Pekin R/C Club
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AMA Chapter755 

IMAA Chapter 37



History Of The Pekin R/C Club Pekin, IL

Here is a reprint from an article in the Pekin Times, Thursday May 3, 1973

   In the mid 1960’s just a handful of local men shared an interest in radio controlled airplanes. By 1966  and later years men like Hermon Lowery, Elton Robison, Alvin Woods, Norman Harvey, Bob Rice, Dr. John Sombeck and Dave Tebben were flying their models together, as primitive as their equipment was.  Their flying locations changed as conditions permitted, flying at the west end of Main Street, 207 Third Street, South Pekin, and for a period of time at a farm/air strip in Delavan owned by member Dave Shipton. These men agreed to begin a Pekin R/C Club during the time frame of 1966-1968.  By 1969-1970 formation of the club was being finalized.  The founders saw a potential and the opportunity to have a permanent Club Field on the Everett McKinley Dirksen Park property on Edgewater Drive, Pekin, IL.   Doc Sombeck and Dave Tebben applied to the Pekin Park District Board for usage of the Everett McKinley Dirksen Park property off route 98 for the club’s future airfield.  Permission was granted in 1974 and the above mentioned members began a hard and tedious job making their new flying field home.   In April of 1994 the club recognized Hermon Lowery by naming the field in his honor.  In the early days the field was very crude, as can been seen in the photos, barely an old farm barn yard.  An old barn still stood on the property and it served as a shelter and club house until it was demolished.  Holes were filled, ground was leveled, and a boundary fence was installed followed by other important additions.      The Park Board had a self-contained men/women’s restrooms eventually constructed with the direction of John Sombeck and other members.  Field maintenance equipment was also purchased by the club for proper care.  An adequately sized block building was constructed to store equipment and various club activity materials.  It wasn’t until the mid-1990 that a club decision was made to apply for permission from the Pekin Park District to construct a shelter for the club which is the present pavilion standing today.  Once again by intervention from Dave Tebben the Pekin Park Board granted permission.  The Park District agreed to supply the material for the building which would be built by the club members.

   Since membership had grown over the years, several members, with direction from Clyde Ray, began the pavilion construction in late 1994 and finished by November of the year.  Clyde worked diligently right along with several members such as Wayne Hood, Rick Conklin, Kevin Cline, Hermon Lowery, Jim and Justin Riley, Charlie Davis, John Staunton, John Sombeck, Steve Ball, and Robert Metzler.  Dave Nelson procured the building materials supplied by the Park District.  The following pictures show the progress and completed building.  The trusses were “handmade” on the job sprawled across three picnic tables which was a task completed with pride.  As weather permitted the concrete for the pavilion floor was poured.  Electricity was supplied to the building once a telephone pole hole was dug 20 feet deep for proper support.  The depth of the hole is credited to Wayne Hood.  However he accomplished it is a miracle itself.

After many years of hard work the field began to take shape and evolved into what you see today.  The field boasts a 25 foot by 175 foot asphalt paved runway.  Original field boundaries surrounded by corn fields were expanded to allow more grass area for better takeoff and landings suitable to all wind conditions.   The entire area is kept in top notch shape due to club members volunteering.

From 1966 to the present members of the Pekin RC Club have a lot to be proud of and thankful to the beginning founders and those who volunteered their help, influence and even personal finances to make the Pekin R/C club what it is today.