Bicentennial Torch Relay begins at Rio Vista


The Indiana Bicentennial Torch Relay will make its way to Ohio County from Switzerland County at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 17th.

There were 16 torchbearers were among the hundreds statewide nominated to take part in Indiana’s 200th celebration.

Cliff Thies, executive director of th Ohio County Historical Society and former city administrative assistant Dee Dee Brown have headed the local effort.

“We tried to make the route that would have some to them,” noted Thies.

The first torchbearer will be Martha Turner who, along with her late husband Roy, were heavily involved in the community.

She will take the torch on South Walnut Street between Rio Vista and Maiden Lane. She will pass the torch to John Hobson who will carry the torch to Plum Street. Hobson is an avid walker and enjoys walks in his Holmes Hill area.

Former sheriff Eldon Fancher takes the third leg to Williams Street where he will pass it off to legendary Shiner volleyball coach Shelia Wilson. She’ll move the torch to Second Street and pass it on to former mayor April Hautman.

Former tourism director Sherry Timms will carry the torch along second Street to Poplar Street in honor of her mother and longtime teacher Thelma Dibble.

Timms will hand off to special Olympian Becky Cashman who will go to Front Street. Former Veterans Affair Officer P.G. Gentrup will take the torch past the Veterans Clock Tower to the Main Street Pavilion.

Former band director Ron Eads, who was in charge of the Shiner Pride Car Show for 20 years on the riverfront, will then continue on Front Street.

Julie Belew was a Houston whose family came along with the Fultons to Rising Sun, according to Thies. She is the earliest direct descendant of the first people to settle in Rising Sun. The area she will travel is believed to be where the Fultons landed in the 1890s. She will go around what is know as dead man’s curve to Fifth and Walnut Street.

Former city councilman Norman Wallick will take the torch past city hall to fourth street and hand off to current councilman John Rumsey. He will make his way to Main Street.

Attorney Lane Siekman and his wife Robin will move the torch up Main Street to High Street. County councilman Dill Dorrell will travel past the Ohio County Courthouse.

Longtime cross country coach Denny Carrigan will take the torch to Henrietta Street before Claudio Gallegos (a 2016 graduate) will finish the route to Nelson Road.

The event is scheduled between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. with an open house at the historical society afterwards. All torchbearers will wear official bicentennial gear.

The torch relay began on Friday, Sept. 9th.

The torch was built by students and faculty at Purdue University. It includes GPS and camera functions with Wi-Fi which will record the entire event.

A total of 130 flagship torches and 10 flameless torches were created for the relay. The final torch weighs just less than 5 pounds and stands around 2 feet tall. The flameless torch is lighter and stands 18 inches tall.

Stars on the torch’s two rings represent the 13 original states and the five states added from 1791-1812. A large star on the top of the torch represents Indiana, the 19th state.