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Sunday, July 10, 2022
Shelbyville, Home of the Indiana Derby
ABOVE: Interstatedaydream, right, won the Indiana Oaks race at Horseshoe Indianapolis yesterday on the same day as the Indiana Derby. | Coady Photography
The law requires every city and town in America to have a tourist attraction. I don’t know when the “tourist attraction” law was passed. It was before my time. I think it was sometime during the Great Depression, probably part of the “New Deal.”
A tourist attraction not only helps the local economy, but it gives the locals something to look forward to every year. It’s not only an excuse to have a parade and crown a queen, but it puts a community on the map.
Coney Island, New York has the famous 4th of July hot dog eating contest. If you missed it this year, Joey Chestnut won by eating 63 hot dogs. Joey, a fan favorite, didn’t cruise to victory as easily as he has done in years past. This year Joey had to take a break from swallowing hot dogs when a protester wearing a Darth Vader Mask ran on stage. Joey calmly put the “Dark Lord of the Sith” in a headlock until security arrived and then proceeded to swallow more hot dogs.
The hot dog eating contest is an example of what a community can promote if they don’t really have anything worthwhile to celebrate. Other examples are Cawker City, Kan., known for being home of the “World’s Largest Ball of Twine” or Boggstown’s annual “Greta Thunberg Look-a-Like” contest. (Come to think of it, Boggstown’s annual Greta Thunberg festival might have just been in one of my dreams. I couldn’t find a brochure at Shelby County Tourism.)
Greenfield has “Riley Days” when they celebrate favorite son and poet James Whitcomb Riley. Riley couldn’t spell worth a darn, but as the youngsters say, “He could sure bust a rhyme.”
Once upon a time, Shelbyville hosted the “Bears of Blue River” festival. Like Greenfield, we celebrated a local author, Charles Major, who wrote a children’s book by the same name. Unlike Greenfield, over time, we seemed to lose interest in our festival.
The first few years, our festival lasted a month, and if you wanted a seat to see the Elvis impersonator, it required setting up your lawn chair on the public square a day ahead of time. The parade was one of the largest in the State of Indiana. Just the Shriners, driving various little vehicles, formed a line as long as the eye could see. By the last year, the celebration lasted only a few hours, there was no Elvis impersonator, and the parade was just me on my Schwinn being chased by a stray dog.
As the home of the Indiana Derby, Shelbyville now has a major sporting event as a tourist attraction. Shelbyville is like Indianapolis with the Indy 500, Louisville with the Kentucky Derby or Pasadena with the Rose Bowl.
It might take a few years for Shelbyville’s Indiana Derby Festival to catch on with the public. Our Derby is still in its infancy compared to the others. The first Kentucky Derby was May 17, 1875; the first Rose Bowl was January 1, 1902; and the first Indy 500 was May 30, 1911. This year is the 28th running of the Indiana Derby, but it has only been in Shelbyville since 2013.
I’m probably going to need some help to get the Shelbyville Indiana Derby Festival going. This year the parade just consisted of me on my Schwinn, but I think in years to come it will grow. Maybe next year I can round up an Elvis impersonator.
Enough of my rambling. Let’s head on out to the track. It is a beautiful day for horse racing. The day includes eight stakes with purses of more than $1.1 million dollars.
Alicia Mummert, the Director of Marketing, (see photo above, with the columnist) welcomed me to the track. Many of the people who make the race possible are our friends and neighbors. Tammy Knox, Race Marketing Manager, provided me with a Media pass. Steve Huber, who I have known since we were both paperboys, was providing security in the winner’s circle. Tim Dewitt, whose family owned the local movie theater and Stage Door Graphics, is the track Security Manager. Jon Cooper, a security officer at our courthouse, was providing security in the clubhouse along with Terry Boring.
As post time approached, I spotted a friendly face behind the betting counter. It was Sherry Mohr, who for years worked behind the counter at the local post office. I placed my bets and headed out to watch the race from the rail.
