Hudson has its Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists and Baptists - and then there are the Boosters.
The youth sports organization might not be a religious denomination, but some of its members show as much devotion to it as a deacon does to his church. And the service tends to run in families.
Troy Timm, 2004 Hudson Boosters president, is a prime example. Timm, 33, grew up in the Boosters, playing on baseball teams coached by his father, Arlen, and helping out with the Easter egg hunt and other activities when he got older.
Now his children are playing Booster ball.
"Once you're a Booster, you're always a Booster," he says. "You can't disappear."
It's that kind of commitment that has kept the organization going since a group of civic-minded businessmen led by restaurant owner John Rauchnot started it 50 years ago.
The 2004 Hudson Booster Days, July 2-4, will be bigger than ever to celebrate the milestone. The annual Fourth of July festival is the non-profit, privately funded organization's primary fund-raiser of the year. The revenue it generates buys new uniforms and equipment, and keeps participation fees low for the 1,050 youth playing on one of the Boosters' more than 70 baseball and softball teams.
While summer recreation programs in many communities are run and financed by local government, the Boosters do the work in Hudson - to the relief of taxpayers.
It's no small task for the sixty-some volunteers.
Continuing improvements to the Boosters' four ball fields off Krattley Lane in North Hudson have taken up much of Timm's time recently
when he wasn't involved in planning for the upcoming Booster Days.
Why does he do it?
"That's a good question. That's what my wife asks me all the time," he jokes.
Then, more seriously, he adds: "Everybody's on the go so much these days that there isn't enough help ... some people have to step up and take over."
The Boosters have expanded their musical line-up for this year's celebration and moved the start of the parade (Saturday, July 3) ahead to 11 a.m.
Timm credits music coordinator Shawn Bagley for assembling a fresh line-up of popular Twin Cities-area bands to rock the Lakefront Park band shell.
Second Generation, a holdover from last year's celebration, will entertain Friday night beginning at 8:30 p.m. The five-piece band with female vocalists specializes in classic '60s, '70s and '80s dance music.
Three bands new to the Booster Days stage will be featured Saturday following the parade. Three Chords, No Waiting opens at 1 p.m., followed by Phat Pearl at 4:30 p.m.
Phat Pearl plays a variety of high-energy alternative and classic rock selections, according to the group's publicist. The band entertained last Friday night at Dibbo's.
Following the fireworks at dusk, Gel will take the stage. The group was named best Twin Cities-area rock band by City Pages newspaper in 2002.
On Sunday, The Root City Band, a three-piece rock, soul and funk group, plays at 4:30 p.m., followed by local favorite The Lamont Cranston Blues Band at 8:30 p.m.
Timm says another reason for the expanded musical line-up and earlier parade start is financial.
"We're trying to get more people to come down after the parade and have a bite to eat," he says. They might also stick around to listen to the music and drink a beer or two.
Food and beer sales are what generate the income for the Boosters. The United Methodist Church and the Boy Scout troop from St. Patrick's Catholic Church will again run the food stands in partnership with the Boosters. RJ's Meats will offer barbecue ribs on a stick Saturday evening.
Timm says the goal is to raise $30,000 for Booster operations. The weather is always the wild card for the event, he says.
"We're getting there. We're waiting for the day now," he says of the preparations. "Everything's pretty much set. We've got all our contracts signed. We've just got the last rat race to get moving."
Timm knows from experience the value of the programs the Boosters offer. He began with the organization since playing his first T-ball game at age 5 or 6 on a field where the Lakefront Park boat ramp is now located.
"I've been in every Booster program from the start to the finish," he notes.
His boss at the Hudson Water Utility, Dennis Christophersen, was also one of his Booster baseball coaches. As a teenager, he used to help his dad and other Boosters set up for the annual Easter egg hunt in Prospect Park.
Timm is a 1988 graduate of Hudson High School. He attended UW-River Falls for two years before deciding academic life wasn't for him and went to work for the Hudson Water Utility.
His employment with Ed Brown Plumbing of Houlton during his high school and college years helped land him the job with the water utility. It also led to marriage.
His wife, Jody, is Ed Brown's daughter. They were married 11 years ago and have two daughters (Jordan, 9, and Carson, 3) and a son (Holden, 6).
Hudson has grown, but natives still run into old friends at Booster Days, and new residents make new friends, Timm says.
"There's usually a class reunion of some sort - just like Pepper Fest," he says.