Editor, The Commercial Review, Portland, Indiana 47371
The Tri-State Gas Engine and Antique Tractor Association which encompasses members throughout the Midwest, held its annual Christmas dinner and awards presentation Saturday, Dec. 2, in Portland, Indiana.
Nearly 100 members attended the function to enjoy each other's fellowship, review the successes during the past year and to keep plans moving for next year. Each year in August, the association sponsors one of, if not, the biggest gas engine and tractor shows in the United States.
Last August, over 20,000 passed through the Jay County, Indiana, Fairgrounds gate to view 725 gas engines, 92 tractors, 12 steam engine tractors, three miniature steam traction engines, two stationary engines made before 1900 and the wares of more than 125 antique dealers.
So successful was the show that Woody Turner, president of the association, announced during the show the dates for next year's show: Aug. 24, 25 and 26.
The Christmas dinner was held with the equally-important purpose of honoring those whom the board of directors felt contributed most to the show's success. The club member who contributes most is named 'Sparkplug of the Year.'
This year's 'Sparkplug of the Year' went to Fred Mayhew of Indianapolis, Indiana. He has been a member almost since the association was formed some seven years back. Turner, in presenting the award, said Mayhew was a 'Johnny on the spot.' The president said the Indianapolis man, who brings his 2236 McCormick-Deering tractor to the show, was always around when he was needed, doing whatever needed to be done. Turner said the list of things Mayhew did for the show both prior and during was so large that everything couldn't be recalled.
Past 'Sparkplugs of the Year' winners include: Carolyn Titus, Pendleton, Indiana, 1971; Walter Baldauf, Portland, Indiana, 1970; and Joe Fahnestock, Union City.
In addition, the association presented a special 'Outstanding Service Award' to Gary Hengstler, editor of The Commercial Review, Portland's daily newspaper. Hengstler was cited for promotional articles in support of the annual show.
Entertaining the association at the dinner was Lloyd Thurston of Shelby-ville, Indiana. He has won the 'Old Time Fiddler's' contest held at the August show for the last two years in a row. He was accompanied by his wife and Paul McCalip, also of Shelby-ville.
The meal was prepared by ladies of the Rosary Society of the Immaculate Conception Church in Portland.
From left: Turner, Hengstler, Titus and Mayhew.