Author Topic: What REALLY Happened to "Hosstraders"?  (Read 10324 times)

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Offline W1RC

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What REALLY Happened to "Hosstraders"?
« on: June 09, 2007, 06:55:41 AM »
As of this time, December 21st, 2014, the official "Hosstraders" Web page is still up.

However, given the possibility that one day the site may quietly go away I feel that their last announcement should be always available so that anyone not familiar with the circumstances will be able to read their statement so they might understand why the  three Hosstraders, Norm, WA1IVB (now W1ITT), Bob W1GWU and Joe, K1RQG (SK) decided to discontinue hosting their landmark event in their own words.

On February 9th 2007 the following announcement was posted to the Hosstraders Official Web site:

To All Radio Amateurs...
From the Hosstraders, Joe K1RQG, Bob W1GWU, and Norm W1ITT
February 2007

Re: Hosstraders Tailgate Swapfest

The October 2006 event was the last Hosstraders. After careful consideration, we have decided to discontinue hosting the event.  A combination of factors have led to this difficult decision.   We?ve been running Hosstraders for a third of a century, but we've always done it ?our way? and we feel that the result has been an event unique in the Amateur Radio world, certainly in New England.  A number of things have been taken into account, but foremost in our mind is that we want Hosstraders to be a quality experience in every way, and not to slowly run it into the ground just for the ride.  We want to take things out on a high note, while we can still be proud of our efforts.

Briefly, the factors that led us to this point are problems with site logistics, the changing face of flea marketing due to internet commerce, changes in directions of Amateur Radio, and just the fact that we have done it for a third of a century and we are getting old and tuckered out.  It is not our intent to elaborate further on these matters.  Nor do we intend to anoint or endorse any successors, or go into the business of Hamfest Consulting, so please don?t ask.  We are unaware of any person or group in the region with the experience to  ?take over?.  Therefore, be very cautious of anyone who comes forward claiming to be the &?new Hosstraders?.  Running an event of Hosstraders size and impact is more challenging than it appears!  What?s the next step?  Well, for us, we plan to relax and play radio.  For the rest of the Amateur community in the Northeast, we?d suggest that you get off the internet and on the air.  Support your local clubs, and their events.  Put up an antenna for some ham who needs a bit of assistance, and help to maintain the fraternal aspects of our hobby.

We wish to thank you for your great support these many years. We often hear from hams who have been attending Hosstraders since those early days in Seabrook.  Since that first event, where 61 of us met on a flat grassy field, we?ve had lots of fun, and made lots of memories. We?ve also donated over 1.3 million dollars to the Shriners? Hospitals for the care and support of severely burned and crippled kids.  We are proud of that, and those who participated can share in that pride.  The need still exists at the Hospitals.  If you wish to make someone happy, perhaps each year on the anniversary of Hosstraders, you could send a check along to Boston, Springfield or Montreal.  They will not waste it!

We hope you?ll remember the times we all had together at Seabrook, Deerfield, Kingston (!), Rochester and Hopkinton. You can be sure that we will never forget. 

Thirty-three years is an incredible length of time to be so completely committed to such an undertaking. Raising 1.3 MILLION dollars for the Shriners? Hospitals Burns Units is an outstanding legacy. Norm and Bob have truly earned their retirement and we hope it is a very long and healthy one. we are very pleased to see them enjoying themselves at NEAR-Fest.  Sadly, Joe, K1RQG, became a Silent Key in June 2011.

At the May NEAR-Fest I heard some comments that were critical of the three Hosstraders because they just discontinued the event without passing it along to a successor.  However we think we understand their reasoning for this and their way of doing it was wise.

Hosstraders was very much an important part of our lives for over thirty years.  Many of us started attending when we were in our twenties, just starting our careers, families and lives as adults.  Now we?re in our fifties and early sixties, children grown and we?re looking towards retirement.  But Hosstraders, despite the changes in venues, was pretty much still the same.  It was stable and we could count on it happening every May (and after 1983, October too).  They never missed one!  However, in life, everything has a beginning and also an end.  Nothing is forever!

I am certain that Joe, Norm and Bob knew all this and that someone would come forth and organize a regional New England hamfest.  At 9:00 AM Monday Feb 12th I was already on the phone getting preliminary information on what it would take to secure a suitable venue.  I was not the only one but I was successful and now we have NEAR-Fest.  Although we know full well that it will NEVER come close to being Hosstraders we feel it is as good as it will get in the times in which we live.  By making a clean break they cleared the way for us to conduct our event our way just as they had done with Hosstraders.

NEAR-Fest I held on May 4th and 5th 2007 was literally put together in the six weeks remaining after the Deerfield Fairgrounds had been secured contractually.  By all accounts NEAR-Fest I was extremely successful (beyond our wildest expectations) Since that landmark event we have hosted fifteen more NEAR-Fests and we are still going strong.

So please don?t be too fast to rush to criticize and judge the way Joe, Norm and Bob choose to end Hosstraders.  They only answer to each other, not you. Instead, thank them for all they have done in 33 years and allowing for the evolution of the NEAR-Fest.  We know that NEAR-Fest will never replace Hosstraders and we?re not even going to try.  Rest assured that we will always be our own event.  We just want to provide the radio community in the Northeast US and Eastern Canada with the highest quality event we can produce in a beautiful and familiar location where we can socialize with friends old and new, participate in the semi-annual ritual exchanging stuff from one basement to another, take an exam, party, attend a symposium or two, view exhibits and in general, just have a lot of fun like we have been doing for so many years.  Because Deerfield was home to Hosstraders for 15 years those of us who attended the event can also remember the great times he had there prior to the move to Rochester Fairgrounds in 1993. It?s good to be ?home? again.

The NEAR-Fest founders and current leadership (W2INR, K1TWF, N1IWV, WA1HLR, W1PRA, VE2BIA (SK), KA1KAQ, K1JJS, N1PHV, W1USA, W1GUD/4 and KB1FQG), join me in thanking the three Hosstraders for hosting the most wonderful amateur radio event any of us have ever attended (including Kingston!) for all those great years that have given us happy memories and lots of neat treasures.  We will do out best to keep the Grand Tradition alive......


MisterMike, W1RC
Benevolent Dictator