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Printers' Pastimes -- Outside the Lines, II

April 2003
by chris bauer


The printing industry is packed with interesting and creative people. And it isn't just inside the pressroom or prepress department that graphic arts professionals shine. Outside of the print shop, things seem to get even more exciting.

As a follow-up to our September 2002 article, PI found more members of the printing fraternity with unusual and interesting hobbies. Here are the tales of what some of your contemporaries like to do after the lights in the plant go dark.

Winfield Padgett

Padgett Printing

Although an interest in golf has become as common as starched-white shirts for many business executives, Win Padgett, chairman of Padgett Printing and grandson of the Dallas-based company's founder Cyrus Padgett, does more than hit the driving range on the weekends.

A member of the varsity golf team in college, Padgett played only occasionally during his tour of duty on two destroyers in the U..S. Navy and subsequently in his professional life in Dallas. But his early exposure to the sport had a lasting and profound effect.

"My father (Hal Padgett) was a good player and member of a local club where I learned the game through caddying, practice and later playing with him," Padgett recounts. "The historical aspects of the game, its early days in Scotland, the lore surrounding some of its heroes like Alan Robertson, Old and Young Tom Morris and Bobby Jones, and the embodiment of life's most enduring lessons—honesty, sportsmanship, dealing with adversity, etc.—have all contributed to my fascination with and affection for the game."

Student of the Game

He became interested in the history of the game when he joined two friends in a sports collectibles gallery in Dallas in the 1980s—and through one of those associates, he was introduced to the Museum & Library Committee of the United States Golf Association (USGA).

Following his co-chairing one of the USGA national championships in Dallas at his home club in 1987, Padgett became much more active in Rules of Golf activities with the local USGA sectional affairs volunteers, and has since helped with the administration of the qualifying events for USGA championships in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

In 1998, he was nominated and selected to be one of 15 members on the Executive Committee of the USGA (a position that expired in January 2003) as treasurer for the national governing body of golf.

Winfield Padgett (left), co-owner and chairman of Padgett Printing, shown with Philip A. Truett, member of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, at the 2001 Hickory Grail International Team Competition at Kilspindie Links.
Winfield Padgett, co-owner and chairman of Padgett Printing, poses with John Crow Miller, a Dallas-area attorney, at the 2001 Hickory Grail International Team Competition at Kilspindie Links, outside of Edinburgh, Scotland.
Having a devotion to the history of the game, Padgett has for some time been a member of both the Golf Collectors Society and the British Golf Collectors Society, and has joined a small group of individuals throughout the United States and the United Kingdom who play golf regularly with ancient (pre-1900) and modern (1900-1930) hickory golf clubs.

Not a low handicapper by any means, Padgett has, nevertheless, competed in a number of hickory contests nationally, including four of the five National Hickory Championships conducted annually at Oakhurst Links in White Sulphur Springs, WV.

He has also competed on the last two victorious United States teams competing against a European contingent (11 British players and one Swedish player) for the Hickory Grail, a Ryder Cup-format event with hickory equipment, conducted in 2000 and 2001 at Kilspindie Links near Edinburgh, Scotland, and to be conducted in 2003 at Saint Andrew's Golf Club in Yonkers, NY.

He travels about 90 days each year on USGA business, either for one of the 13 national championships or in connection with one of a dozen USGA committees on which he serves. All of these golf experiences have provided Padgett with some sweet memories.

"Remembering my father's admonition to never give up and then holing my fourth shot for par from the fairway when I was about 13," ranks up at the top, he reveals. "A close second was being one of the officials with the Scott Hoch-Jay Haas pairing when Scott made his ace on the 17th hole at Bethpage Black this past summer in the U.S. Open.

"I was the forward observer for the group and saw the shot from start to finish—which Scott unfortunately could not see, due to the elevation of the green. The gallery reaction was unbelievable; the loudest I have ever witnessed at any sporting event. (It was) emotional enough for Haas to turn to me on the way to the 18th tee and say, 'Win, this is the most fun I've had on a golf course!' "

Jerry Harris

Jerry Harris Originals

For many country music fans, thoughts of "The Louisiana Hayride" bring back fond memories of some of the greatest country music artists of all time. "The Louisiana Hayride" was a weekly, Shreveport, LA-based radio show that gave country music talent a chance to perfect their distinct performance styles before a live audience. During its heyday, between 1948 and 1958, the show was said to have rivaled even Nashville's famed Grand Ole Opry in the number of country music careers that it spawned.

When it came time for the city of Shreveport to dedicate a part of the Municipal Auditorium (where the radio program took place) for a museum, it looked to Jerry Harris, owner of screen printing company Jerry Harris Originals, to produce portraits of all the stars to hang in the museum.

"The mayor's office had seen my work in my office, and they knew I could do portraits," Harris reports. "One thing led to another and, because of my great love in the past for 'The Louisiana Hayride', I volunteered to do the portraits. The museum is scheduled to open sometime in March, so I have really been turning them out."

This Elvis Presley portrait is just one of 40 stars of "The Louisiana Hayride" immortalized by Jerry Harris, owner of Shreveport, LA-based printing company Jerry Harris Originals.
Harris will use a number of graphite pencils to do about 40 portraits. Some of the stars who got their start at "The Louisiana Hayride" will be honored at the museum, including Elvis Presley, George Jones, Johnny Horton, Louisiana Governor Jimmy Davis, Slim Whitman, Jimmy C. Newman, Kitty Wells, The Wellman Brothers, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Red Solvine and Faron Young.

