Jack Versteeg, 3510 Brooklake Rd. NE, Brooks, OR 97303
In the beginning we mentioned the fellowship in the EDGE&TA. In 1978 a member of Branch 20 from the state of Washington was attending the national meeting at Fort Scott, KS. As his transportation was a pickup and a camper, he had been making purchases all along the way and at Fort Scott he purchased a complete front axle assembly for a Samson tractor, only to realize that he had two Engines, a windmill and lots of parts in the camper. After much discussion, another person offered to haul the axle as far as Kansas City. Another member picked it up and delivered it to Mt. Pleasant, IA-from there it went to Des Moines. That winter, it was delivered to the Branch 20 member's house. All along the way, there were no freight charges. Somewhere down the line, we are sure that this favor has been returned twofold.
The national meeting is held once a year. The time and place are determined by the branch that is host. This rotates from branch to branch, by the numbers. When a branch's turn comes up, they have the option of hosting or not hosting the meeting. This is strictly voluntary.
The national meeting for 1990 will be hosted by Branch 10, and held at Oak Creek, WI. This will be a good show as the J. I. Case Heritage Foundation is also having a big doings there at the same time. The 1989 national was hosted by Branch 9 at Pottsville, OR. This is a small community just north of Grants Pass and is named after State Senator Deb Potts.
It is interesting to note that by rotating the national meeting from branch to branch, it occurs in a different area of the country each year. In doing this, the exhibitors seem to put on an extra effort and display some unique and very rare equipment. A lot of this iron would not normally be seen otherwise.
There are branches in many states with varying sizes of membership, from 20 to over 700. Branches are located in AR, KS, MO, MI, IN, WI, IA, MN, WA, ID, CA, MT, NM and OR.
There are about 4000 national members and membership is not restricted to men. The gals and kids are heartily welcome. Most branches have a get together or gas-up about every six weeks. They have a short business meeting, accompanied by a pot luck dinner or baked bean feed. The gatherings are usually held at different members' places, fair or show grounds.
This type of activity helps promote the friendship and fellowship that most branches enjoy. It also stimulates interest from nonmembers who are curious about our hobby.
Many branches have newsletters and they are exchanged among branches. This exchange of information gets the news out to a large portion of the country. The names of some of these newsletters are quite interesting, such as: The Backfire, Chugger, Ignitor, Flywheeler, Cast Iron News.
The Early Day Gas Engine & Tractor Association Inc. has been in business for over 30 years and to the best of our knowledge there never has been a serious accident at a show or gas-up where a member has been exhibiting. Our record of good safety has been accomplished by everyone being very conscious, watching out for anyone or anything that might become a problem.
More on this subject in our next column!