SOS 2019 Update

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Peter_Suciu
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SOS 2019 Update

Post by Peter_Suciu » Mon Nov 05, 2018 2:05 pm

I don't want to spread any rumors, misinformation or say anything I shouldn't. However, the future of SOS in Louisville is unclear at this moment. I'm rather upset as I have non-refundable hotel rooms.

At last week's OVMS Show in Wilmington, Ohio Bill Combs (business manager for OVMS) said there will be an SOS. We'll have to wait and see whether that will be in Louisville or elsewhere. We'll know more after Kentucky Venues, which runs the Kentucky Expo Center, holds their emergency meeting and then after they meet with OVMS. Let's hope for the best.

My feeling - and mine alone - is that even if SOS 2019 is in Louisville OVMS is going to be looking for a new home!

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Re: SOS 2019 Update

Post by KAGGR#1 » Mon Nov 05, 2018 2:50 pm

I sure hope they do not have to move .But I fear what might happen . Please keep us
informed to any latest news .The show dates are that far away now .
A couple of years ago I paid to become a life member , not so much a wise move at my
age , but it was something that I wanted to do . Louisville is a reasonable drive for me
but if it ends up a lot more distance , I am not sure that I can handle it
Steve McFarland

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Re: SOS 2019 Update

Post by J.LeBrasseur » Mon Nov 05, 2018 5:38 pm

it will be interesting, I like you Peter have money invested that I cannot get back such as Non refundable/ Non changeable flights for my Wife and son etc.

Will be an interesting week or so after their emergency meeting, I saw one of the board members of the Kentucky Expo center on CNN say he will make sure no Nazi stuff ever gets in the building again....

Hoping for the best

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Re: SOS 2019 Update

Post by SkipperJohn » Mon Nov 05, 2018 11:08 pm

I have never been to SOS, but I always enjoy seeing the write-ups and the photos you guys share.
What happened?
I can't see the bottom line problem from the posts above. What is causing the issue?

John :(

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Re: SOS 2019 Update

Post by J.LeBrasseur » Mon Nov 05, 2018 11:23 pm

in a Nutshell people protesting Third Reich items etc. There was a big Gun Show at the venue a week or so ago, and some dealers had some Nazi stuff and KKK on their tables, and somebody posted pictures on social media and it went from there.. Now famous athletes etc. protesting

check out this link


https://wfpl.org/after-racist-merchandi ... ter-rules/


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Re: SOS 2019 Update

Post by Peter_Suciu » Mon Nov 05, 2018 11:28 pm

J.LeBrasseur wrote:
Mon Nov 05, 2018 11:23 pm
in a Nutshell people protesting Third Reich items etc. There was a big Gun Show at the venue a week or so ago, and some dealers had some Nazi stuff and KKK on their tables, and somebody posted pictures on social media and it went from there.. Now famous athletes etc. protesting
It was a reporter from a local outlet who went to the show following the tragic shooting of an African-American couple by a racist nutjob. The reporter went to the gun show and spotted the KKK and Nazi items. Unfortunately the dealer didn't handle it well, and Ron Dixon - the show promoter - further dropped the ball.

Now the media has really picked up on it, and the future of any show where Nazi items is in doubt. That is it in a nutshell.

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Re: SOS 2019 Update

Post by stuka f » Tue Nov 06, 2018 1:36 am

Seems like there have been similar problems at the last Ciney show, over here ...can't remember where I read it....
Always looking for Belgian Congo stuff!
http://virtueel-museum-antwerpen.webnode.be/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: SOS 2019 Update

Post by Amybellars » Tue Nov 06, 2018 4:51 am

Oh no, I have non refundable flights, non refundable Hotel and car rentals. Let's pray together for the best. I bet the change will affect a lot of people esp we are just 3-4 months away.

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Re: SOS 2019 Update

Post by badener » Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:20 pm

Does anyone know what the economic impact of SOS is for Louisville? Ultimately money will make the decision for them.
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Re: SOS 2019 Update

Post by b.loree » Tue Nov 06, 2018 9:14 pm

Damn, I hope this doesn’t go sour. Surely, they can’t break the contract they have with OVMS on such short notice. What about the international dealers who will have also made plans, flights and bookings?
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Re: SOS 2019 Update

Post by Peter_Suciu » Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:23 pm

badener wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:20 pm
Does anyone know what the economic impact of SOS is for Louisville? Ultimately money will make the decision for them.
The economic impact of SOS for Louisville is minimal at best. The show maybe draws 3,000 people, which pales to most other shows. The hotels around the Kentucky Expo Center do sell out some years but that is because of the former car show, Ron Dickson's National Gun Day Show, the Home Show and other events.

