TERRYVILLE, CT – The Yankee Chapter of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America is retracting the kickstand of its long-running National Meet and shifting the event cross-state from Hebron, CT to the Terryville Fairgrounds here next year. The 2018 dates at the new location will be Aug. 3 and 4.
The chapter has staged the National Meet at the Hebron Fairgrounds since 1993, but it says rising costs and a lack of communication on the part of the Hebron Lions Club, which operates the fairgrounds, forced the move.
Chapter members learned of the move in an email sent out Tuesday night by the chapter’s board of directors that noted “poor and sometimes non-existent communication for months at a time” and “substantial increases in our rental and other costs.”
Reached this morning, Yankee Chapter president Maine “Ted” Smith said of Terryville, “This is the one place that could meet our dates and our needs. They just appear to really want us.” He added that other possible sites in a Worcester, Springfield and Lowell, Mass. were considered.
What cinched the deal for the Terryville Fairgrounds were superior facilities, earlier access to the grounds and other amenities.
The Antique Motorcycle Club of America was founded in 1954, has more than 11,000 members and 75 chapters. Its purpose is to restore, preserve and celebrate motorcycles that are at least 35 years old. The Yankee Chapter’s National Meet usually attracts more than 1,000 riders and dozens of vendors over two days. This year’s event on Aug. 4 and 5 also drew more than 100 campers to the Hebron Fairgrounds.
Smith, who lives in Cheshire, said his biggest concern now is making sure vintage motorcycles lovers become aware of the site change. “Because of so many years (in Hebron), our biggest risk is that the word doesn’t get out,” he said.
Smith seemed mystified by the Hebron Lions’ lack of interest in the meet after so many years. “I don’t know what happened,” he said.
The email, meanwhile, stated, “Quite frankly, they really seemed like they didn’t care if we came or not. This relationship was obviously going downhill, so the board had been exploring alternatives in order to have a backup in case Hebron (became) unworkable, which was clearly happening.”
It noted, “…the Terryville people are very excited to have us and have been extremely cooperative so far. This is a great venue for our meet and we think it is a place that will be good for our members and our chapter.”
– By Bud Wilkinson