VAC History 1993 to NowDamon Beals

“The idea of the Vintage club, is an idea whose time had come.”
“Even people who have new trailers see the advantages to WBCCI and have been generous with support.”
“No one knows how many potential members we have. Larry Huttle has given me the names of 5000 people, both in and out of the WBCCI who are supposed to own vintage Airstreams.”
   Quotes from Bud and Bettye Cooper -1993

1992:
Bud Cooper presented the idea for The Vintage Airstream club at the 1992 WBCCI International in Dayton, Ohio. The name The Vintage Club was suggested by Norm Hewer, Region 4 President

1993-1994: 205 Members
The first VAC Newsletter was published March 23, 1993. In July the VAC Constitution and By-Laws were approved by IBT.  The VAC became official with 115 members.  Bud Cooper was the first VAC President.  The first International meeting and Concours ‘d Elegance of the VAC happened at the 1993 Bismarck, ND International.  All 32 trailers participated in the open house and entered the Concours with visitors estimates from 500 to 1300.  A 1937 trailer owned by Betty and Eugen Danaher was the hit of the show.  On the evening of July 1, a severe hail storm damaged virtually every trailer at the International rally with estimates of total damage about $8,000,000. 

On March 30,1994 there were 205 Vintage club members. The VAC newsletter masthead “The Vintage Advantage” first appeared on the April newsletter, the idea of Duane C Hedahl, Editor.  At the Brandon Manitoba Canada International , twenty-two trailers parked in the VAC compound. Between 200-300 attendees watched “Dr. Shine” Bud Cooper do a polishing demonstration and Bettye Cooper organized VAC members to show a number of vintage fashions in the Fashion Show. The concours awards included “Worst Battle Scar.” Concours Rules for Brandon International were simplified including no distinction made between Restored and Preserved and no person may win the same award in two successive years.

1994 – 1995: 205 Members
President Stanley Baston’s goal for the club was to continue in Bud’s path while trying to reduce the amount of work the President must do by developing traditions, routines, and guidelines so future Presidents’ jobs will be easier.  ” Since only 10% of VAC members attend the International, Stanley encouraged Vintage rallies at Region rallies allowing many members to share in the activities and events of our club.  During the Amherst, MA International the VAC received approximately 20 new members bringing the total members to 360!  “The spectrum of trailers was the broadest, the restorations the most awesome, and the people the most enthusiastic.”  VAC members could rent videos from the VAC Library by paying $3.00, be able to keep the videos for 10 days and be responsible for return postage. Videos included Polishing, Removing Floor Tile, 1993 Bismarck Rally, Bowlus Trailer and “Home On Wheels In America.”

1995 – 1996: 360 Members
At the winter IBT meeting, President Bob Brubaker heard Larry Huttle speak about the next generation trailers which would lighten the weight by one-third and lower the price.  Bob comment, “I can’t help but think that with the expanded sale of “square streams” and reduced production of “silver bullets” that our Vintage trailers will become more and more “classic” and desirable in the years to come.”  The Wagon Wheel Ways Caravan planned for Vintage trailers owners going to Rapid City International was promised to provide a taste of what things might have been like when Wally Byam first started leading caravans.  The caravan was advertised as eight nights of camping, six evening meals for two with cost per trailer $151.00.  Forty two trailers caravanned into the Rapid City International site and forty-seven vintage trailers were parked together –both records for the VAC at International.  The VAC decal featuring the M. Letourneur, a famous French bicycle racer, was sent to all members.

Original VAC Logo

1996 – 1997: 750 Members
President Dick Mumma guided proposed changes to the VAC Constitution and By-Laws, bringing the documents in line with those of the International Club.  Based on the welcome and interest shown by Huntsville residents at the Huntsville, AL International, the VAC scheduled a second open house on the weekend for the locals and they were lined up before trailer doors were opened.  On April 1, 1997, the VAC’s membership reached 659 (432 members, 36 Associates and 191 Friends), an increase of 65% in one year. This quote appeared in the Vintage Advantage, “Throughout the Vintage Club’s short history, the enthusiasm and energy of its leaders have contributed tremendously to it growth.” VAC through Tom Howarth and Pat Ewing found and establish the Vintage Airstream Club email List (VACList) The VAC Internet Homepage changed hands from Dan Burkhart, who originally put the site on-line and maintained it for nine months. Duane Hedahl became the new operator.

