Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Knee Injuries - Dave's Midwestern Ohio Memories

Series of Guest Blogs by an out-of-state Fish Report reader originally from this area about fond memories of growing up in Midwestern Ohio during the 50’s & 60’s

Knee Injuries


While watching the Journey on the Big Ten Network this week, I learned more about the inspirational story of Buckeye receiver Kamryn Babb, who successfully recovered from 4 ACL tears, two in each knee, over the course of his football career. Babb was elected team captain for his fifth year and was honored with the Block O jersey number. He caught this touchdown pass during Ohio State’s 56-14 win over Indiana in mid-November. He knelt down and said a prayer of thanks after the big catch as shown on this photo.


That brace on his knee brought back memories of similar braces I wear due to knee surgery on both of my knees. The first was in 1968 after tearing my cartilage while playing basketball. A 4” scar on my right knee reminds me every day of the surgery to repair the meniscus. It took forever to heal primarily because there was no such thing as physical therapy back then. The only doctor's order was to use crutches for two weeks after the surgery to avoid putting any weight on the knee, but it took years before the knee really felt ok. To this day, it’s the weaker knee. Here’s a past blog about that not-so-memorable year of 1968.


The other knee surgery was out-patient minimally-invasive arthroscopic surgery to fix a torn cartilage in my left knee from a tennis injury in 2018. What a difference in surgical techniques over the course of those 50 years!


Back to the Buckeyes, my prediction in this recent blog came to fruition regarding the college football playoffs, with OSU getting in after USC lost. Also, glad to see Alabama got snuffed! Good luck to both Big 10 teams and I hope they meet in the finals.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Shelby County Fairgrounds - Dave's Midwestern Ohio Memories

Series of Guest Blogs by an out-of-state Fish Report reader originally from this area about fond memories of growing up in Midwestern Ohio during the 50’s & 60’s

Shelby County Fairgrounds


During a recent weekend, we traveled back home to visit my 92 year old mother-in-law who resides at Fair Haven southwest of Sidney on Fair Road. We were there Sunday morning to visit before 11:00 services at Holy Angels, but since she had an activity scheduled for 10:30, we left and headed to church early.


Traveling along Fair Road, we noticed a prominent yellow Grange Hall building on the Shelby County fairgrounds and also discovered the fairground gates were wide open. Since being early for church, we drove in for my first visit since the summer of 1965. More on that memorable fair later.


The track gate was also open, so we took a spin around the slightly banked oval, which was fun, noticing bleachers that seemed brand new, in stark contrast to rickety wooden bleachers I recalled from more than a half century ago.


Watching harness racing and also any entertainment on stage in the infield was always memorable. But best was the demolition derby; so fun watching all those junkers crash into each other.


A most memorable aspect of that last fair I attended in the summer between my junior and senior years in high school was literally spending an entire week at the fair including sleeping on bales of straw in the diary barn with my high school buddies Larry and Stan, who both were showing cattle; Larry with Holsteins and Stan Ayrshires.


Nearby restrooms and showers, used by us farm boys and the carnies as well, were crude compared to current stark facilities pictured above.


Spending all week at the fair meant lots of time roaming midway attractions, trying our luck at various games being hustled by hucksters. Never did win much! Hustled indeed!


Just the year before in 1964, a highlight of that fair was a Botkins kid setting a Guinness Book of World Records by riding a ferris wheel for 25 straight hours. Check out this past blog on that crazy feat. Current record is 48 hours set at Chicago Pier’s ferris wheel in 2013. My past blog also touches on some extracurricular activities during the 1963 fair! My wife recalls riding the ferris wheel with her cousin who barfed right at the top likely all over other riders below!

The Shelby Count Fair has been around for 182 years since 1840. To keep an event thriving for that long, a well-organized group of people have to diligently plan for each fair and beyond. To that end, I noticed on the Fair’s website that a long range Master Plan was developed in 2019 to guide its future. Master Plan's go into great detail focusing on such matters as land use, facilities and infrastructure; topics as an engineer I love to peruse. Their plan did not disappoint; for example, shown below are some detailed maps of facilities, their age and size, with future plans designated.


However, I was very disappointed to discover the Master Plan designated the landmark yellow Grange Hall (#23) destined for the wrecking ball! What a travesty for such an historic building. It’s been 3 years since these plans were developed and the building is still standing, so I’m hoping there’s been a change of heart by the Fair Board. Speaking of the Grange, there is one remaining chapter in Shelby County located in Maplewood. At its peak, there were 10 chapters. Since 1873 Ohio State Grange has continuously fought for the rights of farmers and rural Americans everywhere. They focus on a number of objectives; namely agricultural education, preservation of farmland, American values and hometown roots. Given this mission, maybe they also strive for preservation of historic buildings. Let’s hope so!



