2003 Jefferson State Insulator Club - Show Report
Scott Morrell, JSIC President

The 2003 Jefferson State Insulator & Bottle Show can be summed up in one word: SUCCESS! We had 90 sales tables, approximately half bottles & insulators. The Seven Feathers facility was plush, and their service was great. The dealers were impressed with the show hall, praised the lighting and spaciousness, and were generally pleased with the entire event. What's more, the show was a financial success. The dealer reservations and raffle proceeds covered all expenses and returned a tidy profit to the JSIC treasury... seed money for next year's show.

As a show organizer, it is hard to describe the apprehensions that precede a show. Have all the details have been handled? Did we advertise enough? Will people come? Will the dealers be happy? Did we make enough signs? Is the admission table ready? Who will staff it? Who will do appraisals? Will the media show up? Will the dinner and lunch be good? Will I have time to find a great new piece for the collection?

After working tirelessly for two weeks preceding the show, the big day arrived. Several club members were already in the show hall well before noon. We quickly setup our command center. We found dealers beginning to unload long before our 1:00 p.m. setup time. This presented a dilemma. Should we allow dealer setup before the allotted time? Then there was the question of "early buyers" who were supposed to enter no earlier than 4:00 p.m. Some early buyers arrived much earlier and breezed right in the dealer entrance, bypassing the admission table. Others grumbled when we would not allow them in earlier than 4:00. Finally we realized we had lost control of the situation, and permitted everyone to enter. We learned from this experience and promise to do better next year. Despite our best efforts, we found that it is impossible to please everyone. We did learn to improve our security, and stick to our published schedule.

Despite a bumpy start, the show setup was soon humming along nicely. Of course, there were little "fires" to put out. Electric outlets were not as widespread as we'd expected, leaving the entire display area and one bank of sales tables in the dark. Fortunately, the Seven Feathers staff was right there to help us route electrical cords from other areas and the problem was solved. An hour later, the convention manager informed us we had to move several displays that we'd just set up! A fire marshal decided that they were blocking vital doorways. Carl Scott had to dismantle his entire johnny-ball display. What a pain in the rear! Fortunately the Seven Feathers staff helped us, and adjusted our bill to make amends (the club owes Carl a beer!).

Our show had some unique features. We setup a no-host bar at 6:00 p.m. on Friday evening, followed by a banquet for dealers right in the convention hall. Many a thirst was slaked, and the banquet was quite good. It was nice to offer dealers a relaxed atmosphere without having to run them out of the room at sundown! Everyone cleared out by 9:30, and we eagerly awaited the big day. Everyone who stayed in the Seven Feathers hotel that night agreed it was a first-class facility! The rooms were exceptionally clean and well appointed. Some enjoyed the casino and live entertainment. After a day running around like a madman, I relaxed in their hot tub and slept like a stone all night... at least until 5:30 a.m. when we had to rise and prepare for the big day.

Before the sun rose, we set up large wooden signs to advertise the show all over Canyonville. We even set some along the freeway! Dealers were arriving by 7:00 a.m., early buyers at 8:00, and before the show officially started at 9:00, our first walk-ins were waiting outside the door. We weren't sure how many walk-ins would attend, but our uncertainty turned to astonishment as an endless onslaught of people arrived with items to appraise and sell! At times, there were lines of people waiting with boxes and sacks full of insulators and bottles. Our advertising paid off, not to mention some excellent TV coverage on two local stations the day before the show. Our mantra was "Free Admission, Free Appraisals, Buyers on Duty!" And they came. Some items that walked in the door included California helmets in sage and yellow, an amber CD 162, lots of blackglass McLaughlin tolls, a box full of purple Whitall Tatums, a big purple Agee, plus tons and tons of porcelain. One lady had a cardboard box full of glass & porcelain radio strains in a rainbow of colors. The strains struck the fancy of Barb Smith, whose winning bid allowed her to bring the whole box home. Many good bottles walked in as well, but I won't bore you insulator collectors with those!

Display judging time rolled around, and the judges sprung into action. Bruce Silva won first prize with his portrayal of the eagle as a patriotic theme on antique whiskey bottles. Julie Dennis took second place with her excellent display of ink bottles and inkwells. Mindy Michener took third place with her Pony Express display, featuring a Pony Express station in a remote sandy desert, bordered by colorful pony insulators. Carl Scott swept up the JSIC Club's Choice award for his vast assortment of porcelain johnny balls (the same ones he had to set up twice!). Other displays included a new porcelain discovery by Barbara Smith & Carver Mead. Gil Hedges-Blanquez sang the blues with cobalt glazed porcelain (to musical accompaniment... a mainstay of Gil's displays). Gary Michener stunned the crowds with an array of colorful CD 120's. Dave Hall's Cabin Bottles were awesome in a backlit display case. Keith Lunt had a colorful display of British poison bottles, and Nathan Lamkey had a unique display describing great insulator finds at flea markets, antique stores & garage sales. A big THANK YOU to all our displayers!