I have been to a lot of trade shows, conferences, press junkets, sci-fi conventions, sporting events and other events that draw in huge crowds. I'm not saying OVMS and SOS have no impact, but chances are most bars, restaurants and hotels barely notice when SOS comes to town. When the Helicopter Trade Show was in Louisville that attracted 30,000 attendees plus the crews to set up the displays, bring in the equipment, drive the buses, handle the presentations. That was probably another 4,000+ people. That is something a city will notice.

But you are right, sadly money will make the difference because there is always the danger that some other show will back out or at least threaten to do so. I'm sorry this is so doomy and gloomy but that's a fact. The Nazi stuff is a HUGE deal and one that dealers have had their heads buried in the sand for WAY, WAY too long.

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Re: SOS 2019 Update

Post by Jeff Shrader » Mon Nov 12, 2018 2:08 am

Sorry guys - I hit most of the forums that I frequent, but dropped the kugel on this one. ;)

Louisville is still Plan A, specifically because so many people have non-refundable plane tickets, pre-paid hotel rooms, etc. We will do everything in our power (such as it is) to keep it as-is for 2019. However, if the KY Fair Board says "no German WWII", then we move. Period. Such a requirement would be like saying "sure, you can have your gun show, but you just can't have pistols or rifles." Similarly, we will not be moving to any location that prohibits post-1898 firearms. Digging through old SOS photos just this last week, I was struck by just how many dealers handle a LOT of post-1898 firearms. Unfortunately, finding a venue that can handle SOS and satisfy the club's many requirements is tough. There are in fact plenty of downtown facilities that can do it, but downtown urban metro facilities also are fraught with parking and load-in problems, local anti-gun problems, etc., etc. Also, given the time of year when the show is held, we need to be in the southern US to avoid potential blizzards. Frankly, Louisville is also subject to some pretty sporty weather in February / March; haven't had that lately, but I recall several years when members fell on ice, resulting in injuries.

Here's the good news. I have a contract proposal for a rather nice Plan B convention center sitting on my desk right now. Others on the board are investigating other options as well, so we will be able to make a decision quickly. IF the Kentucky Fair Board gives us the boot, there WILL be a 2019 SOS.

A couple of things to remember:
1) It was NOT our show where this all started. A reporter for the local paper apparently went to Ron Dickson's gun show with the intention of linking guns and political conservatives to the local tragedy in which two innocents were shot by a man who apparently made racist remarks; followed just a few days later by the horrible shooting at the Pittsburgh synagogue. He struck gold - a dealer who has been told repeatedly at other shows NOT to display his KKK items (he collects 1920's KKK material), had a robe hanging up at the gun show. So the reporter got a picture of that, and of a HJ sports shirt. The narrative was easy to spin up - gun shows are places where white supremacists, neo-nazis, and other radical hateful extremists shop for ammo, cammo, socks, and hoods. And beef jerkey.

So, it wasn't our show, and thus the Third Reich items were displayed without benefit of any context (i.e. our 'two guys' sign at the front explaining why 3rd Reich stuff is in the show.) To be fair, though, I doubt seriously that context would have mattered to this reporter. He had an agenda going in, and succeeded beyond any reasonable expectation. Had it been our show, I am sure the result would have been the same, with the only difference being that we would have a defense to articulate, and a willingness to do so.

2) Militaria collectors who don't collect 3rd Reich material have been interesting in their responses. A few have been downright gleeful; cheering the uncomfortable spot that the 3rd Reich collectors are in right now. Some of that is deserved; for years, some of the German WWII guys have looked down their noses at US WWII material; describing the SOS as a 'glorified flea market' because of the amount of non-WWII German material being sold there. Even at the last MAX Show, we fielded a complaint from a dealer who was dismayed that his tables were located among dealers who sold "American crap" - he wanted to be where "the good stuff" was. Others are concerned for the show, feel sorry for the German WWII guys, but are quite ready to throw them under the bus and move ahead with a show that includes no German WWII items.

What people overlook is the fact that the SOS works because of it's size and scale. It is worth coming from the other side of the globe because it is SO BIG there is stuff there for everyone, and just too much stuff to be shopped out after the first day.. or two.. or three. I have bought some of the best WWI US stuff I ever got from guys who deal mostly in German WWII, or Japanese swords, etc. Most dealers have a little bit of everything, so including all of them is what makes the world go round. We're all in this together.

OVMS is defending the right of collectors to buy and sell original militaria. That is the line in the sand. Because of the need to contextualize the items as souvenirs from a defeated foe, we are not going to defend the right to buy and sell replica stuff or modern apparel that features culturally sensitive symbols. I will have more to say about that in future messages.