1997 – 1998: 750 Members
Clyde Wagner, VAC President stated in his initial message that as president he was given the opportunity to offer some repayment for all the fun, good times and fellowship enjoyed as a Vintage Club member.  The VAC membership at the time was over 750 members and friends. Tom Howarth, Vintage Advantage Editor, changed the issue dates to Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter.  In addition to traveling over 7500 miles towing a 1953, 21’ Flying Cloud with his wife, three young children and a cat, attending the International in Huntsville, Tom produced a 28 page Vintage Advantage Fall issue.  The VAC flag featuring the bicycle pulling the Airstream became official at the VAC business meeting and approved by the IBT. sure Preston Pearson planned the 1998 VAC Wagon Wheel Caravan to Boise, ID International described as a celebration of self-sufficiency of our vintage trailers in the manner that Wally Byam designed them to be used. Fifty-one vintage trailers including 23 from the Wagon Wheel caravan parked together at the Boise International.

1998 – 1999: 1150 Members
VAC President Forrest Bone moved the club forward with his goals: greater VAC presence at Florida State Rally, Community Service project at International, development of rallies or caravans by geographic regions, developing standards for Concours d’ Elegance, development of favorite places caravans, and development of program to move Friends subscribers to full WBCCI status.  VAC events listed in the Vintage Advantage included VAC rallies in New York, Oklahoma, Florida, Texas and California.  Eighty-four vintage club trailers attended International in Dayton, Ohio and forty-five participated in the concours.  Participants were described as dedicated VAC members making their trailers even better than new.  In April 1998, Canadian Evan McDonell, established the VAC airstream.net web site and was its developer and administer.  By late 1990’s Virtual vintage-Airstreaming was well established by VAC E-mail list and vintage airstream related web sites.

1999 – 2000: 1222 Members
Tom Reed, VAC President encouraged more participation from all VAC members and wanted the VAC to become a club that is known for having events held across the U.S. that bring people together to share their common interest in the beauty of the Vintage Airstream and maybe re-live the past the way “Wally” and his Caravans did.  Toward the end of  Tom’s term he noted that the interest and acceptance of Vintage coaches has changed and VAC members are now being requested to attend rallies and host events like an open house. Twenty-five trailers joined the VAC Wagon Wheel Caravan headed to International and visited historical landmarks along the Lewis and Clark Trail.  Forty-eight trailers parked with Vintage and most entered the Concours at Bismarck, North Dakota. Fred Coldwell was appointed as VAC Archive Historian.  In the fall of 1999, Bryan Burkhart become the Vintage Advantage editor and switched to a magazine format. During that time the VAC also bought airstream.net and airstream.org domain names from Ewan McDonell.

2000 – 2001: 1278 Members
Don Perry encouraged VAC members to be more visible and active in the WBCCI regions and broaden activities to include younger members.  He stressed the importance of a concerted VAC effort since we are all WBCCI members first.  The VAC voted to support social activities at Region, National Hobo, Florida State and International with money, but the VAC representative was required to publish a recap of events in Vintage Advantage.  The Fifth Wagon Wheel Caravan to International in Sioux Falls was cancelled, but a few units followed the planned route.  RJ Dial replaced Kevin Allen as the web-master.  In January 2000 ,VAC members founded the Washington DC unit (WDCU) of the WBCCI, the first new local chapter established in 20 years.  The new unit’s primary focus was vintage trailers.

2001 – 2002: 1604 Members
President Noland Vogt encouraged VAC  “Friends” who own a Vintage Airstream and do not belong to the WBCCI to join up and enjoy the fun and share the enthusiasm for Airstreams.  Noland presented a question related to the “the 25 year rule” and found out that if the club ain’t broken, don’t fix it.  In other words, the founders of the Vintage club did a great job.  Scott Sheuermann and Kevin Allen led thirteen trailers on the 2002 VAC Wagon Wheel Caravan to Rapid City.  About 30 trailers parked with the VAC in Rapid City and everyone graciously tolerated days of 109 degrees and occasional whiff of forest fire smoke.  Linda Moore, treasurer and membership chair, reported that Trailer Life magazine featuring the Vintage Spring Rally at Bass Lake in California (San Bernardino California Unit of the WBCCI) resulted in new members who had no idea there was a club just for them.