The show would not have been possible without the tireless work of Bill Ostrander. Bill handled all dealer reservations, created and maintained the show website, and designed promotional materials. Bill brought his laptop computer & printer to the show... an invaluable tool for printing signs and award certificates at the last minute. On behalf of the entire club, I'd like to extend a special "Thank You" to Bill!

Many others contributed to making this a successful show. Thanks are due to Nathan Lamkey for designing, printing, and framing the display award certificates, as well as helping with judging. I also wish to thank the women in our lives... JoAnne Wood, Barb Cherry, and my wife Christy for staffing the admission table. The guys helped too... Mid Norris, Ken Klein, Paul Cherry, Carl Scott, Tim Wood, and others too numerous to mention. You know who you are!

I also extend a special thanks to members of the Siskiyou Antique Bottle Collectors Association (SABCA). Their collaboration was vital for the melding of two separate shows into one big show. Bruce Silva made name badges & table signs and supervised the display judging. Keith Lunt helped promote the show in the bottle world. Dale Mlasko appraised many walk-in bottles and provided a television interview. Dave Scafani (collector of historic southern Oregon bottles) also furnished an excellent interview for the TV news at the last minute. Finally, special thanks are due to Julie & Jim Dennis of Dufur, Oregon. As we became overwhelmed with items brought for appraisal and auction, Julie & Jim stepped in and kept things moving. Julie was not shy of the microphone and kept up the excitement as items were auctioned.

Late Saturday afternoon, it was raffle time! We had several nice prizes. JSIC gives special thanks to the Nor Cal insulator club and Bill Rohde for their donation of a beautiful Muncie 303/310 power insulator. Ron Yuhas of Helena, Montana won this piece. Ironically, Ron used to own this very insulator! Other raffle prizes included an instant California insulator collection, won by Cheryl Thomas of Port Orchard, Washington (also one of JSIC's newest members!). A pretty amber chestnut flask was donated by Denley Bryson or Meridian, California (and won by Paul Cherry of Yreka). Other raffle prizes included a set of colorful poison bottles, an IXL bitters bottle, and several other lots of bottles. Thanks to all who donated raffle and door prizes for the show!

We'll be back at Seven Feathers in 2004 and beyond. The collaboration between JSIC and SABCA restores an historic partnership between the insulator & bottle collecting hobbies. Many old timers from both hobbies were happy to see this trend resurface. What insulator collector doesn't own a few antique bottles, or vice-versa? The variety of hobbyists ensured a rich selection of items including old signs, fruit jars, telephones, post cards, advertising, and yes, thanks to Rex Vaughn of Anderson, California... antique glass minnow traps (look those up on the internet!). So mark your calendars. We'll do it again on October 22 & 23, 2004. See you there!

Photo Section
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Bill Rohde picked up this huge and wonderful Thomas multipart.

Ernie Carlson sits at his sales table.

Denley Bryson looking over a new California for his collection.

Veteran show host Vi Brown shows off a couple of stunning EC&M's she had on her sales table. They didn't last long!

...and veteran show attendee Nathan Lamkey snatches up a good deal from a table.

Chuck Irwin shows the new issue of Crown Jewels to Don Berke while Steve Nickoloff looks on.

Scott Morrell talks to Mary Ann Thomas about her colorful shirts.

Scott Morrell and Denley Bryson at Gary Michener's table.

Steve Bava talks to Keith Lunt.

Mindy Michener and her prize-winning display.

Crown Jewels of the Wire publishers, Howard and Linda Banks.

Robin Harrison, Barbara Smith and Gil Hedges chat in front of Carl Scott's display.

Arlene and Bob Jackson.

Robin Harrison grins over a new porcelain find.

Mike Doyle.

Mike Parker's unique grey Thomas M-3070.

Ron Yuhas, Carver Mead, Ben Kirsten & Ed Sewall discussing power insulators.

Robin Harrison, Mike "Rain" Spadafora and Bill Ostrander "talkin' mud".

Photo credits: Gil Hedges, Carl Scott, Nathan Lamkey, Scott Morrell, Bill Ostrander

This Section Last Updated November 29, 2003