The Ambassador Park may not be as old or quite as historic as the Monument or Stockades but is part of the history of the past many years of Fort Recovery. The formation of the Ambassador Club took place in 1971 when the boy’s basketball team won the state championship. Residents of the area who hosted the championship celebration decided that they needed a park for all ages to use. That was the formation of the Ambassador Club – a non-profit organization with no membership dues. Their mission statement is, “People of Fort Recovery Area Striving for a Better Tomorrow”.
A committee of local business people took out a loan and purchased 47 acres of land on the north-west side of Fort Recovery. This area is bordered by the Wabash River, railroad tracks and state routes 49 and 119. Over the years the Ambassadors have purchased five additional acres adjacent to the current land for a total of 52 acres.
With agriculture being the dominant industry in the area, the park was used in its early years for tractor pulls, which continue to this day. The first years were considered farm pulls as local farmers would bring their farm tractors and try to prove which neighbor had the best tractor or what brand of tractor was the best. In 1973, the first sanctioned event was held with the National Tractor Pullers Association and continues to this day. Since then, the sport has evolved in many ways. Events now include trucks, tractors and modified tractors. The modified tractors use a variety of engines and configurations. The best of the best compete at Fort Recovery. The events at the Fort have been filmed by Diamond P Sports and have also been shown on cable television and satellite on stations such as Spike (formerly the Nashville Network) and RFD TV. Documentaries have also been filmed at Ambassador Park. For many years the park hosted two national tractor pulls per summer. Recently, the Ambassadors decided to focus their efforts toward one Grand National event. That event is scheduled for the last Friday and Saturday in July. Fort Recovery has been named the “Grand National Event of the Year” by NTPA competitors and organizations on a number of occasions.
Another thing that has made the event at the Fort special for many years is the legendary Enderle Pull Off. The Enderle pull off was held at Ambassador Park starting in 1991. This special event has been sponsored by Kent, Joan and Mike Enderle of Enderle Fuel Injection of Simi Valley, California. Although we no longer host this event, it was a great event to have for as long as we did. We appreciated the opportunity.
The park has hosted other events throughout the years including other amateur tractor pulls, Boy Scout events, soccer games, Hillbilly golf, Civil War re-enactment and the well-known Jubilee. The Mercer County Chapter of the American Red Cross has also hosted KART Races along with Blood Drives and the Mad Run 5k. Other organizations are involved with these events at the park such as the Lions and the Harvest Jubilee Committee. All of the events are great fun and provide a family friendly atmosphere for all to enjoy. Ambassador Park is truly a labor of love for the community.
The Club has accomplished many things over the years: being a major contributor to the construction of the Ambassador Pool. This is a community swimming pool built and paid for by proceeds of many fund raising events. Other positive contributions have helped to restore the train depot, which is now used as a meeting place for the Ambassadors and Lions, and the construction of the grandstand area near the pulling tack plus building restrooms and creating the camping areas. More improvements are planned for the future. The park is ran on all volunteer labor so this park is unique in that everyone from the area has contributed something at one time or another to make the park what it is today.
If you have any questions, need information or would like to volunteer to help at an event please call (419) 375-4178 or visit our website at http://fortpull.com/ where you can e-mail us. We look forward to hearing from you and always welcome suggestions.