Washington State-Wide Gas-Up & Swap Meet

Tennis Ball Cannon

The infamous tennis ball cannon.

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('Chili Cook Harry') P. O. Box 735 Yakima, Washington 98907

Harry thanks his wife Carole for her able assistance with this project and the article.

We did it! After hearing lots of talk along the West Coast about a possible state-wide gas-up, we decided to try it. Washington state had their gas-up for collectors May 19, 20, & 21. It was worth all the effort everyone put out and then some.

All collectors were welcome whether club affiliated or not. Some brought exhibits, some brought items to sell or trade and others brought themselves just to get acquainted, gossip and have a good time. Some came early Friday, or on Saturday but all had plenty of time to get home Sunday evening. Our furthest traveler was less than 250 miles. With-out the public, everyone was relaxed and felt like they had a weekend off.

One display was a Foos engine that had been retrieved from back in the Cascade mountains. Don Monroe had it flown out (fifty miles) by helicopter and went to great lengths to restore it. 'Hot Air Al' brought, of course, his hot air engines. All those collectors in one spot provides more hot air than his engines. We ended up with five rope makers and twisted lots of rope from binder twine. All five were the same patent and I'll bet you won't see that happen again. Every ropemaker I've found has been a different type. Unbelievable that they all were the same. Lots of really nice gas engines and even a small steam engine and boiler hooked to a small generator to display light bulbs.

This show was planned as a tailgate gas-up so we didn't have any heavy items to unload. Lots of machines were swapped but even more tall tales were swapped around.

Of course with all the cooking that everyone helped with, we all ate too much.

The topper of the show was, as we were discussing how clean and orderly the group was, a bunch of guys decided to jazz-up their 'exhaust cannon', a PVC pipe that shoots tennis balls. If you get it in the exhaust pipe at just the right time, boy, those tennis balls really get up high with a big engine! At any rate, after you burn the fu z z off, they don't fly very well. John Nietzel decided to put some wadding around the ball and they had paper blowing all around right quick. Maybe, since it was pitch dark, he was only trying to keep track of his balls. If you knew John and his cronies this 'high' display of talent would be appreciated. Since John works for the Bremerton Shipyards he usually has to be very contained, but he does know how to make up for lost time.

Have you tried a state-wide meet for collectors only? Try it sometime. You would be surprised at the number of helping hands that pitch in on those days. The relaxed atmosphere seems to bring out the best in everyone.

We are already looking forward to next year. Hope to increasee from the 121 ticket buyers this year. Are also planning to have horse-drawn covered wagon rides available to well-padded rears.