The Kosciusko County Historical Society’s 49th annual banquet on Thursday evening remembered the early days of The Soapbox Derby.
Held in the Center Lake Pavilion, photographs, trophies, two derby cars, helmets, uniforms and other memorabilia were displayed around the room. Julia Frush, Sally Hogan and Michael Alspaugh added to the festivities by presenting crowd participating skits.
Speakers for the evening included former soapbox derby participants Tom Plew and Larry Shively. Both spoke of how they designed and built their cars, their experiences and years of participation.
Plew started preparing his car for the 1957 race. He went on to win the semifinal in 1960, coming in second place in the final race. “It gave me confidence,” he said about his participation, “confidence for my entire career.”
Shively not only spoke of his experience, but displayed the car he built and the tool box he won. The car had been stored in a spare bedroom for over 45 years, until being moved to a pole barn for the last 10 years.
“You won’t be a winner without a new set of wheels every year,” he stated about what he had learned. Shively raced in 1955 and 1956.
Sally Hogan, museum director, spoke of where the races, were held in Warsaw. Races, which began in 1938, were held on SR 15S at Walnut Creek heading down towards Wildmans. The following year it was held at Whites Hill heading eastbound. In the 1940s the races were held in Fort Wayne, with no races during the war years.
A DVD of movies. taken by Strand News. was shown as part of the program. The DVD. as well as booklet of photos. are available to purchase from the Historical Society at the Jail Museum.
The evening also included the election of officers and recognition of museum and library volunteers. Officers for 2015 include: Jerry Frush, president; Mary Hartle, first vice president; Ken Fawley, second vice president; Marge Warren, third vice president; Loran Sims, secretary; Avis Gunter, assistant secretary; Jerry Black treasurer; Connie Schlag, assistant treasurer; Sally Hogan, membership and museum director; Dan Coplen county historian; Connie Black, genealogy chair; William Wilson, archeology; and Sharon Sucec, librarian.
Members elected included Bob Robinson, Bill Huffer, Caroline Fawley, Harry Gigous, Janet Kirkpatrick, Janice Long, Mary Beth Camden, Nancy Adams, Teri Wheeler, June Thomas, Michael Alspaugh, Ann White, Mary Ettinger and Neal Carlson.