Local musician Garry Lauziere (see below, photo by the author) played “Back Home Again in Indiana” followed by “Call to the Post”, and a short time later the 28th running of the Indiana Derby was in the history books.
Win: Actuator, Jockey James Graham
Place: Best Actor, Jockey Florent Geroux
Show: King Ottoman, Jockey Marcelino Pedroza, Jr.
Editor’s note: In other race action yesterday at the track, the Brazilian born Ivar and jockey Joe Talamo made a big move in the final turn to rally home for the win in the $100,000 Jonathan Schuster Memorial.
Local Vacation Bible School Set to Make Waves
Kassy Wilson decorates at First Christian Church on Friday in preparation for this week’s Vacation Bible School. | photo by ANNA TUNGATE
The annual joint summer Vacation Bible School between local churches is back. Hosted this year at First Christian Church, 118 W. Washington St., Shelbyville, the collaborative event between First Christian, First Presbyterian and First United Methodist churches offers children in preschool through fifth grade a week of activities themed “Make Waves: What You Do Today Can Change the World Around You.”
Each evening, Monday through Friday, July 11 - 15, starts with dinner at 5:30 p.m., a large group assembly, then small groups for activities. From beach-themed crafts to making snacks and playing games, every moment is geared toward “diving deeper into scripture,” Kassy Wilson, who was decorating the meeting space on Friday, said.
Wilson was joined by Aleigha Simerly, who said the children will not only have adult supervision, but also middle and high school students who just returned from a mission trip to California - where they’ve been studying theology and participating in ocean activities - will be on hand to volunteer and share.
Plans for VBS activities have been in the works for some time.
“Journaling with God is a new station that we're doing, where they can either draw pictures to God or they can write to God,” Wilson said. “It’s kind of like a quiet time where they can just go in there and reflect on what they’ve learned, and if there’s something they need to talk with Him about, they can do that.”
The event will be held Monday through Thursday at First Christian, 5:30 - 8 p.m., and on Friday evening at Blue River Memorial Park, where the children will enjoy the splash pad, dinner and the snow cone truck, lawn games and performances.
“Some children may not have ever learned about God's word. So we're excited to get some new faces in here,” Wilson said.
Local real estate sales remained on a roll, with 67 home sales last month in Shelby County, the most in a month for at least the past three years of data available, up four sales from 63 in May. In June 2021, 43 homes were sold. The median price set a record for the second month in a row, up to $250,000, up from $185,000 last June. Inventory is rebounding, too, up to 67 in June from 46 in May 2022.
HOOSIER NEWS: The number of houses available for sale in the state has increased by about 30 percent over the past year. Chris Watts, the Vice President of Public Affairs at the Indiana Association of Realtors, said housing inventory had declined yearly since 2014. But, he said, over the past year the Indiana Association of Realtors has seen an uptick in homes available across the state. “We've seen certainly a double digit increase,” Watts said. “Really every region of the state is on an upswing with the exception of east central Indiana.” Indiana, Watts said, is still a seller’s market. He said there are more people wanting to buy homes than there are homes for sale, but the market is becoming more balanced. There’s also more demand with more determined buyers chasing a dwindling number of homes for sale. Over the past year, Watts said sales are proceeding at a fairly brisk pace despite being down between 2 percent and 3 percent from last year. But that rate is still above numbers from 2018 and 2019. (Indiana Public Media)
Editor’s note: Several readers reported experiencing email filter issues yesterday. Although you can always access all editions by logging in at https://addisontimes.substack.com, I am more than happy to also send you a link to the day’s edition . Just “reply” to any previous edition, and I’ll follow up! - Kristiaan Rawlings
This Week in Shelby County" works by George L. Stubbs Sr. are owned by the Shelby County Historical Society (Grover Center) and used with permission.
THIS DAY IN SHELBY COUNTY HISTORY
News around Shelbyville and the surrounding area as reported on or about this date in history. Selections are curated from the Shelby County Public Library Genealogy Department.