2002 – 2003: 1157 Members
Rick Davis encouraged participation at local, unit and regional activities to get the most benefit from WBCCI and VAC membership.  Membership dues of $20 were approved at the 2002 International since expenses had exceeded income for the three years.  Rick said the professional quality VAC magazine and fantastic web site were worth the cost.  The VAC Board created a set of rally guidelines, approved by the WBCCI, to assure proper insurance coverage for Vintage events.  The vintage trailers at Burlington, Vermont International were described as examples that even the factory will admire and perhaps, some day copy.  Over 250 visitors were estimated at the open house. The Wagon Wheel caravan starting in Rhode Island and covering the east coast was filled to capacity before being publicized.

2003 – 2004: 672 Members
Tom Howarth became president as the VAC entered its second decade. Ten years produced a newsletter in magazine format; top web site for Airstreams, manuals and promotional materials; and topnotch rallies, rendezvous and gatherings across the country.  Tom said, “Keeping the Shine has kept many VAC’ers busy, but now many are looking for new ways to enjoy the rigs and extend their travels.”  Tom promoted “boondocking” and promised articles about battery power, water storage and holding tanks.  Tom also commented about a push for more independent activities outside the WBCCI, but stressed that the VAC represents the original ideals and goals of the Wally Byam and he encouraged the Board to focus on the Byam Creed.  Forty-five trailers paraded, sixty-seven vintage rigs parked at International in Lansing and the first ever Best of Show was awarded to a 1970’s decade Airstream.  The gathering was described as more informal with determination of events decided at social hours; business meetings and award ceremony were held in the VAC parking area.

2004 – 2005: 739 Members
Bob Herman’s primary goal was to continue to increase membership activities and get more younger members and families actively involved.  He promoted Vintage 3 Day, Friday through Sunday Rallies, so working members could attend and enjoy the unique club.  Bob complimented the website and magazine for creating great interest in the VAC.  Bob and Bonnie organized the Wagon Wheel Vintage trailer caravan to International in Springfield –16 days starting in St Louis, much of the traveling on Route 66.  Four VAC seminars were presented in Springfield and all WBCCI members were invited.  In 2003 a new Webmaster was named and the VAC purchased the web address www.vintageairstreamclub.org with one of the goals to provide on-line membership and credit card payment.

2005 – 2006: 743 Members
In his annual report, Wayne Moore credited the VAC for establishing itself as a vital component of a number of WBCCI units, contributing to membership growth and advertising.  After three years, Wayne reported that a win-win agreement was finally reached with Airstream/THOR to co-approve a new VAC Logo design and a Merchandising Partner, able to produce items that could be sold at any club function and Internet sales for the future were discussed.  Also an agreement was reached with Airstream Life Magazine to offer a discount subscription to Intra-club members only.  Forrest McClure became the Vintage Advantage Editor in July replacing Bryan Burkhart, editor for seven years.  Wayne Moore reminded members that the Intra-club runs almost entirely on volunteers, and support is needed to work toward a better Vintage Club.  A conflict between the VAC and WBCCI peaked and resulted in his resignation, but it was never accepted by Ed Emerick, and Wayne rescinded his registration in September.

New/Current VAC LogoNew/Current VAC Logo

2006 – 2007: 643 Members
In his first message as President, Ed Emerick stated that the current Airstream Inc’s marketing line of  ‘See More, Do More, Live More’ truly expresses the Vintage Airstream club’s outlook.  In March 2007 Ed Emerick reminded the VAC membership that the true function of the VAC is to provide a resource to allow its members to have fun and offer events that highlight the Airstream product.  These were concluding thoughts followed by reflections on the WBCCI name change, the motor home issue and future of the VAC, reminding all not to let political aspects exhaust the membership.  Wildflowers in bloom greeted the sixty vintage Airstreams and Argosy trailers that paraded and parked at the International in Perry, Georgia.  All was great except for the gnats and ants.  Herb Spies, Concours d’ Elegance Steward, expanded the judging team to get more VAC’ers involved.  Kimber Moore became the Vintage Advantage editor.

