Once a year, on the first weekend in May, collectors from across the country gather in La Crosse, Kan., to buy, sell, and trade artifacts from our nation’s past. The main focus of the Kansas Barbed Wire Collectors Association (KBWCA) gathering is the sale and trade of barbed wire samples, but other items may include carved limestone, railroad memorabilia, antiques and craft items.
In 1967, La Crosse hosted the first ever convention of barbed wire collectors with 2,000 people in attendance giving La Crosse the distinction of being the “Barbed Wire Capital of the World.” Today the Barbed Wire Swap and Sell is just one of many conventions held across the United States for barbed wire collectors.
Each year, one collectors’ association is selected to host what has become the main show of the year — the Supershow sponsored by the Antique Barbed Wire Society (ABWS). In 2013, the Kansas Barbed Wire Collectors Association is once again hosting the Supershow in La Crosse starting Thursday, May 2 through Saturday, May 4, 2013 in conjunction with the 47th Annual KBWCA Swap and Sell.
The weekend theme, “Celebrating Our History,” also reflects Rush County Historical Society’s 50th Anniversary Celebration. A variety of historical activities will be interspersed throughout the traditional barbed wire weekend events ensuring a busy schedule.
The Museum Complex will be open Thursday through Saturday. The complex includes the Kansas Barbed Wire Museum, Nekoma Bank Museum, Post Rock Museum and Rush County Historical Museum. Starting on Thursday, tour booklets will be available at the museums and participating businesses for weekend-long Historical Window Displays downtown.
Also on Thursday, the Ken Blue Gallery Sneak Preview will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Supershow Opening Ceremony will be held at the Grass Park Museum Complex at 5 p.m., followed by Rededication of the Nekoma Bank Museum recognizing added interior restoration and new displays added since 2007. The Founding Fathers Plaque Installation Ceremony will also be held.
At 7:30 p.m. the ABWS and KBWCA Meetings will be held in the Barbed Wire Museum Hagemeier Conference Room.
Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., most of the action will be concentrated at the City Auditorium where traditional displays, including “Tribute to our Veterans,” and trade sessions open for the day at 8 a.m. Please note that Special Exhibitions of Barbed Wire and Tool Displays will be at the Museum’s Hagemeier Conference room from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
A Super Quilt Show featuring all handmade quilts is also open to anyone on Friday. There is no cost to enter. Exhibitors need to bring their quilts to the Commercial Building at the Rush County Fairgrounds on Friday afternoon between 12:00 and 3:00 p.m. or to the Barbed Wire Show Friday morning before noon.
Other Friday activities will include Carnival Heritage Games from the 1930s going on under the tent at the City Auditorium, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Lunch Concessions are 11.00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. followed by judging of displays at 2:00 p.m.
At 5:15 p.m. the Ken Blue Gallery Ribbon Cutting will take place at the Barbed Wire Museum. Ken Blue is a long-time collector from Nebraska.
At 7:00 p.m. an Old-Fashioned Barn Dance will be held at the Rush County Fairgrounds featuring local band “Off Duty” plus playing a mix of country and classic rock and roll. The Quilts will also be displayed at the dance where dancers can vote on their favorite quilt by placing money in jars. (Stuffing the ballot box is encouraged!) The five quilts with the most donations will receive prizes, and will be displayed at the Saturday night banquet.
On Saturday, in addition to the Exhibits open for display at the City Auditorium from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and the Special Exhibitions at the Hagemeier Conference Room 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., there will be day-long Community Garage Sales. A Vendor Fair will also be held at City Park across from the City Auditorium.
Other special activities on Saturday at 10:00 a.m. include a Sidewalk Chalk Art Contest for youth downtown and Carnival Heritage Games from the 1930s continuing at City Auditorium (under the tent.)
Another popular event on Saturday morning is the Barbed Wire Geocaching Event to find four caches. Rules can be found on the website and contestants enter and pick up instructions at the show registration desk before 10:00 a.m.
The World Champion Splicing Contest will run from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Competition is open to anyone, and winners will be announced at the banquet.
Lunch concessions are open from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at City Auditorium. The Public Auction is at 3:00 p.m. with the Auditorium closing at 4:00 p.m. Auction fees benefit the Kansas Barbed Wire Museum.
The Candlelight Banquet featuring certified Angus prime rib will be at 6:30 p.m. at the City Auditorium. Live entertainment will be a hilarious performance by “Snyder and Company.” The Awards Ceremony will follow the banquet. Winning quilts will also be displayed. Guests are encouraged to dress as their favorite historical character. Tickets for the banquet are $14.00. Reservations are required by registering online or calling (785) 222-2808.
For more information or to register, please visit www.RushCounty.org/BarbedwireMuseum/WireShow. ❖