20 YEARS AGO: 2002
A state prison inmate from Gary sent at least 10 unwanted letters to Shelbyville women after he apparently obtained their addresses from copies of The Shelbyville News found in the prison library. The addresses had been found in police reports. In the letter, the prisoner wrote, “Would you be interested in corresponding with a lonely prisoner? Could be fun. I hope to hear from you soon. Peace be with you.”
El Vaquero, a new Mexican grocery store, was opened at 310 W. Broadway St. by Alfredo Guadiana and his associate, Mr. Amezcua.
30 YEARS AGO: 1992
Lambs’ Books, a full-service Christian bookstore, held grand opening of its Shelbyville store at 1628 E. State Road 44. Manager Barbara Stubbe handed out prizes to winners Linda Amos, Sharon Gibson, Charlene Coulter and Linda Bartles.
40 YEARS AGO: 1982
Vicki Veneri, 18, sponsored by Eagles Lodge No. 766, was crowned the 1982 Shelby County Fair Queen. Vicki was a majorette and a member of the Sunshine Society at Shelbyville High School. Kim Emerick was first runner-up and Julie Trusty was second runner-up. Robin Scott was Miss Congeniality.
50 YEARS AGO: 1972
Signs and barricades were again removed sometime during the weekend from a road undergoing reconstruction work north of Fairland. The road, between CR 400W and 450 and 500 N, had been closed for a week. The “closed” signs and barricades had been removed by someone “almost every night” and had been “tossed into a roadside ditch,” county highway supervisor Sam Parker said. The county had been in the process of removing “small hills” to improve traffic visibility on the stretch.
60 YEARS AGO: 1962
The Indiana Gas & Water Company began construction of an $8,000 gas main extension to supply fuel to heat the Lora B. Pearson School. The hope was to someday supply natural gas for heating the Junior High School building. Also under construction was a 285-foot main extension to supply natural gas to the Addison Township School for space heating, water heating and cooking.
The Major Hospital Foundation made plans for a physical therapy unit for the local hospital. It was to be known as the Earl F. Hammond Memorial Physical Therapy Unit, since two-thirds of the Foundation’s treasury had been donated in memory of Hammond, the first president of the hospital foundation and its president at the time of his death.
70 YEARS AGO: 1952
“Big Blue River - one of Shelby County’s most picturesque streams and once a fisherman’s delight until pollution came along - is still being polluted by waste material from here and from the strawboard plant at Carthage…” The Shelbyville News reported. Steps were slowly being taken to remedy the situation in Rush County. “Carthage’s pollution of the river also has always been the city of Shelbyville’s alibi - ‘What good would it do us to stop polluting the stream down here, when it’s already polluted when it gets here’ - and if there eventually is a complete elimination of the Carthage pollution it will knock the props out from under the city’s old stand and the state will probably be one step nearer to ordering Shelbyville to put in a sewage treatment plant,” the paper said.
The City of Shelbyville switched to a chlordane solution to eliminate flies since local flies had reportedly became immune to DDT and Lindane. The city started by spraying alleys, the banks of Blue River and the Hollywood housing addition. City Health Officer Dr. Wilson Dalton also said garbage cans should be up off the ground about one foot, so that rats and other rodents as well as dogs could not get to the cans.
80 YEARS AGO: 1942
Children were offered free admission at the Ritz and Alhambra theatres if they turned in at least 10 pounds of scrap rubber. The movies included “Dick Tracy vs. Crime.”
Dr. Herbert Inlow was commissioned a major in the U.S. Army medical corps and received orders to report for duty. Dr. Inlow had served two months with the medical corps during World War I.
90 YEARS AGO: 1932
Admission prices were slashed at Porter Pool due to waning interest during the depression.
Boy Scouts canvassed the town for donations of canning supplies. The supplies would be redistributed to those raising community gardens.
100 YEARS AGO: 1922
The Vine Street wooden bridge was in need of repairs, contractors told city council. Five support beams were needed and the rail on the south side of the bridge was weak, they said. The council referred the matter to the public improvement committee.