2007 – 2008: 750 Members
Congratulations, Shari Davis, the 15th and first female president of the VAC.  Shari started her term when the VAC was the largest Intra-club and the WBCCI was struggling with its identity.  She shared her love for vintage focused rallies, but encouraged VAC members to integrate into every rally and local gathering, and use these rallies to keep friendships and camaraderie growing.  Eighty-three trailers and motor homes participated in the Vintage Parade at the International in Bozeman, Montana –the line up was over a mile long.  The VAC Intra-Club Merchandise was introduced sporting the new logo.  Shari was instrumental in drafting job descriptions for VAC officers, Committee Chairs, and Region Representatives.  The Bylaws with approved job descriptions was adopted on June 29, 2009.  Shari’s leadership and term should be recognized for initiating the healing and more positive relations with the VAC and the WBCCI.

2008 – 2009: 680 Members
Herb Spies goals were to improve relationships with all other Airstreamers, improve the Website and promote having fun with our vintage treasures.  Forrest McClure, Librarian reported that eventually all items will be downloadable from the VAC website.  Fred Coldwell, Historian stayed in touch with Dale Schwamborn to learn more about Airstream history with the goal to document, record and publicized the early history of Airstream and the WBCCI.  Close to 70 trailers paraded through the countryside into downtown Madison and to vintage parking at the International.  The VAC recognized the passing of Bud Cooper, founder of the VAC club by signing cards and collecting donations for his Church.  A quote from an article written for the Vintage Advantage by Daisy Welch, “Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver, but the other is very highly polished.”

2009 – 2010: 560 Members
Scott Scheuermann’s goal was to improve club communications since the club is International and most members never meet face to face.  He encouraged members to submit articles to the VA editor and asked region reps to reach out to new members.  Fifty-four trailers parked in the Vintage area in Gillette, Wyoming, and the only challenge was getting a second tent when the first was destroyed in a storm.  Membership procedures moved forward with the implementation of Paypal to join the VAC.  The VAC library included 4 GB’s of scanned materials on the website server featuring sales bro-chures, owner’s manuals, appliance instructions, videos and vintage caravan movies.

2010 – 2011: 485 Members
Dallas Peak encouraged members to help move the club into the future and follow the Constitution’s objectives: provide a forum for display, judging and enjoyment of vintage airstreams, provide a means for members to help each other, assist members in modifications, provide a buy/sell market-place and promote fellowship and enjoyment.  Dallas promoted the use of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube as networking tools. Thirty-five trailers parked with Vintage in Duquoin, IL but many of the 75 VAC’ers enjoyed the VAC gatherings and over 350 WBCCI members attended seminars presented by VAC members.  In his final remarks to the membership, Dallas reflected on past turbulent relations with the WBCCI, but reported improved and mutually supportive directions for the WBCCI and VAC.  The VAC Facebook group was created by Pam Peak in July of 2010.

2011 – 2012: 469 Members
An on-line survey was used by Jim Cooper to guide his goals and results showed members wanted three issues of VA per year; maintained and improved VAC website; a monthly newsletter published on line; VAC involvement in unit rallies; and continued technical, travel and historical information sharing.  The VAC Newsletter was started to compliment the Vintage Advantage magazine with timely information related to VAC goals, events, club business and technical tips.  Jim succeeded in getting the Constitution and Bylaws changes approved at Sedalia, MO allowing the club to better operate in the future by allowing online meetings of the Board and membership.  Jim volunteered to chair the 12X14 Committee after his term as president with the goal to have a VAC rally in all twelve regions by 2014.  A rendezvous organized by Chris Hildebrand prior to International included gathering in Columbia and stopping for a historical home tour and brunch hosted by Region 12 in California, Missouri.  At International in Sedalia, Missouri approximately 45 VAC trailers were in attendance and the local newspaper featured three articles about The Vintage Airstream Club.

2012 – 2013: 487 Members
Chris Hildenbrand focused his year as President planning celebrations for the 50th Anniversary of the Around the World Caravan and the 20th Anniversary of the VAC club for International in Huron, South Dakota.  Chris also brought back a VAC tradition, planning a Wagon Wheel Caravan from the Black Hills to International.  A new VAC membership database was implemented to improve membership accuracy and communications.  Even though the VAC Board offered seed money to help VAC members get new rallies implemented, the expressed interest has been very low and the goal for a rally in each region in 2014 will probably not be met.  The VAC contributed the Wounded Warrior Program in honor of Dr. Norman Holman Jr., owner of the 1935 Torpedo.

