bison Illustrated sports magazine at North Dakota State University.
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