Along with the presidential election every four years come a lot of election bets.
Sixty years ago such a bet had a man wheeling another man up and down West Main Street in a wheelbarrow on a Sunday afternoon.
For proof there were photos on the front pages of both the Belleville News-Democrat and the Belleville Daily Advocate on Nov. 10, 1952.
William Hettenhausen was behind the wheelbarrow pushing Gene Raetz, of 600 Penn St. The men went up and down the street from 1 to 6 p.m., according to the newspapers.
The picture caption in the Daily Advocate says Hettenhausen "...wheeled Gene Raetz in a wheel barrow from Fifty-first to Twenty-ninth streets along West Main street and return, buying Raetz beer at every tavern along the way on both sides of the street.
"Ernie Kaufmann, another Ike man, cleared the path for the trip beating on a drum as he led the way," the paper added.
The bet was on the 1952 election pitting Republican Dwight Eisenhower against Democrat Adlai Stevenson.
Hettenhausen and Kaufmann have since died, but Raetz is still alive at 85. He said it might be the most painful bet he ever won.
"Oh, don't bring that up," Raetz said. "That was the worst hangover I ever had."
It got worse on Monday. He was a supervisor at American Bakery at the time and Hettenhausen was one of his drivers.
"I was supposed to be off that day, but Bill's wife was having a baby. I had to drive his route. We both suffered," Raetz said.
William's son, Bill Hettenhausen, now is 65. He remembers seeing part of it as 5-year-old.
"A lot of people have talked to me about it," he said. "I'm pretty sure they were not walking a straight line when they were done."
He said his father was a practical joker who was known as a cut-up.
"People laughed at him a lot," Bill Hettenhausen said. "Dad would do a lot of crazy things."
He said the wheelbarrow trip has become a legendary experience filtered through his memory at a young age and by many retellings at family gatherings and other places.
"It was a time when people could be political opponents but still be friends and have fun," he said.
The News-Democrat also had a story about other 1952 election bets from around the country compiled by United Press International.
When the Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser endorsed Eisenhower, it led one lady to swear that if he won, she would eat the offending front page of the paper.
So she burned the front page, stirred the ashes into a cup of coffee and bravely downed a few spoonfuls.
A Democratic county politician in California let a secretary hit him in the face with six pies she had baked herself after he lost his bet.
A Chicago man forced to eat 10 pounds of spaghetti after losing a bet to his wife and a chef dressed as a waitress to serve customers when he lost.
As for Raetz, he still is a staunch Republican.
"What else would I be?" he asked.
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