The Show that never was!

2019 was past and it was time to start thinking about 2020 and the meets and shows that were coning up! We were still into full winter mode but as winters go, this had been a mild one with little to no snow accumulation throughout the cold months. February was fast approaching which meant we had to start asking members if they would be able to bring a couple motors to display at the biggest show the Cleveland area puts on, the famous “Piston Power AutoRama”! This show features anything piston powered, so Outboard Motors definitely fall into that category! The Western Reserve Chapter has been displaying at this show for the last 10 -12 years and we usually draw a pretty good crowd when we show some of our old restored and unrestored outboards!

The plan is to try and get as many members as possible to sign up and commit to bringing a couple of their motors to not only display but to work the booth a day or two! The benefit of participating and showing a motor or two is that you get a free parking and admission pass into the show for all three days, not a bad deal considering the $10.00 parking and $20 admission! And it’s for all three days!

The show features, Aircraft, motorcycles, heavy equipment, trucks, military equipment, cars of every description! Race cars, dragsters, hotrods, modified cars, antique cars, vintage cars ! ATV’s, motor scooters, and much much more! Something for everyone!

So now it’s time to start getting in touch with our members, I send out a couple notices starting back in October asking who will be willing to bring motors and work the show? It always takes several messages but slowly I get, one, two, three of our core group to commit! Another month goes by and I send out another notice asking for help, and we get a couple more members to commit. It takes a couple more beg’s and promise’s but we are up to 10 – 12 that say they will come and participate! Time is closing in and I have to get the names and numbers of boats and motors being brought, and then send it in to the IX Center so we can get our pass’s and parking permits!

Our contact person, “Steve” at the Ix Center has been great to work with and always gives us a nice area to set up our display. This year was no exception as we had a great spot on one of the main isles where attendees walking the show would see our display easily! We would be sharing the area with the “Antique & Classic Boat Society” so part of the whole process was trying to figure out how big of an area we each needed based on what each club would be displaying! This usually happens once everyone is there at the show and is unloaded!

I had asked our members if each could bring two or more motors to display, and as a bonus maybe a couple boats! Our guys always go above and beyond bringing 3-4 motors and a couple boats! In the past we have had to deal with Mother Nature in one of her less than favorable moods delivering a couple feet of winters worse snowstorms! Luckily this year it has been mild and almost spring like as we move toward March show date!

Our load in day was scheduled to be on Thursday March 12th but because a couple guys couldn’t make it that day I asked Steve if we could come in on Wednesday to set up? He said as long as we made it after 12 noon, no problem! I notified everyone of the change and it looked like there were no issues! Our guys are always great in their willingness to help each other!

Because I had all of the motors I wanted to bring down in my basement and Bill Mohat knew a couple of them were fairly heavy, he offered to come over and help me load up the truck! So we loaded my Callie 5-speed, a Neptune 4hp, my Johnson TN5, WaterWitch 2 3/4hp single and a ScottAtwater 5hp! Once all the motors were packed and padded there wasn’t much room for anything else in the truck and I had more stuff to take! Enter Domonic Durda with Old Blue his trusty GM pickup with a cap on it! The extra items we needed to bring were our 12ft 2 x 10 motor board with the two metal end legs, the Banner with it’s two base’s and the 10’ poles in their PVC plastic cases. Domonic and I loaded everything in Old Blue and we were ready to go!

Wednesday we all coordinated to be at the show by about 12:30 + – a half hr or so! Paul Wood was one of the first there with his boat and four outboards and a display rack! John Hagerman was also there with 5 motors and their stands. Kevin Bem and his Dad brought in Kevin’s KG7 Merc with the racing lower unit just as Bill Mohat and Jerry Kay arrived each with several motors to unload! With almost everything unloaded we started setting up the Banner on it’s poles and base’s, then the Popup canopy!

ACBS’s guys started showing up with one of their Mahogany speed boats in tow, Gary Kosiba, Gil Maringer (sp) and Doug Brook said they would be bringing the rest of their boats in tomorrow, so we discussed how we thought we could divide the area to best compliment and accommodate everything, and came to the conclusion it would all come together when we got the rest of the boats there!

Jack Deck pulled in with their two racing boats on the trailer with Dave Deck showing up a couple minutes later with their bigger inboard hydro on the trailer! So now all our guys were there and were arranging the booth to best show our Banner along with the boats & motors they brought! It always seems to come together with everyone adding suggestions and ideas! The placement of the hydros and boats usually sets how the rest of the display works out! By about 3 PM we had the display set up for the show and we were just sitting and talking about what to expect when the show opened on Friday! Jack Deck had been working on his Hydro setting up the Mark 20H on it. He walked over to where the rest of us were sitting and said, “a guy had just stopped by and asked him how much more he had to do setting up? Jack said he was just about finished, the guy said, “too bad as it looks like their going to cancel the show! I said, “What, this is a joke right”? Jack said, “no, he was serious”! Just then Steve from the IX Center came by on his golf cart, I asked him is that rumor true? He said we won’t know till we hear for sure that the Governor makes the call to shut everything down! Of course the scare is all a result of the Covid-19 Corona Virus that started in Wuhan China and has spread throughout the world in a very short period of time!

We all looked at each other trying to grasp the seriousness of what was said! Being it wasn’t confirmed yet we decided to go home and wait to see if the rumor was true! When I got home I started making calls but couldn’t get the final word. Thursday morning I finally got confirmation that the Piston Power AutoRama was cancelled! So I called all the guys once I found out we could go back in and take down our display that day. We all arrived about 11: 30 and had almost everything put away in a couple hrs. Not the way we thought the show would go! And from what we hear this is much bigger than just one show! But there’s always next year we hope.

**** Keep the Blue Smoke Flowing ! ****