By ANN ALLEN
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Members of the Indiana Chapter of Singles in Agriculture are revving their engines for a May 17-19 event centered on the Indianapolis 500 and the Shelbyville horse races.
The three-day event will begin Friday with lunch at Dawson’s on Main in Speedway, Ind., followed by a tour of the Dallara IndyCar Factory, also in Speedway. Participants will be able to explore more than 20,000 square feet of interactive, hands-on exhibits centered on the engineering and technology of the world’s fastest sport and will be offered rides in a street-legal, two-seater Indy car. Dinner that evening will be at Shelbyville’s Texas Corral, followed by a night at the horse races at the Indiana Grand Casino and Horse Track.
On Saturday, members and guests will meet at the host hotel – Comfort Inn – to carpool to the Indianapolis 500 Race Track. Hostesses Janet Lacy and Judy Droddy note that lunch will be “on your own.” Small coolers and beverage are allowed. Racing practice is from 8-11 a.m., followed by qualifications for pole position. An intimate dinner with old and new friends is planned at a local Indiana chapter member’s home.
Participants will again meet at the Comfort Inn to carpool to the 500 racetrack on Sunday to watch qualifications continue. More information is available from Lacy at 317-642-6868 or Droddy at 317-979-8015.
What is Singles in Agriculture?
For starters, SIA is not a matchmaking service, according to Judy Droddy, president of the Indiana chapter. “A few couples have married, but SIA is geared towards providing travel and learning opportunities,” she said. “It started as a pen pal group back in 1986. Membership was limited to persons with an agriculture background, tie or interest, but it’s now open to anyone. It’s fun, educational and diverse – and a good way to see different parts of the country.”
With chapters from Ohio to the Rocky Mountains, SIA focuses on creating lasting friendships and relationships on a local and national level. Most members are in the 55-70 age group; others range from 40 to 80. “We’re trying to get some younger members,” Droddy said.
Droddy joined SIA after her 35-year marriage ended and has come to cherish the friendships she’s made and the camaraderie members enjoy. “As a rule, you can divide a meeting into thirds,” she said. “You’ll meet strangers, someone you sort of know and people you’ve known for 20 years.”
Over the years, members have taken river floats in galvanized steel stock tanks in Nebraska, toured stud farms and bourbon distilleries in Kentucky, gone 600 feet underground in Kansas salt mines, chilled with polar bear dips in Texas and cruised the Gulf of Mexico. So far this year they have toured roof top gardens in Iowa, visited the Arbuckle Mountains in Oklahoma and rafted the Missouri River. In June they will go to Amarillo, Texas, and in September will visit Cheyenne, Wyo. Christmas will be celebrated Dec. 6-8 in Branson, Mo., and New Year’s on the beach at South Padre Island, Texas, from Dec. 28, 2013 through Jan. 2, 2014. The national convention is set for Feb. 13-16 in Norman, Oklahoma.
Singles in Agriculture, a non-profit organization for persons over the age of 18, provides scholarship opportunities for high school seniors planning careers in agriculture. It is headquartered at 105 So. Main Street Suite B, Stockton, IL 61085, phone 815-947-3559, e-mail singlesinag firstname.lastname@example.org