OPEN LETTER TO THE EDITOR

By Staff

3231 Randolph Street, N.W., Warren, Ohio 44485

As a concerned engine collector I feel compelled to write this
letter to voice an opinion which I am certain needs to be expressed
as I am sure it is harbored in the minds of many of your readers.
As an ardent collector and avid show goer participating in 15-20
shows per year, I have seen a changing trend. During the past show
season I have heard more griping and complaining, replacing the
normal B.S. which usually flies when collector I gee together. As
per normal most gripes and statements of discontent are made among
friends rather than to those to whom they should be
communicated.

It seems as if many of those persons and many of the
organizations who are organizing and running shows have in essence
lost sight of possibly one of the most important aspects of the
show, ‘the exhibiting collector.’ It’s difficult to
voice an opinion without being specific and pointing fingers at
specific groups or shows. I’m sure that many of you could point
the finger right back in complaint about things relating to the
show which I am specifically involved, but nevertheless, it must be
said. Many of us collectors in recent years and with increasing
frequency have become antagonized, intimidated and in general have
been made to feel unwelcome or have been given the impression,
‘Who gives a damn. We don’t need you.’

Our basic hassels and confrontations probably fall in several
specific areas: First, At The Gate. Example:
You’ve just hauled a load of equipment, driven umpteen hours
and now hear somebody at the gate say, ‘That will be $5.00 for
membership. Oh, are you going to camp, that will be an extra
$4,50,’ and things of this nature. Now really, to how many of
you has something similar to this happened and if not at the gate,
when you arrive at the show office to register you encounter
similar confrontations. I have heard numerous collectors say,
‘I never unloaded, I just turned around and went home.’ Or,
‘The equipment stayed on the rig and I walked around for
awhile.’ Do we really need to charge the exhibitor to camp? Is
sleeping in the back of one’s pick-up truck camping? Many of us
see the same folks, non-exhibitors camping at many shows. They have
become quite wise. Go to an engine show, camping is cheap, lots to
see, buy, eat, and in many instances great entertainment in the
evening. It’s a much better deal than staying at a KOA Camp
Ground and by far cheaper. If there is a need to charge, let’s
let the non-exhibiting campers pay at the going rate.

Secondly, Display Management: There is nobody
to show you where you are to spot your equipment, so you place your
equipment where you feel prudent or have someone show you where to
place your equipment only to have someone ‘ else say, ‘No,
you must move it.’ I personally drove six hours to attend a
show, made reservations two nights in a motel because my family was
traveling with me. I checked in at the show office and was shown by
a director where to place my engine, asked to move it by two other
directors and asked to move it again by an entire committee. By the
time the show had ended, engines were then located on both of my
previous locations. Things such as this are totally uncalled for
and unnecessary and easily seen why one would like to pack up and
return home.

Thirdly, Display and Support Vehicle Location:
This one I realize in many instances is probably impossible to
modify or change but it sure is an inconvenience. Unload your
engines here and park your vehicle over there, which could be in
some instances a mile away. (This is no exaggeration!} One of the
true enjoyments of a show is the brotherhood of collectors and
sitting at the back of your car, truck, or trailer enjoying the
friendship and fellowship which makes it all worth coming, and
without your vehicle it seems as if everything and everybody is
over there.

Fourth, The Plaque: Many shows do give a plaque
and yet this particular item can turn into a hassel. Example:
You’re told, ‘We give plaques Sunday after the parade.’
Now in essence this may be a show that runs Friday, Saturday, and
Sunday or longer. It’s possible that you could exhibit on that
Friday or Saturday or both and not receive a plaque but a person
coming in Sunday morning or afternoon and spending just a few hours
could receive a plaque because they’re there after the parade
on Sunday. It seems very inequitable that a person could spend 48
hours at a show and not receive a plaque when somebody could come
in and conceivably spend three or four hours and receive one. Is a
little trinket really worth antagonizing a person who has something
which can truly add to your show?

In summarizing, have these people in charge of our shows really
lost the insight into what it means to donate a weekend or a day of
our time to make their show a success? As exhibitors we travel
miles on end, pay for gasoline, food and at times lodging which is
an additional donation to their show because they do pay hauling of
large equipment, yet we donate this free. It’s an effort to
exhibit and exhibitors should have fun and relax and should not
leave with a ‘mistreated’ feeling.

In closing, our displays are valuable and in many instances
irreplaceable yet every time we exhibit we take a risk, a risk
which could be a real financial disaster if a piece of machinery or
equipment should be damaged in transit. One only has to look at a
steam engine or large tractor which has been shortened by two feet
at the overhead clearance, look at the picture o( a tractor and a
flatbed trailer overturned on a California freeway, or talk to a
collector who has damaged any piece of equipment in transit to
realize that the risk potential is real. The club to which we
exhibitors haul our displays does not assume any liability involved
in transit because they are not the haulers. Let’s truly hope
that those persons responsible for the forest and are not so narrow
minded that they can look through a keyhole with both eyes open
because in our changing times there may come a time when we as
collectors say, ‘It’s not worth it’ and without us
there will be no shows!

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Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines