The Crank It Up! Antique Tractor and Engine Show was started 6 years ago because there was no place locally for people to show their antique tractors and engines. This is a very depressed area. For people to attend any type of show or event they have to travel at least an hour or more. To participate in an event, requires a truck and trailer to transport their "stuff". Many people in this area can't afford such equipment.
At first we were all about tractors and engines, but it was clear from the beginning that people of all ages enjoyed coming and participating. Every year we kept adding to and reshaping our show to fit the needs and wants of the show participants and attendees. We added children's games such as, tug of war, sack races, relay races and bean bag toss. The kids loved it! We did demonstrations of old equipment for people to watch and some of it was hands on for the kids to do, like shelling corn. Our show was becoming so popular, we kept growing and had to move to our present location at the Oswego County Fair Grounds which has excellent parking and is very handicap accessible.
In 2009 I went to the office of the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau and showed pictures of our event. They were excited about it and gave me information about applying for a mini grant. The first year I was awarded $1,000.00 which is used for grounds rent and tents.
With donations from local businesses we were able to add a transfer sled for a tractor pull. We continued to add more attractions like the CNY Radio Controlled Truck Pullers and some people asked if they could bring their classic cars. Our show continued to grow and now, we were pulling in people from other states and across New York!
With the mini grant, came the requirement to make a report about our show. Which was fine. Then, our Legislator also wanted me to make a report to the Oswego County Tourism Department. That's when I decided it was time to call SCORE. I had read an article about SCORE in the Sunday paper years before and took a chance they might be able to help.
This year was our 6th year. It was with dread I faced the first day of our show. Due to the flooding from the hurricane and medical issues several vendors and attractions had to cancel at the last minute. I posted that information on our web site and hoped for the best. Then I received a phone call from a lady in Hornell. "I'm calling to make sure we are coming to the right show. Is this the Crank It Up Show we hear so much about?" I told her it was and verified her directions. "We'll see you this weekend". Several other people called with similar questions and asked about accommodations.
With information gathered at the front gate, people came from 14 different counties, 3 states and Canada. Our attendance was over
1,000 and everyone said what a great show it was. Imagine, people from big cities and towns traveling miles to a poor community to see our show!
This year, WOLF Radio contacted me after finding us on the internet and offered a special deal for sponsorship. They walked around our show before the broadcast and remarked about the wide range in ages represented at our show. Usually, the teenagers are off in one place and old people in another corner and kids some where else. But here, all of these ages were interacting together! They had never seen anything like it. They were also surprised that one age group didn't dominate. It was all evenly divided.
With confidence, I'll go to the County Tourism Department and give my report. Then I'll meet with Michael and we'll talk about the future of the show. More of his ideas will be implemented as we move forward to our 7th year.
I want to thank you for taking the time to meet with me to help me sort through what I thought was a plan and make it more organized.
It's difficult for some one like me to know what to do when this whole Tractor Show idea took off better than I imagined and has left me thrashing around in the dark trying to figure out what to do.
Somehow, I jumped in the middle and missed the whole beginning!
Thanks to you, when I did my FIRST presentation to the Oswego County Tourism Advisory Committee they almost fainted when I told them some of the statistics you told me they would want to hear. Usually any programs in this area end up being more like family reunions and the County doesn't pay much attention. I had been gathering addresses from participants to send them postcards about our show, plus I had even more from this year. I didn't realize I had people from 12 different counties, 5 different states and Canada. Like you said, they would wanted to know about new money coming in to the County and between that and my pictures, they were blown away. Next week I have an appointment to go back to meet with one of the heads of the department to talk about the things they can do for me because they want to help ME with advertising and any thing else they can.
I'm glad I finally gave in and left a message at SCORE asking for help. I had called several times and lost my nerve because I wasn't sure I knew what type of help to ask for and I felt like I wouldn't understand any information presented to me since we are certainly on different levels. I didn't understand every thing you said, but I got enough out of what I did to get me further along. I'm making a list of ideas and questions and would like to meet with you again now that I have a better understanding of how to approach this.
Thanks again for everything! You have helped me more that you know!
I met with Michael Gilman and told him about our show and the reports I need to make. He told me specific information to include in my report like where people were coming from and the approximate attendance of the show. I had some of this information from addresses I had gathered from people over the years. Thanks to his insight, my first report to the County Tourism Department turned out to be great. Then he proceed to tell me other things I should incorporate such as a person at the gate taking zip codes, going through Manpower to hire helpers, etc. He kept running ideas by me and I wrote them down. He even took the time to attend our show.