The Ohio Valley Military Society under the leadership of Brian Coates (president) and Bill Combs (business manager) runs like a well-oiled machine. The annual Show Of Shows (SOS) is truly the greatest military collectibles event in the world, but it doesn't just happen.
It comes together as the result of the hard work of Brian and Bill, not to mention the rest of the staff at OVMS. This Year's Show of Shows that took place February 22-25 was no different. There were weeks of planning, dealing with the management of the Kentucky Expo Center – and Bill will be the first to tell you that they don't ask to be next to the petting zoo or even the weekend of the cheerleading championships. A militaria show is NOT a major tradeshow and while those of us in this world may think it is the center of the universe, the fact is that it is not. It is a small niche hobby that requires compromise, patience and volunteers.
It is those volunteers who help set up the nearly 2,000 tables, which are trucked in from out of town! So anyone who thinks that OVMS just shows up to a neat hall full of tables needs to see it at 5am, a full 12 hours before most dealers can load in. Bill and Brian were already in there making ready for the long day to come, and were there long after most dealers were on a second beer or cocktail at the end of the evening.
At 8am it was a nearly empty hall but by 2pm the tables were set up on the exact grid to conform to fire safety concerns, labeled so dealers could find their location and ready for the mad rush at move in.
These photos show how it all comes together – thanks in part to the volunteers who literally "throw" tables – but really to the nonstop hard work of the great team at OVMS.