Tipton County Pork Festival, Tipton, Indiana
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In Memory

www.porkfestival.com

Randy A. Byal
1946-2009

Tipton mourns festival director

Randy Byal gave 35 years to the Pork Festival

By MEGHAN DURBAK, Kokomo Tribune staff writer

Tipton Pork Festival spacerFor more than 35 years, Randy Byal’s name was identified with the Tipton County Pork Festival.
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Each year Byal donned a pink shirt, directed the flow of human traffic and supervised tent arrangements. He was general manager for the largest event in Tipton, and one of the largest in north-central Indiana, drawing crowds upward of 100,000.
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Byal, 62, passed away Thursday, January 22, 2009 in his home, leaving behind several people to mourn his passing, including festival committee members, twin brother Ron and older brother Peter.
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Byal began working on the festival in 1973, while working as a reporter for the Tipton County Tribune. He was recruited after some festival coordinators learned he had experience with the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival.
Tipton Pork Festival spacerIn a 2003 interview, Byal told the Kokomo Tribune he had no idea what he was getting into.
Tipton Pork Festival spacer“I had this vision of pigs running through the streets,” he said.
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“I started one year and the next year I was running it. I tell people I’ve spent more than half my life working on the Pork Festival,” he added.
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“I jumped in with both feet and never jumped back out,” he said in a 2004 interview.
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Pork Festival publicity chairman Brett Curnutt said he was “kind of like the big brother for all of us.
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“Randy Byal was kind of the secret ingredient to make that whole thing come together as a success,” he said.
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Curnutt said the general committee members, old and new, looked up to Byal. He said Byal worked on the festival 365 days of the year. Byal knew the festival promoted Tipton and its products, Curnutt said.
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And Byal believed in Tipton.
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“Randy’s the kind of person that you hope you run into for your next question to ask somebody. First of all he’d always let you know your question was important, and he’d try to answer it right away,” he said.
Tipton Pork Festival spacerCurnutt said Byal was a calming influence on the festival committee, especially during the last-minute details.
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“He never really got nervous. He always knew if he just showed up and did what he had to do, everything was going to be fine.
Tipton Pork Festival spacer“If you needed anything Randy was the one you went to,” said Jenny Cavanaugh, former festival beauty pageant director.
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Cavanaugh said she got involved with the festival when she was 16 as a runner-up for the pageant. She’s volunteered for the festival since she was 18.
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“I can’t imagine not seeing him walking down the street in his pink sweatshirt, his laugh, his smile, his ability when everybody’s tired and biting at each other saying ‘Wait a minute now.’ He’s always the peacekeeper,” she said.
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“He was dedicated to his cause. If it was something really important to him, he was truly dedicated to it. He was a great friend and he would do anything for you.”
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Cavanaugh said she still can’t believe he’s gone. For now she and other committee members, Byal’s family and friends are trying to comfort each other and remember the man who made the Tipton County Pork Festival what it is today.
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“He is truly going to be missed,” Cavanaugh said.

Thanks to MEGHAN DURBAK, Kokomo Tribune staff writer, for the use of her tribute to Randy.  Published: January 25, 2009 11:05 pm.  Kokomo Tribune © 2009

 

Obituary

Tipton Pork Festival spacerThe Pork Festival General Manager, Randy A. Byal, 62, Tipton, died Thursday, January 22, 2009 at his residence.  He was born in Auburn Indiana on June 28, 1946 to Walter and Mae (Priscandaro) Byal.
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Randy worked in the antique business, mostly in Coke machine restoration.  He had previously been a printer, former editor of the Tipton Tribune and worked for the Auburn Star.  Most will remember his devotion to the Tipton County Pork Festival for over 35 years as General Manager.  He was very involved with the Afghan Hound Rescue of Columbus Ohio. 
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He is survived by 2 brothers, Ron of Kokomo and Peter of Ft. Wayne, and 2 nephews.  Funeral services were held Tuesday January 27, 2009 at Young-Nichols Funeral Home with burial at Fairview Cemetery.
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Memorial donations may be made to the Tipton County Pork Festival, PO Box 100, Tipton, IN 46072

Information courtesy of:  Young-Nichols Funeral Home