To me, February is a pretty great month. Growing up in Minnesota, it is ingrained in me that February is the “hump” of winter…just a few more months until the grass is visible. Of course, February also means that an old, hopeless romantic will look through the mail with anticipation of Valentines (well a guy can hope, can’t he). And, February marks the anniversary of the Battle of Buena Vista, a self-proclaimed two-day holiday that I have celebrated for the past 30 years.
But, probably overshadowing all of these events (and I better mention my dear partner’s birthday also falls in February as well—right on the kickoff of Buena Vista Days—what else?), February culminates with the Show of Shows.
For those of you who are not familiar, the Show of Shows is the penultimate militaria show in the United States. Hosted by the nation’s largest militaria club, the Ohio Valley Military Society, collectors from around the world converge on Louisville, Kentucky, for the pinnacle of militaria buy-and-sell.
With more than 1,600 tables, the Show of Shows is probably the best cross-section of the hobby. While there isn’t a particular theme, one will find dealers who specialize in Third Reich, WWI, Civil War, Commonwealth, Japanese, Russian, military vehicles, books and movies, and of course, U.S. militaria. There truly is something for everyone in the hobby at the SOS.
Many collectors have been saving money or material for months in anticipation of the SOS. Me, I have an account at my bank marked “SOS Funds” into which I trickle money all year just so that I can be ready…why set aside funds that could be spent on other relics? More than any other show I have attended, the SOS has the mystique of “Ya never know what will show up”. Over the years, I have been surprised at the treasures I have found at this show. This year, I am looking for serious WWI AEF Tank Corps items to add to the collection as well as quality WWI photos of soldiers in full gear. We all have our favorites, don’t we!
The SOS wouldn’t exist if it was for the dedication of the Ohio Valley Military Society. It is nice to see an organization truly committed to understanding the needs of its members. If you aren’t a member, you should consider joining (you don’t have to live in Ohio…just an old name for a club that grew way beyond its expectations). Log onto www.sosovms.com for more info on the OVMS and the SOS.
So to recap, the important dates to remember in February:
February 14, Valentine’s Day (this Sunday, meatheads!). Dip into the collecting funds and buy your sweetie a card or some flowers.
February 18-21. Show of Shows at the Kentucky Exposition Center, South Wing B in Louisville, Kentucky.
February 22-23. Buena Vista Days. Go out for some Mexican food and raise a glass to old Rough and Ready and the 4,500 American soldiers who soundly defeated 20,000 Mexican soldiers in 1847.
Keep finding the good stuff,
John Adams-Graf, Editor
Military Vehicles and Military Trader