Once again we set out
for the swamplands just south of Monroe, Louisiana. Joey Hutson lives so
far off the beaten path it makes you wonder how the heck he can make a
living, but once you've seen his work, there is no mystery to why bikers
and custom auto builders seek him out. You drive and drive and drive
until you think you'll never get there, and then, just as you make
the final bend, there sits Joey's home with the black wooden fence
surrounding the property . His shop is just a short walk down from the
house and there is already a driveway full of cars.
a day early and anxious to get started. Joey's wife Kay, and his
daughter Jody are in the office doing the registrations as we come in.
The shop is in it's usual immaculate condition. There's a new piece on
the door entering the shop area, it's a depiction of an Indian Maiden
and a wolf, all done with an air brush. It's so well done I actually
leaned in to see if it wasn't in fact a digital print. It wasn't.
About 20 people showed up on Thursday. We all spent the evening at a
little local join called Hob Nob's, renewing friendships and enjoying
the food and drink.
On Friday things really start taking hold as the panels start coming out
and the striping began...each to his own style and color. I love
watching the Pinheads, and listening to their banter as they harass one
another in a way only another striper could tolerate. It isn't long
until the panels start taking on their own personalities... some ultra
modern ...some southwestern in flavor and some are traditional (whatever
"Lil Toot" with his top hat is from Tulsa and is setting up
shop for the weekend as we arrive...Ron Meyers is wiping the sleep from
his eyes with the back of the hand holding his doughnut while the other
hand balances a full cup of coffee. Fred Self from Oklahoma City has his
Project ...a concave glass finished in glue chip and gold leaf ...really
gorgeous but not yet finished.
Manning, the One Shot rep, is here this morning. Everyone was itching to
ask questions and make suggestions. Throughout the weekend I don't think
he missed visiting with a single person. One of the more interesting
facts that came out of this give n' take was the fact that One Shot
spent about $118,000.00 last year on promo s and paints supplied to the
Letterhead and Pin head meets. Pretty good for an unorganized group
in the day, a rental car shows up with Mike Lavallee at the wheel.
I swear it wasn't 15 minutes until Mike has his airbrush set up and he's
painting his first of a dozen or more panels he completed over the
weekend. The project panel he presented to Joey is another of Mike,s
mind blowers, complete with an alligator head coming right out of panel
In the midst of all the craziness Joeys family puts together a dinner
(complete with Gumbo) for all and finally everyone stops long enough to
visit while they eat. Everything rocks into the night and some of us
more sensible types head for the hotel room some time around 11:00 pm
...rumor had it Joey never got to bed before 4 am and from the looks of
the amount of panels setting around the next morning he had some
Saturday it seemed has a little more activity as some latecomers show
up...R.T. Thomas has some really kewl Acrylic painted panels that have
been clear coated and everyone is trying to lay their hands on one.
Donny Pavolini did a really nice thumbnail landscape on on of R.T's
panels but was having some trouble with a knee injury and actually had
to leave early. The only other tragedy was the pinstriping demo on the
Lincoln Continental rental car Lavallee drove in. Last I saw, all the
striping was removed and no paint stain was noticeable. Door prizes were
given away and a brand new "Painters Kit" was presented to
Joeys son Josh ( "SLIME" to his Pinhead buddies) and was
decorated by several of the "heads". He was beaming the rest
of the day and far into the night.
Probably the most surprising thing to happen all weekend was the amount
of people that kept coming up to me and Pat and handing us money for
"Katies Big Adventure" people have just been terrific about
the American and Australian Letterheads bringing 17 year old Katie
Wright from Australia for two Letterhead meets in March this year.
(Fred's in OKC and John Smiths in Georgia)
Bob Padilla was turning out his terrific "Santa Fe style
panels" amazing everyone (as usual) with his choice of colors and
subject matter. He and his son "Nick" took time out to make
their annual Salsa dish, that everyone cries for (both before and after
they eat it).
I guess Pat and I are getting old. We give it up about 11 and headed for
the hotel. Rumor has it Joey was up again until 4 am.
Sunday, as with most meets is just a "stand around " day, a
good time to visit and exchange business cards and phone numbers.
Sometime around 11 we headed out for home. Padilla's follow us home to
Norman, Oklahoma on their way to Albuquerque and spend the night so they
could have a fresh run at the last 700 miles of their trip. After they
leave, I made an end run for my shop...only to find out I was so tired
there was little point in me being there, so we extended Joey's meet to
cover Monday also. No panels, but plenty of "deep sleep".
As usual, Joey and his family did a great job and we're already looking
forward to next years meet...I hope we get asked back and I hope every
one try's this meet next year... it will be Joey's 3rd annual event.
Monte & Pat Jumper
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