Shuttle drivers connect with community, fair


By Blythe Alspaugh - balspaugh@sidneydailynews.com



This is Patrick Luedeke’s second year of driving shuttle for the Shelby County Fair.

This is Patrick Luedeke’s second year of driving shuttle for the Shelby County Fair.


Blythe Alspaugh | Sidney Daily News

A long-time fair goer, Ivan Zorn enjoys the livestock and sheep shows most.


Blythe Alspaugh | Sidney Daily News

Not much of a fair-goer, Mike Edwards’ favorite part of the fair is driving the shuttle.


Blythe Alspaugh | Sidney Daily News

Pat Johnson, of Sidney, has driven shuttle for the fair for eight years.


Blythe Alspaugh | Sidney Daily News

SIDNEY — Ivan Zorn, of Jackson Center, has been driving shuttle for the Shelby County Fair since as far back as he can remember.

“Joe Platfoot, when they started it, asked, and I started then,” Zorn said. “I’ve been trying to figure out how long it’s been and I can’t. But I talked to a family the other day, and I hauled their daughter in when she was a baby, and she’s 19. So I think it’s been just about that long.”

Zorn’s involvement with the Shelby County Fair extends beyond shuttle driving. As a boy, Zorn showed steers. To this day he maintains farmland south of Jackson Center. He enjoys all of the fair, but especially the agricultural aspects with the kids showing projects more than anything else.

“I like to watch kids show livestock. It’s a good experience for all of them. It’s a little bit of responsibility, and so on and so forth.” said Zorn. “I guess I like the sheep and beef more, because I know more about them, but I kind of watch the others once in a while.”

Beyond the fair, Zorn’s favorite part of driving shuttle for the fair is the people he gets to meet and connect with.

“There’s a gentleman the other day that was here, they were born and raised over in Bellefontaine, and they retired in Oklahoma, and they come back here during the fair and I see them every time they come back,” Zorn said.

For Pat Johsnon, of Sidney, driving shuttle for the fair for the past eight years has been somewhat reminscent of her 18 years as a transit driver for the city of Sidney.

“I enjoy it, I enjoy the people. A lot of the people remember me from when I was driving for the city,” said Johnson. Driving shuttle gives her the opportunity to catch up with past riders. “Some of them even tell me, ‘I wish you didn’t retire!’”

Johnson’s favorite part of driving the shuttle is not only the people, but the opportunity to help them out. It’s what she feels has kept her coming back all these years to continue driving shuttle for the Shelby County Fair, be it from the parking lots to the gates or driving the elderly around the fairgrounds during senior day.

When it comes to the fair, Johnson’s favorite part is a toss-up between the sugar waffles and the entertainment.

“Friday, they’re going to have a good band in there, Phil Dirt and the Dozers. That’s back in my age group, but that’s about it.” said Johnson. “I get my waffles and go home.”

Although the weather has been mostly pleasant during the fair, Sunday brought extreme heat that made it almost unbearable.

“My granddaughter, bless her heart, brought me one of those neck things that you put around your neck, that you put it down in water, and I think that’s the only thing that saved me. I only had an hour to go but I started feeling sick to my stomach. But she brought me that and that helped a lot,” Johnson said.

“The biggest thing is the elderly, trying to make sure that they don’t have to walk any further than they have to, especially being in there all day,” said Patrick Luedeke, of Houston.

This is Luedeke’s second year driving shuttle for the fair. Getting into shuttle driving through a friend, Luedeke says his favorite part of driving shuttle is getting to meet and talk to different people attending the fair.

Mike Edwards, of Shelby County, shares a similar sentiment.

“My favorite part of shuttle driving is meeting up with people I haven’t seen for a year. We just talk, and get in trouble because we sit too long,” Edwards said.

The shuttle for the fair runs from the time the fair opens until the time it closes every day, transporting fairgoers from the Sidney Middle and High School parking lots, and the Emerson Elementary School parking lot.

This is Patrick Luedeke’s second year of driving shuttle for the Shelby County Fair.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2019/07/web1_LUEDEKE_PATRICK.jpgThis is Patrick Luedeke’s second year of driving shuttle for the Shelby County Fair. Blythe Alspaugh | Sidney Daily News

A long-time fair goer, Ivan Zorn enjoys the livestock and sheep shows most.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2019/07/web1_ZORN_IVAN.jpgA long-time fair goer, Ivan Zorn enjoys the livestock and sheep shows most. Blythe Alspaugh | Sidney Daily News

Not much of a fair-goer, Mike Edwards’ favorite part of the fair is driving the shuttle.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2019/07/web1_EDWARDS_MIKE.jpgNot much of a fair-goer, Mike Edwards’ favorite part of the fair is driving the shuttle. Blythe Alspaugh | Sidney Daily News

Pat Johnson, of Sidney, has driven shuttle for the fair for eight years.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2019/07/web1_JOHNSON_PAT.jpgPat Johnson, of Sidney, has driven shuttle for the fair for eight years. Blythe Alspaugh | Sidney Daily News

By Blythe Alspaugh

balspaugh@sidneydailynews.com

Reach the writer at 937-538-4825

Reach the writer at 937-538-4825