Here’s a brief Shelby County Fair history:

Careful investigation has shown that the first fair held in Shelby County was on October 8th, 1840. The premiums offered at this fair amounted to forty-five dollars. This fair was very successful and Shelby County was destined to take prominent rank among the grain growing and stock raising counties of the flourishing Miami Valley. It contains many varieties of soil to make this county one of the best. Wheat, oats, corn, and hay were the main crops in those days with oats one of the top crops in the state rating. Most farms were much different than today: as they about all raised a variety of stock and poultry. Soybeans were unheard of then. Milking was done by hand and many ran milk through separators to divide the milk and cream to make butter and feed milk to the family, pets, hogs and poultry. These people worked very hard. They were up at daylight and worked all day long. The whole family pitched in and worked together just to eke out a living. They had very few conveniences and no luxuries.

The place of exhibition of this first fair was in the Courtsquare of Courtyard. It was held under an act passed by the legislature on April 12, 1839; “An act to authorize and encourage the establishment of Agricultural Societies in the Several Counties of the State and Regulate the Same.’’ The second annual fair was held in Sidney on September 28, 1841. This was the last one held under this organization. These early fairs were mostly showing a variety of grains, vegetables, eggs, fruit, and homemade products. These fairs were very educational as many new ideas on farming and housekeeping were exchanged.

The next fair held in the County was at Sidney in the market place on October 15, 1851; this fair was given under the auspices of a new organization. The market place was held on the South side of the square in Sidney. Many old timers tell us that each week the family loaded up the buggy and wagons with homemade products such as: butter, soap, milk, eggs, fresh side meat, chickens, fruits, vegetables, cream, noodles, bread, and cornbread. From these sales and hard work these families were able to survive and prosper.

On June 5th, the board met and adopted a premium list for the fair and decided to hold its fair on the 28th and 29th days of September; but at a meeting of the board held in August of that year, it was resolved to have but one day of the fair as there was a show advertised for the 29th of September. The receipts for the fair year was one hundred and eighty-six dollars; sixty-seven dollars of this amount was received from the county. The records do not show whether this fair was held in the market place or in the public square.

The third annual fair was held in October on the 5th and 6th days in 1853 on grounds west of Sidney (known as the Jorden Property) then owned by Dr. H. S. Conklin. The fourth annual fair was held on the 12th and 13th days of October, 1854 on the east side of the river and north of the railroad on the grounds B. W. Maxwell. The fifth annual fair was held in 1855 on the grounds of J. T. Fulton on the 4th and 5th days of October. At this fair the interest began to wane and it did not come up to the fairs held two or three years prior. In those days, most fairs were held in October as most had the crops and fruits harvested and had a few days to be thankful and rejoice. The matter of securing a place to hold the fairs became burdensome and it was difficult to secure grounds for exhibition of stocks and for domestic, mechanical and miscellaneous articles. The public square for the one and the court square for the other was sometimes used, and on one occasion the market house was used.

A period of five years elapsed during which there is no record of the doings of any society or organization in the county. A new organization was formed in 1859 and a part of the present fairgrounds was purchased in 1860 and deeded to John H. Mathers, A. Alex Lecky, James A. Wells, J.F. Fulton and J.C. Coe as Trustees of the organization. This organization was known as The Shelby County Agricultural Institute and issued and sold two hundred and twenty-nine shares of stock at ten dollars per share to 222 persons. The money was to be used in paying for the grounds and making improvements thereon.

The first fair was held on the present grounds the 4th, 5th and 6th days of October in 1860. At that time and until November 1902, the property belonged to individuals who had invested their money for the purpose of furnishing a place for the accommodations of the Agricultural and Mechanical Industries of the County to exhibit their productions, and which the stockholders never received one cent.

The receipts received from the annual fairs, were expended for improvements and beautifying the grounds.These grounds were blessed with beautiful large oak trees, many of which still stand. At first, the buildings were rather crude with rough lumber pens being used to confine the smaller farm animals. At that time horses were the principle means of power and transportation and so they received much attention and naturally horse barns and trotting track were constructed at an early date. Other buildings were erected from time to time.

At the November election of 1902, the electors of the County decided by ballot to authorize the Board of County Commissioners of Shelby County, Ohio to purchase and improve lands upon which to hold County Fairs, and to issue bonds of said County and levy taxes to pay for same. The act provided that there should be elected from each township, two persons to a board styled. The Board of Managers of the Shelby County Agricultural Society and under this management, the receipts of the County fair are continually growing.

A new judges stand was constructed in front of the grandstand. Further grounds improvements included a multipurpose building; fence replacement around the entire grounds; 4-H horse barn; vinyl siding was put on the grange hall, old merchants hall, and junior fair office. In the spring of 1994 the old sheep barn, hog barn, babyland building, dairy pole barn, stud horse barn, scale shed, and metal hog barn were torn down and a new livestock complex building was constructed.

The Fair Management has through the years anticipated the needs of the community, both agriculturally and commercially. The Shelby County Fair during all the years of its existence has experienced foul weather and sunshine, depressions and boom years; has operated annually even through the unsettled conditions of wars. The Society has grown from the market place and court square downtown and pasture field with borrowed money in the treasury to the uncumbered grounds containing 30 acres on which 45 buildings and all necessary accessories for the use and convenience of the exhibitors and visitors, who annually attend THE SHELBY COUNTY FAIR.

– Shelby County Agricultural Society



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