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Club of the month is a way for the association to show clubs and members that we appreciate your support. Club of the month recognizes clubs that go beyond what it takes to be a 4x4 club. These clubs not only support CA4WDC, but their community as well. I hope you will agree Scouts West is one of those clubs. I know there are many more great clubs out there! If you know of one of these clubs, then write an article and send it to the In Gear. Let’s give these clubs the recognition they deserve.
When I first decided to write this article it was to be about the Scouts West International Harvester Western Regionals. But getting to better know some of the members and meeting the ones we didn’t know gave me a different perspective of the members and club as a whole. If you enjoy four-wheeling with a group of fun people, then look no farther than Scouts West. Whether you own a Scout or are a closet aficionado of International Harvester products then you will find you have a lot of friends in Scouts West.
On the 21st of April, Val and I attended the International Harvester Western Regionals. This event was held at Calico, CA near the town of Barstow. There were 66 registered Scout owners from as far away as Fresno. With some of the vehicles, the only way you could tell it was a Scout was to look for the remains of a logo. But then again they could have stolen a logo from a real Scout. After all, doesn’t International also make farm tractors?
Val and I set up a Cal4 wheel table next to registration, where Chuck and Ruthie were hard at work… well Chuck was. Most all the vehicles were out on the trails in and around Calico. It was interesting listening to all the radio cummunications with Chuck and the trail leaders. Sounded like a lot of broken stuff out on the runs. If I remember correctly, there were two broken axles, a broken pinion gear, and some damage to body panels and to the rock formations in the canyon. The last run to leave was the easy run with about 15 vehicles and one Jeep bringing up the rear; one could only surmise the Jeep was to pick up all the broken Scout parts and to help keep the trails clean.
It was around 1:00 pm and we started to get some light wind gusts, which were very welcome, as it was 103 in the shade. One of the stronger gusts blew some of the paper work off the table and I noticed it was heading straight for Ruthie. I sprang into action, grabbing for the paper to keep Ruthie from suffering a severe laceration from the rogue piece of paper. In doing so, I got my right index finger snagged on a Cat Claw bush. I immediately started to bleed and within a minute or so I had a drop on my finger the size of a pinhead. Ruthie noticed that I was severely injured and asked “do you need a Band-Aid?” I said, “Yes, one with a smiley face.” She then threw a disinfecting kitchen wipe at me and said, “Quit whining and suck it up” All I could do was tie the wipe around my finger so it could act as tourniquet. I thought great, I now have a defect on my otherwise pristine body.
Later in the day all the runs had returned, that is all but David’s run. Everyone was looking for David and all thought he was lost somewhere up in one of the canyons; we were unable to establish radio contact. Someone said they had seen him heading up the wrong canyon but couldn’t get him on the radio. David says he wasn’t lost. He knew where he was, even if he was lost and he’s not admitting that he was lost; he knew he was in his Scout so therefore he couldn’t have been lost.
After David was back in camp, Matt Woodfin (Mr. Meaty)… (I believe this nickname was bestowed on Matt because of his expertise with the BBQ grill), started assembling the crew for their respective jobs to prepare and serve the dinner. Matt had about 60 lbs. of tri-tip on the BBQ. While that was being cooked to perfection others were cutting large loafs of French bread in half and then cutting the halves in half. Once this was done it was all laid on the BBQ and toasted until it was golden brown. As it came off the grill, we then soaked it in a secret mixture of melted butter, garlic, and other herbs. It was then cut into serving size pieces. As the tri-tip came off the fire, another crew was cutting it into portions to be served. It was now time to ring the dinner bell. We had six tables lined up with food and servers ready to dish it up.
There was enough food to serve twice the number of persons in attendance. Although all the food was not eaten we did make a huge dent. The leftover food was covered and put out of the way but people still grabbed a piece of bread or tri-tip whenever they went by. All of the food was great and I don’t think anyone could have done a more professional job. Great Job Matt and crew, looking forward to next year!
Once dinner was cleaned up it was time for the raffle. There were a few announcements before the raffle, with the most important being the awarding of life memberships to several members with 20 years or longer: John Vogelsang (Big John), Vic Casserly, Bill Bennett, Kent Grasso, and Paul Treichel. Paul joined when he was 17 years old. I bet that Scout was a real chick magnet in high school.
The Scouts put on a good raffle with around 60 prizes. I won a nice heavy-duty canvas bag with a Scout repair kit (tape and baling wire) and other stuff that I will be using shortly on my Jeep (I can’t believe that I wrote that). I will carry the tape and wire in my Jeep just in case some of my Scout friends need to be patched up. When the Scouts do a raffle, they raffle off everything that isn’t tied down. This year, they raffled off the lighting that was being used. These lights were made from a 10-foot piece of conduit that was attached to old Scout rims; I think someone wanted to clean out behind their garage.
Each year the Scouts donate the proceeds from the Western Regionals to a charity and this year was no different. This year’s event raised $4,700 and change. But the Scouts have another quirk; they don’t like uneven numbers. So by the end of the evening it was a $5000 donation for the Wounded Warriors.
While attending their meeting, we learned of another act of charity performed by the Scouts. One thing I have noticed is the members of Scouts West are different. I mean this in a good way. I think Scouts West Main Chapter President Tim Potter summed it up best:
When one looks closely at just about any group, he will usually discover that over the years certain traditions have become part of the fabric of the group. Generally speaking, these traditions allow one to discern much about the group itself and, the individuals who are part of it. You see, these are the things that help to define the group and, give it its real purpose for existence. These traditions are how the curious onlooker can see into the heart of the group. And, that my friends, is where one finds the answer to a very big question: ‘do I want to be part of this?’ In Scouts West Main Chapter, there is a long-standing tradition. We call it ‘the Chicken.’ The purpose of this featherless foul is to hold ‘fines’ paid by the members. Throughout the year, as Scouts West Members go wheeling, they inevitably incur a wide range of trail carnage from simple breakage, to flat tires, to even the occasional catastrophic failure or, rollover.
The featherless fowl that Tim is referring to is a rubber chicken. When the Sheriff fines a member, the fine is put in the rubber chicken. I guess it’s safer than a bank now a’days. This is all done in good fun and it helps to fatten up the chicken. At the end of the year the chicken gets opened up and the year’s fines are donated to some deserving organization. Most years the fines amount to around $150. When you consider how the money was collected, this represents a lot of breakdowns and other mishaps for the members to incur in a single year.
When the chicken was opened at the 2011 December meeting, there was only $50 in the chicken. Members had not been doing as much wheeling and/or breaking as they usually do. I do have a theory about this; in order for a Scout not to break down it must be left in the garage and that is not a sure bet.
With just $50 to donate, they had to give a little more consideration as to which of their usual recipients could best benefit from such an amount. After some careful thought, it was brought up by one of the licensed hams that the local Clara repeater group had been trying to put together a donation of DVDs for Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC). Apparently, someone had decided they needed the entire library of DVDs the hospital had. The hospital has a significant number of ill children.
The Scouts are a great bunch of guys and gals; they seem to have fun no matter what they are doing. And as Tim said they are a diverse group and all have strong opinions, and I don’t envy President Tim Potter’s job of keeping this group on track during the meetings. Val and I enjoy the time we spend with the group and are proud to call them friends. It almost makes you want to buy a Scout. Almost!
For more information on Scouts West visit their website at scoutswest.com