Back around 1982, when Robert and Ona House were the International Retread Directors, New York State was divided into three sections. The Rochester area consisting of everything to the west of Interstate 81 was headed by the state directors Dick and Betty Dillon. The Long Island are was headed by directors Dick and Pat Hildebrand, and the rest of the state was headed by Chuck and Joan Starr.
The state rally held in Cooperstown, NY in 198? caught the interest of many local riders who started gathering and joined the Retreads. Jerry and Jane Fisher were assistants to Chuck and Joan. Eventually the eastern part of the state was split into two sections, the North Country and the Hudson Highlands. Don and Mary Salisbury were the North Country directors, while Ken Tonkinson headed the Hudson Highlands with Ray Donaldson coordinating for the downstate area, and Jim and Iny Leveille coordinating for the upstate group.
Since 1995, the club changed its primary physical location from the Poughkeepsie, Wappingers Falls location (in the Hudson Highlands) to Oneonta, NY. The change was primarily due to the decrease in participation in the downstate area after IBM®, the major employer in that area, reduced it's local work force, and some of the victims of downsizing were our club leaders.
We still have several members from the downstate area, although they do not usually participate in our monthly breakfasts or dinners, but occasionally show up for a poker run or other special event. I suspect they maintain membership to continue to receive the newsletter through which they keep in touch with nationwide Retread events and to keep track of old friends in the upstate area. We do have several active members who regularly attend our functions from the Binghamton and Albany, NY areas. We appreciate this since it is a 60 to 80 mile ride (or drive) ONE WAY.
Over the past few years we have had several nice "rides". Several times we have chartered a bus for our members to attend the NYC Motorcycle show. Over the past few years we have taken rides after our monthly breakfast supplemented by rides nearly every Wednesday (Retiree Rides !) all summer long. During the riding months we also meet for weekly ice cream runs. Once a month we pick a restaurant and have a "Let's Meet for Lunch" ...attended winter and summer, riding or driving by 25-30 hungry Retreads. Jokingly (but true), the unofficial motto is "Ride to Eat, and Eat to Ride". We certainly do that !
If you check out our newsletter, you will see that we have a turnout of about 50 members for our monthly breakfasts. We hold our breakfasts on the 2nd Sunday of each month at the Oneonta Veterans Club on Chestnut Street in Oneonta NY. Why not come and join us? We don't pressure anyone to join, however it seems that the majority of guests eventually can't resist the lure of good friends and good times and succumb to the lure of the Retreads.
Thanks to Wes St. Onge for the History of the Hudson Highland Retread Club.