For now, though, in case you have not seen it on other forums or on our facebook page, here is the letter that we sent to the KY Fair Board members. I anticipate that the meeting will simply be too late to make our case - wanted them to have our side of it while there is still time to at least pretend to consider an alternative viewpoint.

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Re: SOS 2019 Update

Post by Jeff Shrader » Mon Nov 12, 2018 2:10 am

I am writing on behalf of the board of directors of the Ohio Valley Military Society, of which I am a member. The OVMS is an organization of collectors that has hosted our annual ‘Show of Shows’ at the Kentucky Exposition Center for more than twenty years. When we learned that the Louisville Courier-Journal and other media outlets were attempting to link the sale of Third Reich items at Ron Dickson’s National Gun Day Show to the recent local and national tragedies, our board quickly realized this could have a profound impact on our event. Viewed through the media’s lens, it appeared that Mr. Dickson’s show was essentially a shopping opportunity for bigots and white supremacists. The outrage was immediate and intense, which would be absolutely appropriate if this characterization of collectors was true. However, it is not.

The Show-of-Shows is an annual gathering of collectors, historians, museum professionals, veterans, and scholars in a vast array of topics within the larger field of international military history. SOS is not a gun show, but some of the same people do attend both events. We typically have over 700 dealers with 1200 family and helpers set up at SOS. The vast majority of our 4500+ members attend the event. In addition, we welcome between 1700 to 2000 members of the general public. Participants are a diverse group from all walks of life, coming to Louisville from all 50 states and from more than 25 different countries. In addition to buying and selling artifacts, participants are able to connect with some of the leading scholars within their chosen fields, and interact with curators and other professionals from some of the nation’s premier museums. Perhaps of greater importance, they have the opportunity to meet and personally express their thanks and admiration to some of our particularly notable veterans. In recent years we have been honored to host a number of these real American heroes including several Medal of Honor recipients, Tuskegee Airmen, 1st Cavalry veterans of the 1965 Ia Drang valley battle, participants from the Doolittle Raid over Tokyo, pilots and aircrew of the atomic missions which ended WWII, survivors of the USS Indianapolis and Malmedy Massacre, and a number of veterans who parachuted into Normandy on D-Day. One of our members remarked rather eloquently in reference to the veterans on a Facebook post: “I go to the show to collect, but these guys are the reason why I collect.”

You will not find KKK items at our event; the Show-of-Shows is a military antiques show, where the items must specifically pertain to military history. The artifacts which are exhibited, bought and sold range from America’s colonial era to current conflicts. However, the vast majority of the collectibles offered at our show date from the first and second world wars. As diverse as our collectors’ interests are, it is the souvenirs that American soldiers brought home after the defeat of Germany in WWII that account for a sizable portion of the items offered at the show, and generally in the collecting hobby overall. The obsession with symbols, uniforms, and insignias is a particular hallmark of fascist regimes. The Third Reich produced a great volume of such material, which was as prevalent among the rubble of its ruins as it had been in newsreel footage before the war began. In recognition of their part in the defeat of this evil, American servicemen and women actively collected and traded souvenirs even before the end of the war. Afterwards, they brought a significant quantity of these items home with them. In a similar spirit of rewarding effort with a token of the (soon-to-be) defeated foe, the US War Department sent home a tremendous amount of captured German helmets in particular, which were given out to citizens on the home front in return for war bond purchases.

Our members who collect WWII German material (often as a part of collecting WWII material from ALL of the participants) are not bigots and racists. They are quite aware of the unspeakable crimes committed against all of humanity by the Nazi government and military. They are universally of the opinion that preserving and studying the artifacts of that regime is one of the ways we can ensure that this history is remembered, and hopefully never repeated.

At worst, they are ‘history nerds’, focused on their interest in the past, and perhaps a bit oblivious to the world changing around them. Many grew up in an era where you could acquire these items directly from the individuals who brought them home, or when an ad in the local paper could yield more artifacts than they could ever hope to buy. They were used to going to gun shows, antique shows, flea markets, and garage sales, where such things were bought and sold openly without a concern for misunderstanding, since it was well-known by all present that they represented victory over the enemy, and nothing more.

Times change, though. We are now mourning the loss of many of our aging WWII veterans. We are also entering an era when younger people, now separated by several generations from these same WWII veterans, are unfamiliar with this hobby and with history in general. It is no surprise that they would be suspicious, alarmed and offended should they encounter WWII German items being sold and traded. This is especially true for those not personally familiar with any collectors, and thus unfamiliar with the motives of people who pursue such things. This is a fact that is sometimes lost on our ‘history nerds.’ They are often thoroughly focused on the historical past as it pertains to their specific area of interest, studying and memorizing minutiae that would make anyone else’s eyes glaze over, and chasing after the next artifact. When painted as racists, bigots, Nazis, etc., these folks are often absolutely stunned, confused, and hurt. They know who they are, and why they collect, and are sometimes guilty of assuming that those outside the hobby should understand this as well.