Harris points out that this is not the first time that he has been commissioned to produce portraits of the rich and famous. "Years ago I did portraits for The Barn Dinner Playhouse in Shreveport. They included some big box office movie stars of the past such as Dorothy Lamour, Andy Devine, Dana Andrews, Virginia Mayo and many others," he notes.

A fondness for the arts is nothing new for Harris. After returning stateside from the Korean war, he decided to use the GI bill to attend art school. After graduating, he did some freelance art work, then opened his own ad agency in 1970. Jerry Harris Originals still does some agency work, but its main focus since 1994 has been screen printing wearables.

While printing is his livelihood, Harris admits art still has a big place in his life. After hearing about a friend who quit his job to pursue an art career, Harris knew he had to break out the canvas once again.

"I said to myself, 'You need to turn your hobby into a vocation.' That was when I decided to venture back into the portrait field," Harris reveals. "When the opportunity came up to do "The Louisiana Hayride" portraits, I jumped on it. I've had a lot of fun doing them."

Howard Reeves

The Lamar Democrat

Howard Reeves is a man of many interests. The titles of newspaper editor, printer, author and collector all fit him perfectly. His collection of several thousand silver dollars—dating from 1878 to 2003—and his 21 Winchester rifles are compilations that he finds gratifying. But his pride and joy is his collection of classic cars.

"It all started one hot summer day when my uncle managed to stop a 1947 Chevrolet after coming up the hill smoking like it was on fire," Reeves recounts. "I was sure it would not go much farther, so I bought it for $225. That was over 30 years ago."

Howard Reeves gets the motor running in his rebuilt 1949 Cadillac.
Reeves rebuilt the vehicle from top to bottom, painted it, and replaced the motor before selling it. By that time, he had several other cars in his garages waiting to be overhauled. Among the automobiles that Reeves has revitalized are a 1950 Ford, a 1949 Cadillac, a four-door 1947 Fleetline Chevrolet, a 1930 Ford Model A and two Mercedes 450SL roadsters (a 1978 and 1980). Some of these cars bring back special memories, he notes.

Back to School

The 1947 Fleetline, for example, is "just like my dad owned and let me drive to school my senior year in 1950. The car brings back a lot of memories, especially at class reunions.

In September, Reeves purchased a red 2002 Ford Thunderbird, which he says should just about complete his car collection. "I love to park the 1930 Ford Model A, 1950 Ford Custom and the 2002 Ford Thunderbird side by side and see the progress."

When not working on expanding his collections, Reeves is owner and editor of The Lamar Democrat, a weekly newspaper based in Vernon, AL. The newspaper—also home to a commercial print shop—has been a home away from home for Reeves for the past 48 years.

"I started working with a four paper flatbed letterpress, a Linotype, Ludlow and hot metal castings from mats," Reeves recalls. "There was a lot of work to be done in those days—burning the midnight oil was not unusual."

Reeves adds that the printing industry has been very good to him and plans to sell his newspaper and printing business when someone comes along that he can give the same opportunity that was given to him. He also boasts that he has written a book, titled "Off the Wall." It is a collection of his weekly articles printed in The Lamar Democrat over the past 10 years. It is a paperback and the whole process was done in Reeves' small Alabama-based shop.

"Hasn't made the best seller list. . .yet," Reeves quips.

Michael Hudetz

Solar Communications

If you say Michael Hudetz, senior account executive at Solar Communications in Naperville, IL, has his head in the clouds, he won't be offended. "I've always been fascinated with flying and aviation for some unknown reason," recalls Hudetz. "I guess I'm just a homesick angel."

The combination of science, beauty, freedom and adventure all meet in one activity—which is something that has been appealing to Hudetz since childhood, where he says he went through hundreds of kites, model airplanes, rockets and balloons. His toys got bigger with age.

High in the Sky

"I bought my first hang glider in the early '70s, which led to another; and then built the first ultralight aircraft in Illinois in 1976 and flew it for five years," he points out. "I eventually got an FAA pilot's license in 1981 and my first Cessna (four-seat private airplane) in 1982. Then I got interested in rotorcraft in 1984 and bought a Hughes 300 (three-seat helicopter) one year later. With a growing family, I acquired my instrument rating and bought a six-seat Cessna 210 in 1988."

Hudetz was transferred from Chicago to Brussels, Belgium, in 1990. While in Europe, he discovered Trikes—and got hooked. "This was the most fun flying I had ever done—very maneuverable, open cockpit, simple and safe. It's kind of like a dirtbike in the sky. It was love at first flight, but this type of plane was not yet legalized in the USA."

Back in the States in 1997, the laws had finally changed and he managed to import one of these French-built Trikes. It attracted a lot of attention at the local airport, he recalls, and before he knew it, he was a dealer and an instructor for the aircraft.

Hudetz feels that his printing career has run parallel to much of his flying, having grown up with the printing industry—his father was also in the business. "I've worked prepress, run presses, run bindery equipment and supervised and managed in all those areas over the last 30 years," he reports.

"I now use much of that knowledge towards sales. In sales, though, customer loyalty is built over time by giving customers memorable experiences—sometimes those experiences involve flying. It's very rewarding when a lifelong passion crosses paths with a lifelong livelihood."
 

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