In the summer of 2004 word spread that a group of people from the Buffalo, NY area were seeking International Harvester collectors and enthusiasts in organizing a New York Chapter of IH Collectors. Many were excited to learn more about this new venture of forming a NYS chapter.
ORGANIZING OUR CHAPTER
In September of 2004 organizers were at the Western NY Gas & Steam Engine Association Show at Alexander, NY spreading the word and taking names of interested people. October 22, 2004 a flyer and letter was mailed from the IHC Formation Committee.
The Western New York Gas & Steam Engine Association (WNYG&SEA) offered the use of their clubhouse for a meeting to get the club started. A meeting was scheduled for November 7, 2004. An excellent idea to contact the National and glean NYS members creating a mailing list proved to be successful for the committee.
A card was included in the mailing to gather information such as names, addresses, special talents/skills, interests in IH and collections, etc. Dozens of interested people showed up at the November 7, 2004 organizational meeting.
Monthly meetings were conducted most of the first year to get everything done in concert with the IHCC National rules. Charter members were recorded. We adopted by-laws and established many committees that today make the club run like a well-tuned Farmall tractor. We were granted our official chapter number 35, and charter at the 2005 Winter Convention at Madison, WI. Chapter 35 region includes the entire state of New York and continues to call Alexander, NY our home. We maintain a membership of about 400 people. Our board of directors is made up of nine members elected by the membership.
FARMALL FLYER NEWSLETTER
Our quarterly newsletter is titled, FARMALL FLYER. It has been recognized as one of the best. There are regular columns of interest to all along with a classified ads section. Our membership directory is updated annually and serves as a great communications tool for contacting members and sharing ideas.
Membership drives were conducted most of our first year by attending a variety of agricultural related events around the state such as the NYS Farm Show, Empire Farm Days and many tractor shows and fairs. Chapter representatives were on hand distributing literature, answering questions and signing up new members with our Chapter 35 banner and tent as a backdrop.
OUR FIRST STATE SHOW
We held our first state show titled, Red Power Charge 2006 at the Union Agricultural Society fairgrounds in Hemlock, NY. We had a surprising turnout of IH red and Cub Cadet yellow. Despite poor weather, the show was declared a huge success. Daily parades, tours, exhibit, auction, sawmill, kids tractor pull, entertainment, a radio station announcer at the PA, great food and wonderful friendship prevailed both days.
It was an ambitious project and was nationally recognized by author and IH enthusiast, Oscar “Hank” Will III who attended and was a highlight of the show. His April 2007 story of Red Power Charge 2006 appeared in Farm Collector Magazine. Subsequent state shows have been held in different regions of New York State hosted by other tractor organizations willing to feature International Harvester for their program.
Four quarterly general membership meetings are held each year in different areas of the state with a schedule of additional activities at winter meetings at the Alexander Clubhouse. Our meetings often carry a theme such as, Wear Red or Patriots Day or “Bring your favorite farm toys,” etc. Guest speakers are a highlight at several meetings. A “Red and Green” picnic was held where we shared fellowship with local John Deere and Oliver clubs. Our late winter meeting has become our annual farm toy show where members are encouraged to display some of their farm toy collection. We have a Christmas Party and nice meal each December. Annual fund raisers have included pedal toys and Cub Cadet tractors. We purchased an enclosed trailer for hauling and storing club sale merchandise. It proudly displays our IHCC NYS Chapter 35 logo and large IH emblems.
In the winter of 2008 we were selected to host the National Auction. In the future we would like to host a Red Power Round Up. Chapter 35 has become a reality, long overdue in the State of New York. Attending meetings is exciting and being with our members is productive and fun. We have a great group of people who pitch in when things need to be done. Our membership carries a variety of folks, many retired geezers, some large and small farm operators, tradesmen, lawyers, veterinarians and even a cardiologist. We like to say that “volunteerism is alive in Chapter 35.”