LEDBETTER, KY. -- Paul Thomas had an interesting story to tell. And with the Du Quoin State Fair getting underway today, the timing was perfect.
A Kentucky resident, Thomas grew up in the Springfield area, and therefore is somewhat familiar with Southern Illinois, including fairs in the state capital and Du Quoin, But his story centers on a recent purchase. On June 4 of this year, he bought a white 1968 Dodge T-100 pickup truck from Eugene Charvat of Paducah. Charvat owned the truck for 23 years, having purchased it from the original owners, Robert and Marcelline Merry.
What's unique about these financial transactions is that Marcelline won the truck through a raffle drawing at the 1968 Du Quoin Fair with a $5 ticket. She then gifted the truck to her husband, who kept it operational for 28 years.
In the short time he has owned the truck, Thomas has rebuilt the motor (318 V8) and has added torque flite transmission, new brakes, a new bench seat, new wheels and tires.
"The next step is to correct all the needed bodywork," Thomas said. "It's going to take some time."
Thomas, who bought the truck for $800, said he briefly entertained the idea of driving the truck to Du Quoin to showcase it at the Fair this week, but believes it makes more sense to do so next year after he has finished making upgrades.
"That's what I will probably do," he said. "I want to get everything running and looking good."