INDIANA STATE FAIR MASTERS 2003 TRADITIONAL ARTS I NDIANA “We talk about cows just about every day of our lives!” A stat...
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“We talk about cows just about every day of our lives!”

A statewide partnership of the Indiana Arts Commission and Indiana University dedicated to broadening the appreciation and understanding of traditional arts. . .

State Fair Master Jim Patton about his family

Photo by Beth Campbell

Photo courtesy of the Borgmans

The Indiana State Fair is delighted to partner with Traditional Arts Indiana and the Indiana Arts Commission to show our appreciation to those individuals who have contributed to the Fair many years over. Through their exhibits, talents, volunteerism, and care of our great event, they truly deserve the title “Indiana State Fair Master.” We are also pleased to bring the talents of Indiana’s traditional musicians to the Main Street Stage on Traditional Arts Indiana Day for the fifth year in a row. Enjoy the music!

William H. Stinson Executive Director Indiana State Fair Commission

The Indiana State Fair is filled with traditions that are important to the history and heritage of Indiana. From elephant ears on the Midway to gleaming draft horses to the perfect piece of pie, the State Fair has shared Indiana’s many occupations, skills, foods, arts, and celebrations with people from around the state and from across the country. Through Traditional Arts Indiana, the Indiana Arts Commission is pleased to honor the 2003 Indiana State Fair Masters. These individuals have shared their gifts with Hoosiers for many, many years, so it is fitting that the State of Indiana recognizes their long association with the State Fair and the excellence that they individually and collectively represent for our state.

Dorothy L. Ilgen Executive Director Indiana Arts Commission

Folklorists have long appreciated the extraordinary found in ordinary places. The Fair is a special place where seemingly ordinary arts and artists are highlighted and the pursuit of excellence and beauty is encouraged. We are pleased to work with the Indiana State Fair and the Indiana Arts Commission in recognizing this year’s masters as well as featuring Indiana’s strong fiddle tradition through the first annual Traditional Arts Indiana State Fair Fiddle Contest.

John H. McDowell Chair Indiana University Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology


There is no place quite like the Fair. Prize-winning cabbage, perfectly formed and delectable candies, grand champion Angus cattle. Visual delights, delicious smells, and festival sounds combine to create a special moment in time when our everyday lives are suspended and we are surrounded by the efforts of so many doing their very best. Since the first in 1852, the Indiana State Fair has fostered the sharing of ideas through exhibition and friendly competition. Historically rooted in a common desire to improve upon an agrarian way of life, the State Fair has grown into a festival celebrating all Hoosiers, luring urban as well as rural folks.

Photo by Lisa Gabbert

Visual delights, delicious smells, and festival sounds


This year we honor the following individuals:

Over the years, these masters have fine-tuned skills learned from family, from friends, from the many who have gone before. They represent some of Indiana’s best.

Indiana State Fair Masters 2003 Mary K. and Raymond Borgman Master Candy Makers Hancock County

Although they may not call themselves artists, the masters we recognize this year have gained reputations within their communities and among fair judges as gifted candy makers and Angus cattle breeders. This year’s masters represent over 100 years of exhibition at the Indiana State Fair and countless top prize-winning entries.

Photo courtesy of Indiana State Fair

The Jim and Randee Patton Family Master Angus Seed Stock Breeders Montgomery County

MARY K. AND R AYMOND B ORGMAN HANCOCK COUNTY Mary K. Borgman learned to make candy as a child by watching her mother at Christmas time. She began exhibiting at the State Fair fifty years ago “to see if I could beat somebody,” she says with a good-spirited laugh. Mary has won more grand prizes than anyone in the candy division. And now she’s competing with her granddaughter, whom she taught. Mary’s repertoire includes chocolate-covered fondant, toffee, pecan, and caramels. Mary and her husband, Raymond, now work together as a team. Mary stirs the sugar mixture while it heats to the precise temperature; Raymond skillfully chooses the prize-winning pieces of candy, sorting out those with “feet” (excess chocolate on the bottom). Over the years he has provided many tools for their trade, fashioning molds from metal scraps and salvaging slabs of marble.

Mary and Raymond have lived on their Hancock County farm for nearly 68 years, raising their four children and tending livestock. The Borgmans now fish for bluegill and catfish in the farm pond and make candy for holidays and birthdays as gifts to family and friends.