Ten trailers participated in the Wagon Wheel Caravan from Hot Springs to DeSmet, SD. Nineteen trailers circled the wagons on the Prairie at the Ingalls Homestead in DeSmet. Twenty-eight VAC trailers with flags flying and Rat Pack music playing were escorted by City of Huron Police from the tall Pheasant to the State Fair Grounds.  Thirty-one trailers parked in the Vintage section at International and Celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the Vintage Airstream Club with posters displaying the VAC history; evening videos of rallies from 1984, 1997 and 2000; eighty members enjoyed a VAC dinner with birthday cake and ice cream, plus Happy Hour gatherings every day.
Joe Peplinski, VAC Historian, presented two very detailed seminars on the Around the World Caravan including stories about the trailer owners.

2013 – 2014: 569 Members
Tim Kendziorski started his VAC leadership with a very successful VAC Rendezvous before International in Huron. Vintage Airstreams circled “Wally” style at the Ingalls Homestead in De Smet ,SD and paraded with police escort into the fairgrounds at Huron. Tim’s goals included fully integrating the membership data- base into the VAC’s website and expanding the VAC activities at International.  During VAC business meetings, the club voted to provide the WBCCI Historian $500 to support efforts to archive materials. Shirley Bolinger replaced Pam Peak as treasurer, Pam held the position since 2009.  Tim also introduced the idea that the VAC Rendezvous should be a rally, business meeting if necessary and members can attend even if not attending International.  In addition, Tim has always been a driving force for the WBCCI and VAC, volunteering countless hours related to technology development and support..

2014 – 2015: 486 Members
Kimber Moore was the second female to serve as President of the Vintage Airstream Club.  Kimber encouraged members to wear those Big Red Numbers with pride, consider attending the VAC Rendezvous even if you cannot attend International, and offered help organizing a VAC Region rally.  She suggested touring historical places, visiting National Parks, crafting, antiquing, or a rally around dining and foodie finds.  Kimber planned the Wagon Wheel Caravan, Jackrabbit Tour, from Moab, UT to Durango, CO prior to 2015 International.  She also organized the Rendezvous in Buffalo Wyoming for 2014 International.  One of the most talked about seminars at International was Kimber’s food and wine pairing.  Kimber used her graphic design skills to create VAC membership postcards and recruitment fliers.  The VAC Rendezvous was at Vallicito Resort, outside of Durango, CO, 42 trailers attended.

2015 – 2016: 478 Members
Iain Cameron hosted the 2016 VAC in Lewisburg, West Virginia, on the east coast for the first time in many years.  Over 60 Airstreams parked in the vintage section and following tradition paraded into the rally site.  As VAC 1st VP, Iain’s Rendezvous in Durango, CO for the 2015 International included 42 trailers form across the country. During his term the VAC website was improved and kept up to date.  Iain encouraged members to be spontaneous, plan an informal rally, and watch it grow to include local tours, music, and evening entertainment. The newsletter, published by Reg Bittner, featured a series of historical articles on the Beatrice years of Airstream by Joe Peplinski, VAC historian.  Teresa Taylor was recognized by Iain for recruiting new members and managing the membership process. Iain also encouraged members to volunteer, stressing that much has been done to support their efforts and make it flexible and enjoyable.  Region 8 and Region 12 both held Vintage Rallys.  The current version of the website was put into service at vintageairstreamclub.com.  At Lewisburg, VA the board voted to change the membership calendar year to match the WBCCI and go to calenader year so members can remember to renew both WBCCI and VAC at the same time.  At Lewisburg, 22 new members joined, 60 rigs where parked in Vintage area, and 110 VAC members attend our BBQ and potluck dinner.

2016 – 2017: 489 Members
Steve Laxton’s goal as VAC President was to improve the Club and make being a member of the VAC a happy experience.  Steve planned the prerally for the 2016 International and hosted the VAC Rally in Escanaba, Michigan during the 2017 WBCCI International.  Traditional VAC activities at International were featured – parade, community open house, happy hours, movies after dark, morning coffee at the pavilion, Concours D’Elegance, VAC Birthday cake, and annual business meetings. Steve recognized past presidents with coffee mugs and gave members in attendance Vintage Airstream posters.  Sixty vintage Airstreams attended the Escanaba, MI International Rally.   The VAC parade was lead through town by city fire trucks and several vintage cars.  At the head of the parade was WBCCI president and VAC members Richard & Jan Girard with their vintage trailer followed by over 30 additional vintage trailers.

2017 – 2018: 479 Members
Victor Blood was the 25th president of the VAC.  He organized the 2017 VAC Rendezvous in Iron Mountain, MI with 30 trailers in attendance and a significant donation was made to the local Kiwanis Club for a catered dinner.  Victors stated “It is very important for the health of the club to re-establish regular communication to members, particularly through our newsletter. We have not had a newsletter emailed for a year, and Lee & Joyce Cantrell have graciously volunteered to take over those duties.”   The website was migrated from a members private server to one co-located with the WBCCI.  Larry Scovotto took over webmaster duties.  2018 saw the first VAC sponsored WBCCI Caravan in 20 years.  The Club caravan began in Baker City, Oregon, and ended at the VAC Rendezvous at the Powerland Museum in Brooks, Oregon. Leader Paul Drag, and co-leaders Dal Smilie and Shirley Bollinger, planned the caravan the way Wally Byam would have done it. The Caravan was done in two segments: Baker City to Bend (June 13 -17 and Bend to Salem (June 18 -22). Baker City is Airstream founder Wally Byam’s birthplace. Highlights in the surrounding area included visiting Wally’s Exhibit at the Baker Heritage Museum, National Historic Oregon Trail Museum, Sumpter Valley Gold Dredge and a wine and cheese party at a local art gallery. Bend, Oregon  Justin and Ana Scribner and staff, nationally recognized trailer restorers, provided an Open House & Bend Classic Tow Show at Flyte Camp. Fred Coldwell, gave two informational presentations in the evening on the famous Oregon Pendleton blankets.  Salem featured the largest group of historic vintage Airstreams on dispaly in many years, fifty rigs where in the VAC parade.

2018 – 2019: 427 Members
Dave Morrison wrapped up his VAC leadership role at the 2019 International in Doswell, Virginia. Sixty trailers parked in the vintage area and lots of engaging activities were held at the VAC tent. The tent served as a home base for yoga and morning coffee, awards ceremony for Concours D’Elegance, merchandise store and Happy Hours. A concerted effort was made to support the annual drive for donations to help a local charity.  At the annual VAC business meeting, changes in key positions were discussed and a request was made for fresh volunteers.  During the 2018-2019 year, the Winter and Spring Digital Membership Directory was sent all members.  Lee and Joyce Cantrell, newsletter editors, published six issues of the Vintage Airstream TODAY.  The Vintage Rendezvous “Flamingo A Go-Go” in the days leading up to Doswell International Rally was at Cozy Acres Family Campground  in Powhatan, VA.  Ten rigs were there, and had a great time.  Fifteen rigs participated in the VAC Parade. Fifty or so Airstreams participated in Open House. Twenty trailers participated in the Concourse de Elegance.  With temps in the 100’s members got creative on how to keep cool.

2019 – 2020: 486 Members
Rachel Payne was the third woman to be the VAC President. As Rachel led the VAC team toward finalizing the plans for the 2020 WBAC International in Loveland, Colorado, the world faced a virus pandemic (Covid-19). Once the International was cancelled, the VAC also cancelled all related events including the VAC Rendezvous. Throughout the year, Rachel held meetings via phone connections and then quickly transitioned to Zooming. The opportunity for Zooming led to the first Virtual Rally on June 20, 2020, featuring over 20 videos of vintage trailers shared by VAC members. The Virtual Rally was organized and hosted by Damon Beals and Ed Valentine. In response to all Airstream rallies being cancelled, the VAC accepted a “Pay It Forward” proposal from the Membership Chair, to give all 486 members a year extension on their memberships. The overall goal was to reach out to the membership and quarantee the membership would stay Strong into 2021.

The Virtual Open House was well attended and was a great way for members to re-connected and share their hard work.  Check out the VAC YouTube page to view the virtual tours.