Birth Of A Club

Scott Sartwell exhibiting a Gade engine 2 HP

Scott Sartwell exhibiting a Gade engine 2 HP.

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Sec., Box 560, Station Street, Altona, New York 12910

For years now there was a group of four families who used to travel to gas engine shows together. Three of the families lived in the same area. Scott Sartwell, his dad Merrill, Timothy Lincourt, and Vernon Boulrice often talked about forming a club, as there are none in this area.

One night in February of 1991, the Boulrices and the Sartwells got together and started the wheels of progress in motion. Marie wrote an article for the area newspapers, radio stations and TV station stating the formation of an 'antique gas engine and tractor association in upstate New York.' Scott took pictures to accompany the article so people would know what a gas engine looks like because, believe it or not, there are many people who have never seen an engine. We have a hometown cable TV channel which covers items of local interest. Tim Lincourt was able to get us a spot on which he appeared with the Sartwells. We were off and running.

Our first meeting was held at the V.F.W. in Plattsburgh on April 8,1991. We had seven people attend our first meeting. Scott Sartwell was elected president, Tim Lincourt vice president, and Marie Boulrice secretary-treasurer. Members of the board of directors were Merrill Sartwell, Donald Deso, Earl Brant and Robert Clark. We selected the name of Champlain Valley Antique Gas Engine and Tractor Association. After checking the dates of other shows, we decided to host our annual exhibition on the second weekend in July. We were so confident it would take off that we planned our first annual show. 

We operated on a shoestring in the finance department, with many of us donating items and monies until we were on our feet. We had hopes of using the fairgrounds in our county but their fees were beyond our reach. Two of our new members, Don Deso and Earl Brant, were from Essex County and they said they would approach the people at their fairgrounds. Great news was brought back to the club. The people at Essex County Fairgrounds, at Westport, New York were eager to help us get our club started. We only had to get our own insurance, which they were able to get as a rider on their policy, thus saving the club money, and pay $25.00 towards the light bill. The man who ran the concession stand at fair time agreed to open it for our group. Things were falling into place like a nicely laid out puzzle.

By this time each member had been able to recruit new members, thus we had a little capital to work with from membership dues. We ordered hats, T-shirts, buttons and plaques. Some of the members paid for these items, and after the show we were able to repay them.

Our show was held in July. Set up date was the 12th and the show ran the 13th and 14th. By the time the show was over our membership had grown to 60 members. 300 people came out to see what our show was all about. We had 35 exhibitors who displayed 43 stationary engines, 10 engines of the Briggs & Stratton size, nine tractors, six antique cars, one saw rig, one light plant, two lawnmowers and a collection of antique tools, toys, steam whistles, bottles and five operating water pumps.

After all expenses were paid, our club made enough of a profit that we were able to hire a lawyer and incorporate our club, and we had enough left over to cover some of the expenses for this year's second annual show which will be held July 10-12, 1992. The Westport Fairgrounds has become home for our annual exhibition. In addition to the area used by the club and exhibitors, there is a 30 site/3-way hook up campsite for spectators at a minimal charge, bathhouses, concession stand and a flea market area available.

For further information you can contact our club president, Scott Sartwell, at (518) 643-9238, or write to him at R.D. #1, Box 90, Peru, NY 12972, or club secretary Marie Boulrice, Box 560, Station Street, Altona, NY 12910.