SIDNEY — The North American Trap Collectors Association (NATCA) will host its 32nd annual swap meet in Sidney, from March 21 through 23, at the fairgrounds.
Throughout the day on Thursday, March 21, visitors are encouraged to attend a tailgating event in the Motel 6 parking lot, at 2009 W. Michigan St., for socializing with other NATCA members.
As the host motel of the event, Motel 6 is offering a special rate of $71.99 per night, plus tax. To book a reservation, call 937-492-9164.
On Friday, the swap meet will begin at the fairgrounds, at 655 S. Highland Ave., beginning at 7 a.m.
According to one of the meet’s organizers, Dennis Helman, of Sidney, 71 tables have been rented for the event. Sellers will be showcasing various items, including traps of all sizes and rarities, trapping equipment, some fishing equipment, and other outdoor items.
“You’ll see things there that you’ll never see anywhere else,” Helman said.
On Friday, a flea market-type sale will be held throughout the day, followed by an auction from 2 to 6:30 p.m., which will be conducted by auctioneer Kevin Worley, of Worley Auction Service. The auction will resume on Saturday at 9 a.m., following an 8 a.m. general business meeting, and is expected to last until about 11:30 a.m.
Absentee bids will not be accepted during the auction, but participants may have a friend big for them. All transactions will be final and must be paid with cash, traveler’s check, or approved in advance with personal checks. All purchases must be settled on auction day.
NATCA was originally established in Washington state in the early 80s when a small group of trap collectors began meeting, eventually deciding to create a national association.
In 1985, the first NATCA newsletter was mailed. The newsletter, now named TRAPS, which stands for Trading, Researching, and And Preserving Steeltraps, is still in circulation today as a magazine, and is printed in Galloway under the leadership of editor Tom Parr.
Parr will be in attendance at the meet, as well, and will have NATCA memorabilia and memberships for sale.
Yearly membership dues are $30 for members in the U.S. and Canada, and $50 for members in other parts of the world.
Helman said the association boasts members from several countries, including Australia, England, and Germany.
Membership includes a subscription to TRAP magazine.
According to Helman, he and NATCA member Web Carey have been organizing the Sidney swap meet since about 1987, which has amassed a rather large following.
“This is a pretty big meet for trap collectors,” Helman said. “People come from all over the United States.”
He said they even expect some collectors to come from Canada to attend this weekend’s meet. Helman said he expects anywhere from 400 to 500 people to attend throughout the weekend.
The meet is open to the public, from those who are longtime collectors to those who are simply interested in the craft of trapping, or any outdoor enthusiasts.
Along with the flea market and auction, Sidney’s Connection Point Church of God will be hosting a food stand.
Air Force Veteran Reggie Roller will also be preparing and selling his beaver soup and sandwiches, which Helman said have been popular items throughout the years.
“I’ve had people call and ask if we’re going to have the beaver soup again,” he said. “It’s local beaver caught and processed (by Roller).”
Helman, who has trapped since he was young, began collecting in the early 60s, and currently has close to 1,000 traps.
“I trapped all my life and now I’ll soon be 82 years old, so I can’t trap anymore – my knees and shoulders are wore out – but I still like to communicate and work with the trappers to promote trapping and help the kids who want to trap,” he said.
Helman has turned his hobby into a business by opening a shop, located at 6969 Wright-Puthoff Road, where he sells trap supplies and used traps and equipment during the trapping season, which begins on Nov. 10 and lasts until the end of January.
To learn more about NATCA, visit www.northamericantraps.com.
For more information about this weekend’s swap meet, contact Helman at 937-492-5769.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4825.