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Businessmen honored at Route 66 Festival

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Last edited 4:50 p.m., Aug. 14, 2019

Springfield businessmen Guy Mace and Kirk Wheeler were honored Saturday with the John T. Woodruff Award at the ninth annual Birthplace of Route 66 Festival.

Presented at downtown’s Park Central Square, the award recognizes individuals who promote Springfield tourism through its ties to Route 66. The award is named after the Springfield businessman and entrepreneur who’s credited with helping name the Mother Road as Route 66 — giving the Queen City the birthplace claim, according to a news release.

Mace, who’s also a business investor, received the award for his Route 66 Car Museum, 1634 W. College St. More than 80 American and European automobiles, as well as celebrity vehicles like the Batmobile, are on display at the museum, according to its website.

Wheeler has owned and operated businesses on Route 66, including Mother Road Motorcycles, Wheeler Auto and Wheeler Work Trucks. Earlier this year, he announced plans for the Birthplace of Route 66 Food Truck Park and Diner on St. Louis Street adjacent to his shops.

Last year’s Woodruff Award winner was Mother’s Brewing Co. founder and owner Jeff Schrag. Other past recipients include festival co-founder and Downtown Springfield Association Executive Director Rusty Worley; Elliott Lodging owner Gordon Elliott; and Bud’s Tire & Wheel owner Bud Perry.

About 65,000 people attended the Aug. 9-10 festival, according to city spokeswoman Cora Scott. Last year’s attendance was around 56,000 people, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.

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Jeff Munzinger

Let's hope the Festival soon honors Mary and Rick McQueary, the driving forces behind the creation of our beautiful new History Museum on the Square.

The Museum is a wonderful addition to downtown Springfield, and includes an exciting Route 66 Gallery that pays tribute to John Woodruff and several iconic Route 66 businesses.

Now we should honor the McQuearys, whose vision, dedication and gifts have made the Museum a reality.

Tuesday, August 13
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