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2003 Merzoian Tailgater Show Journal by Christian Willis.

This journal was written on Saturday, September 6, 2003.

At 3:30 a.m. I awoke, packed up my stuff for the day, and got ready to go. We were on the road at about 4:45 a.m., and drove down to the Circle K for our usual coffee (dad) and hot chocolate (me). At around 5:00 a.m., we hit Interstate 5 and headed north to Porterville. We took Hwy. 99 North to Hwy. 65 North, which took us through the small towns of Ducor, Terra Bella, and finally Porterville at about 8:30 a.m. We stopped at Apple Annie’s in Porterville for a great breakfast (not sure if breakfast would be provided at the show, which it turned out it was.) At 9:30 a.m., we headed south a few miles and turned right onto Avenue 112, until we were met by a sign on the side of the road with insulators perched on it and a red arrow pointing down a narrow road between rows of orchard trees. We had arrived at the Merzoian brothers’ ranch. Everybody was there, all set up, under a large open barn-style shelter. Although it was hot, the shade from the shelter and the breeze kept things quite pleasant.

I had only brought about $100 to spend, so I decided to focus on embossings this show. I wasn’t disappointed, as I picked up a CD 151 H.G.Co. / Petticoat with SDP on both skirts, but no May patent date! My second buy was another oddball embossing, the CD 121 (F-Skirt) Hemingray / No.16 (R-Skirt) Hemingray, with the large "1" on the dome in a nice blue aqua. And not too far away from that one was my third embossing purchase, a CD 152 (F-Skirt) Hemingray / Made in U.S.A. (R-Skirt) No.40. I also picked up a pair of CD 120 Dec. Pat.’s in ice green with two different embossings, and a CD 113 Hemingray in Milky Aqua with the fattest upper wire groove lip I’ve ever seen on this style. For $30 and in great shape, I couldn’t pass it by.

Well, that was it. I purchased 6 raffle tickets for $5, and that left me with $5 left in my pocket. I wasn’t planning on buying any more insulators… until Renard came along! I glanced over at his table, and he had set out a nice-looking CD 162 in a darkish 7up Green. The price was very reasonable at $110 and was one inner skirt peck away from flawless. I had had my eye out for one of these for a couple years now, so I walked away with one less check in my checkbook and my color piece for the show.

At around noon, the food was set out and the lines formed. The food was excellent. After a while of sitting about and talking, the NorCal and CSCIC clubs had their meetings back-to-back. Among the discussion was possibly merging the two clubs to a single California club with northern and southern chapters. We decided that CSCIC should really get back off the ground before we consider that further. We also decided to expand the CSCIC events to 3 shows per year, Cayucos, the Merzoian Tailgater, and a third location, possibly Lancaster. The new club positions were announced including my editorship of the newsletter, which hasn’t been published since Fred Padgett published it over two years ago. We also created a committee comprised of four individuals, with yours truly being nominated the Committee Chairman (!) by Bob Merzoian. Wow! Sure wasn’t expecting that one! I’m definitely excited to be involved.

Each pole of the shelter has been fitted with a crossarm with four insulators across. The idea with those, apart from the obvious decorative purpose, is that members can donate four insulators to a crossarm of their choice and their name will be engraved on a small plaque and attached to the crossarm. Since I had brought my insulators for sale in the van, I went and retreived four pieces each valued in the $10-20 range. Dave Brown set up a ladder for me, and I had the honor of being the first one to "donate a crossarm" to the Merzoian’s ranch. Pretty fun!

At around 3:30, we said our goodbyes and headed back for home. This was a great get-together that we’ll definitely be revisiting in the future!

Mike Guthrie and Christian enjoying the great lunch!

Dwayne Anthony, Bud Willis and Sid Marques

"I hope this check is good..."

Bud at a sales table

Adding my insulators to the Merzoian "pole barn"

Ta-da! The finished crossarm.

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