NEW WESTON—Gary Hummel announced recently that he is officially joining the ranks of the retired.
It’s rather obvious that his new chapter will see him continuing with his favorite pastime, antique tractor pulling.
He has worked the past 35 years at North Star Hardware and Implement, but has been working for 50-plus years.
After graduating from Mississinawa Valley High School in 1971, he attended diesel school in Nashville, Tenn.
He worked for Gilbert Lease in Greenville his senior year of high school, then he went to Massey-Ferguson, on Eidson Road, also in Greenville. That was followed by working for a while at the Mack garage in Versailles; at Bowers-Eichar in Celina as a mechanic and salesperson; and at A.L Smith in Versailles.
He went to work at North Star Hardware and Implement in April 1988. “They were always good to work with,” Hummel said. “They took care of their employees.”
Of his 35 years there, he spent 27 years in the shop as a mechanic and the last eight years he worked in sales and took care of the shop’s paper work. He also drove the company’s service truck for 15 years.
“I’m 71 years old and it’s time to say enough is enough,” he said.
He met his wife, the former Carla Neff, at the Versailles skating rink and started dating in high school. She is a 1972 graduate of Versailles High School, and they were married 50 years ago on Sept. 3, 2022.
They have two daughters, Misty (Mrs. Tim) Agne of Shelbyville, Ky., and Miriam (Mrs. Perry) Poteet of Fort Thomas, Ky. There are also six grandchildren: Misty’s Natalie and Sam and Miriam’s Lydia, Hannah, Abigail and Jacob.
Grandson Sam, 11 years of age, has already begun sharing the love for tractor pulling with his grandfather, and came in first last August in Greenville.
The retiree said he goes wherever he can to compete.
The son of the late Claude and Reva (Bemis) Hummel, Gary has a brother, Roger Hummel, and a sister, Nancy Linebaugh.
When he’s pulling tractors, Gary is mainly behind the wheel of his 1951 Cockshutt 40. It’s one of the five tractors he owns. Two are used for pulling and three for recreation.
When traveling to these events, he hauls the tractor on a trailer.
In addition to his hobby, he has served on the St. Paul Lutheran Church’s council, near North Star, for the past three years
“We have between 40 and 45 members now,” he said. “Jeff Gramza of St John Lutheran Church in Celina, is pastor of that church, but has Vicar Andrea McDonough preaching at St. Paul’s every Sunday at 6 p.m.
Gary and Carla are still mowing lawns in the Wabash Township area to include the church cemetery near St. Paul’s, and they used to mow Brock Cemetery.
Carla is still working in the office for the village of Versailles, where she has been employed for 51 years…and there may be retirement in her future as well.
A member of the Ohio National Guard unit for six years, Gary suffered a heart attack in August 2020, ironically at a club pull in Sidney. He had to have six stents put in.
“I grew up on a farm but never farmed for myself,” he said. “I’ve always liked old tractors and pulling.”
The sport of tractor pulling is judged by distance and weight. The farthest distance a puller can go is 300 feet and Hummel has done that quite a few times. The weight he said depends on the tractor. He has pulled 7,000 pounds after starting off with 4,500 pounds.
And, he has won points for the year several times.
He is a member of the Darke County Tractor Pullers Association, Miami County Antique Power Association in Fletcher, the Ohio State Antique Tractor Pullers and is secretary of the club in Sidney.
Daughter Misty was known to have made this comment about her father, “He always has a tool for the job, a shortcut to make it easier, and a joke to tell (probably an inappropriate one!).”
Yes, he is still a mechanic.
“I do all my engine work,” he remarked. “Heads, block and crank go to the machine shop. Time-wise to do the engine work, I have all the time I need.”