As an organization, the OVMS has recognized this and worked to institute rules and practices that help to prevent misunderstandings from happening. One of the most important things that we do is to properly contextualize WWII German material as souvenirs of a defeated foe, through signage at the entrance to our shows, and information included in our event programs. I have included a copy of our current complete rules and regulations pertaining to this issue. Our board is always open to suggestions of further measures that we might consider to ensure such material is presented in the proper context. It is very important to us to ensure the continued protection of our members, our show, and the venues who lease to us.

One suggestion that we sometimes hear is that collecting certain material (in this case German WWII items) should be considered socially unacceptable out of respect to the millions of innocent victims of that evil regime; “Those items should either be in museums where they can be put to proper use, or destroyed – but not held in private collections.”

For all of the good intentions of those making such statements, what they overlook is that, knowingly or otherwise, private collectors such as those who attend our shows are critical components at the very foundational level of the museum system. They serve essentially as ‘volunteer curators’, dedicating their own time and resources to the study, acquisition and preservation of the artifacts which interest them personally. As any reasonably well-informed museum professional will tell you, there are far more historic artifacts in need of preservation which exist outside of museums than all of the professional institutions combined could ever hope to collect and curate. This is especially true today when most museums have limited resources and funding. When items leave the care of the original owners or their descendants, very often the only safety net preventing their complete loss is the presence of a commercial value for the material, driven almost exclusively by the activities and interests of private collectors. This safety net is particularly important for items and collecting fields that may be temporarily overlooked or even disparaged and shunned as socially uncomfortable by professional institutions.

The recent centennial of the First World War is an excellent case in point for the former. The long-anticipated anniversary failed to cause much change in the market among collectors, as their interest was already well-established and had been for many decades. Where we did see considerable activity, however, was among the numerous state, local, and even several national museums who suddenly became aware that their collections were insufficient to support the centenary exhibits they wished to offer. In need of artifacts to illustrate the history of the Great War, they turned to the collecting community, where they were able to borrow or purchase the items required. As a seller who has enjoyed several large museum collection deaccession contracts, I found it illustrative to note that at least one institution was actively seeking and paying a premium for some of the very same artifacts that a previous administration had deemed ‘surplus’ and sold in years past. It was the collector market that kept the items out of the rubbish bin when they were unwanted by this particular museum, and provided them back again once the institution realized that they were needed.

I cannot speak for other fields, but for historic arms and military antiques, the vast majority of research and scholarship originates either within or as a direct result of the collecting community. The collectors serve both as authors and primary audience for scholarly work within their chosen fields, resulting in a level of knowledge and understanding on many topics that would otherwise be lost to time.
WWII German material may be the largest segment of the militaria collecting community, but it is by no means the only one. Our members collect Revolutionary War swords, Spanish items from 1898, WWI photographs, Russian posters, and everything else you might imagine. So why not just exclude WWII German items from our show? Because all of these diverse interests work together in a symbiotic fashion to create an event in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The guy collecting WWI French headgear is more likely to find a great deal on the orphan cap residing on the table of someone who deals primarily in WWII German helmets, and vice-versa.

Our ‘history nerds’ may range from polished, accomplished authors and professionals to socially-awkward bumpkins, but they are not bigots and racists. They love history. They venerate the special veteran guests who helped to save the world from the Nazis nearly 75 years ago. They love collecting and preserving historic artifacts. AND, they love Louisville. When word of this controversy over Mr. Dickson’s gun show spread, the overwhelming response from our members was “I sure hope we don’t have to move away from Louisville.” Whether it is the Cardinal restaurant, Nord’s bakery, or their favorite hotel, for over 20 years they have become quite attached to the city and to the Kentucky Exposition Center.

The OVMS recognizes how easy it would be for people unfamiliar with WWII collectors to raise an eyebrow (or worse) when suddenly confronted by their activities, and we realize that the public pressure brought to bear on your organization has been significant, which will require a response. It is our sincere hope that we can work together to develop a response that will properly address public concerns, while allowing our show to continue with the appropriately contextualized exhibit of original period artifacts. We have shared our guidelines with other military collectible shows around the country for the purpose of helping them to prevent this very sort of situation. We would be glad to offer our resources to Mr. Dickson as well, so that he might better safeguard against these and other issues at his shows.

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