Excerpt from the President’s Message:
… This year’s convention, running from June 20 to 23, in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia is shaping up to be a good one in which we are offering new events and opportunities catering to first-time attendees. Let’s start with the location. Harpers Ferry, at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers, is more than a phenomenal show location; it’s one of the most diverse vacation spots in the country, and easy to access. Harpers Ferry is a little over an hour’s drive or shuttle ride from each of the three major airports servicing the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area: Baltimore Washington International, Dulles International, and Ronald Reagan Washington National. Reasonably-priced airline tickets — even for international attendees — are available, with a little advanced planning.
Washington is an awe-inspiring and affordable vacation spot, in its own right. It offers over 18 world-class museums and galleries and the National Zoo — complete with pandas, lions, and tigers and bears — oh my, all run by the Smithsonian Institute. These facilities, true national treasures, are free to the public. These free sites are complemented by many reasonably-priced, world-renowned, private museums, such as the Spy Museum and Newseum. A visit to Washington can be either an appetizer or dessert around your main course of Harpers Ferry, and it’s close enough that family members can take daily jaunts, if they become overloaded by antique tackle!
Our host hotel, the Clarion Inn, contains a beautiful swimming pool, a full-service bar, and a nice restaurant. A well-stocked fly shop adjoins the hotel. The hotel property is bordered on one side by the area’s largest outdoor adventure sport business, offering zip lining, bike rentals, whitewater rafting, and watercraft rentals. Harpers Ferry National Historic Park borders on another side of the property. “Lower Town” Harpers Ferry, famous for a historic armory and John Brown’s rebellion, is a five- minute car or hotel-shuttle ride away. Lower Town contains over 20 museums, and period shops and businesses — staffed as they would have been 150 years ago. Re-enactment soldiers routinely march the streets and drill in town. There are a variety of hiking trails through town and to the mountainous points that overlook the town and the rivers. The historic C&O Canal runs through town, and its pathway serves as a popular hiking and biking trail, with bike rental available in town. The rivers offer world-class cool- and warm-water fishing.
If you are a horse racing aficionado, Charles Town Races is a 10-minute drive away, as is the Hollywood Casino and its Las Vegas-quality shows (Dwight Yoakam and Michael McDonald each performed there within the last few weeks.) Dennis Workman, the local show host, would be glad to talk with ORCA members who have specific requests about what the area has to offer. Despite the considerable draws of the Harpers Ferry and Washington, D.C., areas, the main draw of the ORCA Annual Convention is the ORCA activities. If you are considering attending, what can you expect?
First, you can expect to check into nice hotel rooms, grouped with other ORCA members, at a reasonable rate of $110/night, if you mention the ORCA event when you make your reservations at 304-535-6302. You will be able to pick up your convention registration packet on Wednesday, June 20, anytime after 4 p.m. The first ORCA event of the convention, Wine and Reels, begins at 6 p.m. We have a private gathering room, where wine, soft drinks, and snacks will be served (included in the reasonable $35 convention fee). This is a great opportunity to meet other ORCA members and to catch up with old friends. During Wine and Reels, we invite you to bring a reel that is meaningful to you, and talk a little bit about why you like it. It is an opportunity for us to share our passion for our hobby. Or, you may decide to bring a reel that has stumped you. Wine and Reels is a great opportunity to get new information and insight from our members’ knowledge.
Thursday morning, the ORCA Club Store will And, the antique tackle fishing tournament will run from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m. During the tournament, you have the option to wade either river or to float a portion of the Potomac. If you opt to wade, we ask you to do so with a partner, for safety and to verify each other’s catches, as we will be practicing catch and release and using the honor system for scoring. If you want to float the river out of a canoe (two anglers per canoe), there will be a float trip fee of approximately $30 per angler. Fly, spin, and plug-casting all produce plentiful and large smallmouth bass, and don’t be surprised if a trophy walleye or musky attempts to run off with your offering. We ask anglers to use rods, reels, and terminal tackle that are at least 50 years old. If using fly tackle, you can use new flies, if they are based on patterns that are 50 years or older.
Thursday afternoon, the show room will be open for setup of displays and sales tables. (Six-foot sales tables should be prepaid, at an additional fee of $30 each. Display non-sales tables are free to registrants.) This year, to simplify breakdown and setup and to facilitate a social common ground, we will be utilizing the main show room as our gathering ground. It will host typical “room trading” activities — being open until 9 p.m. on Thursday and from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Friday, as well as for the main “show.” As soon as members are setup with their sales items, they can be open for business. As a “grand opening” event for ORCA members — which we are calling the Reel Trading Saloon, we will roll in a keg of beer, soft drinks, and snacks at 5 p.m. During the Reel Trading Saloon (included in the convention fee), social (Friends of…) gatherings of collectors with similar interests will take place throughout the showroom. Currently Friends of… gatherings are planned for Meisselbach (Roger Schulz, host), Kentucky reels (Betty Barr, host), Shakespeare (Bryce Tawney, host), Pflueger (Robin Sayler, host), saltwater reels (Ed Pritchard, host), fly reels (Richard Lodge, host), NY reels (Henry Caldwell, host), spinning reels (Arley Phillips, host) and Ambassadeur (host TBD — open for volunteers).
Thursday early afternoon, the silent auction, during which ORCA members can bid on reels, art, and ephemera that have been donated to the club, also will open. The silent auction will run through 5 p.m. Friday.
On Friday, activities kickoff with Breakfast with the Board (included in the convention fee). Annual an opportunity to share ideas and concern with the board. Following breakfast, a Reel Restoration Workshop will take place, during which members can learn new skills and exchanges restoration ideas. During the afternoon, a tournament casting clinic (run by Dan Basore), followed by a casting tournament on the Clarion’s back lawn will take place. Members can cast in three different divisions: non-levelwind casting, levelwind casting, spinning/ spincasting. All tackle used in the tournament should be at least 50 years old. Fiberglass rods are OK for the levelwind and spinning/spincasting divisions. Non-levelwind division rods should be steel or bamboo. The casting tournament will be followed by the Stu Lawson Memorial Ugly Reel Toss, during which contestants pitch truly ugly reels at a target.
Friday evening the annual Happy Hour and Banquet takes place (additional fee of $30/person and cash bar). During the banquet, awards are presented for best displays, the fishing contest, casting tournament, and Ugly Reel Toss. The keynote after-dinner speaker this year will be Tim O’Brien. CEO of Tycoon Tackle and author of The Tycoon Tackle Story: Frank O’Brien, the Tycoon Fishing Rod, and the Gilded Age of Big Game Angling.
Saturday at 10 a.m., the showroom opens to the public. We are soliciting antique tackle throughout the Harpers Ferry and Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, and any items that the public brings in for sale will be auctioned, so that all attendees have equal opportunity to acquire them. The show will wrap-up at 3 p.m.
We are very excited about seeing a lot of members who have not attended one of these events, as well as old friends!