Birth of a club PART 2: A SUCCESS STORY

By Staff
article image
Harvey Sharrow of Charlotte, Vermont, leads the tractor parade on his Titan tractor.

Box 560 Station St., Altona, New York 12910.

Last year about this time we wrote an article telling how our
club, the Champlain Valley Antique Gas Engine and Tractor
Association, Inc. was formed around a kitchen table in upstate New
York. To refresh the memories of those who read our story last year
or to the reader who is learning about us for the first time, let
me go back to our beginning.

For years now there was a group who used to travel to gas engine
shows together. One night in February of 1991, the Boulrices
(Vernon and Marie) and the Sartwells (Merril & Scott) 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 one. We have a Hometown Cable TV channel which does
articles of local interest. Tim Lincourt was able to get us a spot
on which he appeared with the Sartwells. We were off and running.
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 the Essex County Fairgrounds at Westport, New
York, were eager to help us get our club started, thus we were able
to organize. The fairgrounds offer us a public telephone, flush
toilets, hot showers and a concession stand. Grocery stores, hotels
and restaurants are less than half mile from the fairgrounds.
Exhibitors camp free with their exhibits, but campsites with 3-way
hook-ups are available to spectators at a nightly rate.

The weather last year was almost perfect. The overcast sky on
Saturday, I felt, kept attendance lower than we had hoped. In all
gate attendance increased 53% over the previous year.

We picked up 23 new club members at the show increasing our
current membership to 75. Last year at this time we had 60 members,
but many of those were people without engines who joined just to
help us get organized. For their support we will always be
grateful.

I am now going to list a number of various exhibits we had. In
parenthesis next to some items, I will list the number of each we
had at our first year’s show so you can see how much we grew in
that area: exhibitors 79 (34), gas engines 83 (42), B &
S/Maytag size engines 10 (26), model engines 3 (0), large tractors
25 (6), garden size tractors 7 (3), antique cars 6(6), antique
trucks 2 (0), 1920 snowmobile, bulldozer. Then we had displays of
antique milling machine, milk can lift, water pumps, drill press,
hammer mill, hog oilers, milk bottles, tools, toys, water
sprinklers, lid lifters for stoves, mowers, sparkplugs, drag saw,
corn mill & grinder, butter churn, rope maker, squirrel cage
blower, grind stone, brass bells, wrenches, air compressor,
generator, burr mill, corn shucker, lanterns and tin containers.
There may have been other items, but these are the ones that people
mentioned when they registered. What a great list for people to
have available for viewing!

With growth comes new problems. We have outgrown our area! The
fair people have agreed to allow us to move to the infield of the
race track. The land is much more level and we have space to
arrange things in a more orderly fashion. We also plan to have a
‘Kids Korner’ this year with games, face painting,
balloons, etc. This type of exhibition is new to our area and
parents would have liked to stay longer, but the children were
bored. If we supply an area for children with things for them to
see and do, it helps our visitors as well as our exhibitors. New
tractor games are being planned in addition to the ones played last
year. Daily tractor parades also entertain spectators.

I wonder how many new friendships we will establish this year?
We will be happy to renew the friendships we made last year. The
saying that ‘A stranger is only a friend I haven’t met
yet’ has been adopted by our engine club as its motto. This
year’s set-up date is July 9, and show dates of July 10-11,
1993. Come out and let us turn you from a stranger to one of our
new friends or let us renew the friendship we may have already
established.

Gas Engine Magazine
Gas Engine Magazine
Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines