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Posted 7-15-10

Now I wanna tell you a story about my most recent adventure at The Webster Car & Cycle Swap Meet. With work and other personal obligations I only get there about three times a year but I have a ball each time I go.

Every time I attend I always have the best spot in the lot - right under the only shade tree in the whole place and it ain’t luck that gets me that spot. I get it because I have the honor of being friends with the most well known character at the Meet - Charlie 3 Finger. If you’ve never met Charlie you’re missing out on a local treasure. The man is a wealth of information, a master story teller and an all around fine human being. The only bad thing is that he’s such good company the day goes by too fast!

Most of my trips to Webster are non-stop laugh riots. My creed is, “Seventies stuff at seventies prices!” See, I’m really there for the fun and if I make a little money well that’s cool too. But for the most part, I bring stuff with the intent to get rid of it not to cart it all back home. Hell, one time a guy was working so hard at beating down my price that I gave him the part. I figured if he was that strapped for cash then he needed the damn thing more than I needed the money. God bless him. I hope to hell it fit!

Last month in addition to my other stuff, I loaded up a laundry basket with a bunch of old “Bike Night” trophies and stuck a sign on them that said, “$2.00 EACH.” A group of guys walked by laughing and one said nobody would pay two dollars for a bike of the night trophy. I said, “Why not? Some people will spend $30,000 to get one. Two bucks is a bargain!” His buddy decided to buy two. By the end of the day I’d sold nineteen of the twenty I brought. The other one caught the eye of a little girl who was walking by so I gave it to her.

Then there’s the tale of the tank nobody wanted. I still can’t get over this one. I had this old Sportster King tank (the real steel one not the el cheapo thin sheet metal jobbie) and I could not get rid of the thing. I’d gotten it in trade with some other stuff from another vendor and for the life of me could not sell the bitch. I originally priced it at $50.oo and wound up taking it home. Next trip, $45.oo then marked it down to $40.oo and finally to $35.oo - still no action. Prior to this last trip I’m thinking maybe people don’t like the color, so I whip out a can of KRYLON and give it a quickie paint job which with all the humidity quickly flashed over and turned flat blue. I bumped the price back up to $45.oo (hey I got labor into this now!) and BAM!- gone in the first hour. I made a mental note that anything I didn’t sell that day would get a new coat of flat blue paint when I got home!

Anyway, by about noon most of my stuff is gone so I decide to take a walk around to check out what’s cooking with the other vendors. As I’m walking down one of the isles my attention is drawn towards an old stake side trailer at the end of the row. Unbeknownst to me at the time, I was about to stumble upon my version of the Holy Grail.

See for almost three years I’d been searching for a particular item. Each time I’d find one it was either in poor condition, a brand I didn’t want, missing parts, too long, too short, or just too damn expensive. So I peek into this trailer and there it is. I asked if it was a Paughco and the owner said yes. I asked if the polished PM brake worked and he nodded up and down. I measured the length and it was perfect. The final question - “How much? And let’s not screw around with the price ‘cuz I’m in the mood to buy not to play games.” He sized me up and tossed out a figure. At precisely that instant the sky exploded with a flash of color and a clap thunder. Damn, a sign! Actually  it was the 4th. of July and someone had lit off a skyrocket- but I interpreted it as a message from above that the search for THE ULTIMATE SPRINGER was over. After some much appreciated “divine intervention” in the form of a little loan from good ol’ Charlie 3 Finger, the pristine springer complete with top clamp, brake set up, axel, wheel and tire was safely tucked in the back of my truck for the trip home.

If you live in Florida and haven’t been there yet, you need to experience Webster for yourself. On the first Sunday of the month head up I-75 from Tampa to the Webster exit and follow the signs to The Webster Car & Cycle Swap Meet. It really is a killer time. In fact, maybe I'll see you there first Sunday in August - good Lord willn' and the river don't rise!




And that's all I have to say about that!