Where we come from
The seeds of our organization were planted March of 1985 when a notice from Gordon Rawson, Herman Sass and Jerry Snyder was circulated inviting people, with and interest in forming a Western New York Chapter of the American Truck Historical Society, to an April meeting hosted by Art Isbell. Art was the President of the Lake Erie International Truck Dealership located on Walden Avenue in Cheektowaga, NY.
Approximately 70 people attended the meeting with Gordon Rawson, Herman Sass and Tom Evans from the newly formed Twin Tiers Chapter addressing the assembly.
The Organization was formally organized in 1986 and the Charter Members were Vincent Ballachino, William Bloss, Richard Brandt, Robert Buyers, Alton Carnrike, Richard Dahmer, Paul Dippold, Arthur Isbell, Thomas Kelly, Frederick J. Killian, Phillip C. Marshall, John F. Mayer, James Miller, Marcia Miller, Allen Neamtz, Cory Pills, Allen Prame, Gordon Rawson, Barron Reingold, Herman Sass, Michael A. Schleicher, Bruce A. Schweigert, Alvin F. Shaw and Leo E. Wagner. Of these six are still active members.
Only a few regular meetings were held the first year with some of those held on Sunday afternoon at a local tavern. Around 1988 we started having meetings on the third Tuesday of the month at the Orchard Park Library. In the mid 1990’s we started having our summer meetings at various points of interest in the area. We continued our winter meetings at the Orchard Park location until 2009.
In January 2009 we severed our ties to the ATHS and became the “Empire State Antique Truck Association, Inc.”, and we moved our regular meetings to the Kwik Fill in Marilla, NY.
Our first two shows were held in 1987 and 1988 at the Sorrento Cheese lot on Walden Avenue, with the 1998 show having a great turnout of trucks and an all day rain. The 1989 and 1990 shows were held at the Apple Tree Mall. The K Mart parking lot on Walden Avenue was the site of the 1991, 1992, 1993 and 1995 shows.
1994 was the year of the big “Shuffle off to Buffalo”ATHS National Convention and Truck Show that was hosted by the then ATHS WNY Chapter. This was the biggest national show to date and a successful effort on the part of our organization.
The Tenth Annual Show in 1996 saw the big move to the Genesee County Fairgrounds in Batavia, NY with a change from pavement to grass and the expansion in scope of the show to the “Antique Truck, Farm & Construction Show”.
In 2003 We co-hosted the ATHS National Convention & truck Show at the NY State Fairgrounds in Syracuse, NY. Largest Show to that date and a very successful show. Our Representative was George Pursel Jr. His efforts were a great part of the success of this event. A great time was had by all that attended.
The first Sunday in August continued to be our show date at the fairgrounds through 2011.
In 2011 we expanded our show to a two day event and added a Antique Tractor Pull and a Slow Truck Race on Saturday.
2012 saw our two day show on August 4th & 5th move to the Fireman’s Grounds in Stafford, NY. The location was on Rt 5 about 3 miles east of the previous location. We continued at the Stafford location through 2021 with no show in 2020 because of the Covid outbreak.
The 2022 Show will see the two day “Antique Truck, Farm & Construction Show” relocated to the WNY Gas & Steam Association grounds at 10294 Gillate Road, Alexander, NY. We are excited about the move and look forward to working with the Gas & Steam Association to have and even bigger and better experience.
The 2022 Show was a great success on all fronts and we look forward to the 2023 show being even bigger and better. A good time was had by all. We thank the WNY Gas & Steam Association for their help and the great grounds we had to work with. look forward to seeing all of you this year.
The 2023 Show was an even bigger event than last year with improvements in the Parade participation and Slow Race. A marked increase in Truck and tractor registrations and in the number spectators and our largest donation to Camp Good Days and Special Times. We are looking forward to more great things in 2024. Hope to see you then.
I can’t even begin to list all the bus trip, drive a rounds, banquets, summer meeting events and road trips to regional and national shows we have had the opportunity to enjoy. These in the most part were the result of the hard work and planning of our outgoing President George Pursel Jr. and his leadership for the past twenty-eight years. Thank you George, we look forward to building upon the great foundation you have created.
With the support of our “old Guard Members”, our membership steadily increasing, a great group of Officers and Board Members and interest in our activities on the rise, we look forward to at least thirty-seven more successful years.