Antique Farm Equipment Clubs Built on Communication
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That kind of promotion has increased the number of exhibits from a wide area, and in turn, has converted exhibitors into club members.
Richard says efficient advertising is very important in attracting both spectators and participants. That includes posting fliers in a wide area, and buying newspaper and shopper space as well as radio spots.
"Last year we had four live radio remotes at our show," he says. "That doesn't cost too much because they sell most of that air time ahead."
Promotional efforts also include premiums for exhibitors. Such items increase a show's visibility, and are a way of recognizing the exhibitors for their efforts.
"We give plaques, buttons and 'best of show' awards," he says.
Sometimes, the best promotional effort is a personal contact.
"About six years ago, I'd attended some tractor and power shows, and got the idea to start an area club," says Russell Counce, president of the Crossroads of Dixie Antique Tractor and Engine Club at Lawrenceburg, Tenn.
He and several collector friends did the legwork to produce a local show. The timing was right: They hoped for 40 to 50 tractors to be exhibited, but more than 200 came. The next year, they added a tractor pull and other contests, plus a fish fry.
"Last year we had 650 tractors, so we feel our show's been successful," Russell says. "We now have over 100 club members, with many signing up after the first show. A good show, and word of mouth, are vital to signing up new members for your club."
Strong lines of communication also establish a solid and lasting foundation for a new group. Willie Matthews is treasurer of the Cooke County Antique Tractor and Farm Machinery Club at Gainesville, Texas. He stresses the importance of formal organizational documents and structure.
"We are a 501-C3 non-profit, educational Texas corporation," he says, "which helps us spend all the money back, and helps us grow faster. And people can donate equipment and the like so they can write off the tax deductions."
Advertising, he says, has been a good investment for his club.
"We also do a lot of advertising, spending around $3,000 per year," he says. "But we feel that, and hard work by our 90 members, has paid off, since show attendance this past year was over 2,000 and there were over 300 tractor, machinery and other exhibitors." FC
Gary Van Hoozer is a Missouri writer specializing in vintage agriculture and farm history.
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