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2008 Merzoian Tailgater Show Journal by Christian Willis.

This journal was written on August 30, 2008.

This year, my wife and I took a half day off work and drove up to Los Osos on Friday afternoon to visit my dad Bud. He couldn’t make it to the show last year, and I missed him. The Merzoian Tailgater just isn’t the same without my dad there! So this year we would all be driving over to Porterville from Los Osos.

We all left around 5:15AM and took U.S. 101 north to Hwy. 41. We took that east, passing through “Blood Alley” and the junction where James Dean was killed. We hit I-5 and took that south until we hit Utica, which we took east. Several long, desolate rural roads awaited us as we headed in the direction of Hwy. 65. It was pretty neat though, being able to see so much farmland out there. It’s amazing how much land there is!

We arrived at the tailgater at 8:15AM. Not surprisingly, the turnout was a little light this year (I’m sure the high gas prices and economy are factors). Still, a lot of the “regulars” were there. There was an empty table over between Larry Shumaker and Bill Heitkotter, so we sort of took over that table to sit at.

During my walk-around, I noticed a lot of familiar insulators over on Dwayne Anthony’s tables. As it turned out, he had purchased the remainder of Richard Dawson’s collection. Unfortunately, a lot of the insulators I had my eyes on at previous shows were now gone. However, a few good pieces still remained, and it wasn’t long before I was shelling out the cash. Among the pieces I obtained was a CD 168 dump piece in white milk, a CD 124.3 with “A” on the F-Skirt, and a floor tube insulator that looked suspiciously like a Hemingray product (and which turned out to be one after checking the Hemingray catalog when I got home).

But by far the best piece of the show was a CD 125 Hemingray in purple! I had always wanted to get one ever since I started collecting Hemingray insulators, but they were always too expensive for me. The first one I saw in the 1990’s was $400, and the current value for these is $800-1000, well beyond the range I’m willing to pay for color pieces. Well, my jaw just about dropped when I saw the price on this one… $115! It had some fair damage to the base, but it was more than worth the price. Maggi gave it to my as an early birthday present, and that was that.

Dwayne also had the CD 1085 S.B.T.&T.CO. spool that Richard had been holding for me. Another piece that had been on my wanted list for quite some time was finally in my collection. Throughout the rest of the show, I picked up a few more embossing pieces as well.

After awhile we got ready to eat: salad, garlic bread, chili, shredded beef, and homemade ice cream. It was a great meal as always! We sat at the table with Bob McLaughlin, Bill Heitkotter, and Dwayne Anthony. We listened to some more of Bill’s great lineman stories.

After lunch came the raffle. I had purchased $5 of tickets, and put a couple in each cup next to the insulators up for raffle. Sure enough, we won! Maggi got a CD 121 McLaughlin dark green toll. We took a group photo and the show wrapped up around 2:15. We then headed back to Los Osos, ordered a pizza and watched some TV.

Sunday morning, we met my dad at church. Afterwards, we drove up to Cayucos to grab some breakfast burritos from “Chez Chevron”. The renovation was finally done, and the place sure looked nice! They reused the whole garage area to expand the café portion and move the kitchen into the back. We brought the burritos back to the trailer and ate them. Around 1:30, we said our goodbyes and headed back down south. We hit minimal traffic and got home around 6:30. We had a great time seeing my dad and driving to see everyone at the show! We’re looking forward to Dwayne Anthony’s new “Double-D” tailgater next month too!

Bill tries to pass off a cobalt EC&M to Bud and Maggi

Maggi holds her raffle win!

Christian, Maggi & Bud

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