Photo courtesy of the Borgmans

“You’ve got a trick, Grandma. Now tell me what it is!” “Sometimes you have to be sneaky.” Mary K. Borgman on guarding her recipes

Mary K. Borgman quoting her granddaughter who was hoping for an easy answer to a problem with her own candy making

THE J IM AND R ANDEE PATTON FAMILY MONTGOMERY COUNTY In 1945, Jim Patton’s grandfather bought his first Angus cow. Since then, the Pattons have been breeding some of this country’s finest purebred Angus seed stock. Jim’s wife, Randee, didn’t grow up on a farm, but she soon adapted, providing valuable support in the cattle barns while the rest of the family was on the road at shows. Their three children, Steve Patton, Susan Patton Gillen, and Beth Patton Korniak, are all ten-year veterans of 4-H, winning multiple competitions locally and nationally. Susan and Beth are three-time Silver Pitcher Award winners, an award given

to the most-winning girl at the National Junior Show. And Steve has continued in the family tradition, managing LaGrand Ranch, a large purebred Angus ranch in South Dakota. Jim’s father was known for having a good eye. Picking a good heifer or bull is the key to successful breeding. It has been a challenge over the years to stay current with the trends. Qualities that were once prized in a cow—short, deep, and fat—are now being bred out. “The cattle of the past don’t resemble the animals of today,” says Jim. Lean is in and so the Pattons have had to adapt accordingly. Since his Grandfather Patton’s era, the task of breeding purebred seed stock has become far more complicated, requiring a working knowledge of biogenetics. The Patton family’s adaptability and “good eye” continue to serve them well.

“My whole family has developed a pretty good eye.” Jim Patton Photo courtesy of the Pattons

“I like the competition.” Jim Patton

Left to right—Susan Patton Gillen, Randee Patton, Beth Patton Korniak, Kent Korniak, Jim Patton, and Steve Patton


Photo by Beth Campbell

This summer marks the first Traditional Arts Indiana State Fair Fiddle Contest, a friendly competition among some of Indiana’s finest fiddlers. Fiddle contests have a long history in the United States, dating back to the early 1700s. And there is no doubt about Indiana’s long-standing dedication to the fiddle. For the past 30 years, fiddlers have gathered to perform, trade tunes, and enjoy each other’s company at the Indiana Fiddler’s Gathering in Battle Ground. The Indiana State Fiddle Championship in southern Indiana has drawn contestants from all over the region since 1983.

Smaller contests and gatherings take place all over Indiana—at county fairs, small opera houses, and outdoor festivals. Traditional Arts Indiana is proud to sponsor this new event, a celebration of Indiana’s fiddle tradition.

Photo by Jeremy Hogan Photo by Beth Campbell


German polka band leader George Berger immigrated to Fort Wayne in 1951. Displaced as a result of WWII from his Swabian German community in Yugoslavia, George learned to play the accordion as a teenager while living in a displaced persons camp in Austria. Now joined by his sons Dan (accordion and trumpet) and Jim (percussion and vocals), and grandson Jakob (saxophone), George’s band Freudemacher performs in and around Fort Wayne at festivals, a local German restaurant, and social clubs.

George Berger performing for German Fest 1999 at the Ft. Wayne Community Center

Left to right—Tim Warran, A.J. Alletto, Ike Bacon, Kenny Stone, Carl Ward

Off ’n’ Runnin’

Bluegrass, an enduring Indiana passion, is featured once again on the Main Street Stage. Off ’n’ Runnin’, an accomplished five-member band from northwest Indiana, was established in 1999 by three friends: retired farmer and bass player Ike Bacon; pilot, ex-marine, and banjo player A. J. Alletto (both of Wolcott, Indiana); and mandolin player Tim Warran from Rensselaer. Guitarist Carl Ward and fiddler Kenny Stone complete this dynamic band that performs locally and regionally and has competed nationally.

Photo courtesy of Off ’n’ Runnin’


The Indiana State Fair Masters Program and this booklet were made possible through the generous support of Traditional Arts Indiana, the Indiana Arts Commission, Indiana University, the Indiana State Fair, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Designed and edited by Indiana University Office of Publications, 2003 Photos by Erin Roth, except where noted