When you hear the name Vance West, most of us know him as the man with the bubble machine.
Vance placed the order for his bubble machine back in the 1970’s from Theatrical Supply Company in Springfield, MO and he has displayed it for years at many local shows. Vance is a showman. His engines and equipment are always shown in their work clothes. He once said that paint ruined the appearance of an antique piece of equipment. You can watch Vance work the crowd and he will be grinding com and sifting the grindings through several sieves showing the different products taken from the ground com. The fine material is com meal, then next the grits and then chicken chops. The dust is cornstarch. Talk to Vance sometime and he can tell you many stories about the club and the organizers of the club.
Vance has a collection of around 60 old gas engines and his favorite engine is a 1924, 1-1/2 HP International. .
The oldest engine in his collection is a 3 HP Olds dating between 1892 and 1906. The Olds name is the same as the Oldsmobile automobile. Vance also has a large Fairbanks Morse Diesel Engine mounted on a 2-axle trailer.
We recently recognized Vance for his many years of serving on the Board of Directors of “The Southwest Missouri Early Day Gas Engine and Tractor Association”, Branch 16. Vance was one of the first directors and has served in that position for the last 25 years. Vance also liked to have fun. He would be walking with someone and he would trip himself making look like the other person had tripped him, he would take a roll on the ground and back to his feet and keep on walking like nothing ever happened. Vance is 84 years old now and he doesn’t do this anymore.
Vance has attended several National Shows through out the years. He always has time to help someone having a problem with their engine.
Vance West is a person that deserves the honor of being inducted into the Hall of Fame.