Story and photos by Mike Mucklin
The eighth annual WPRRHS convention was held Friday and Saturday, April 16-17, 2004 at the Holiday Inn in Reno, Nevada. This year's convention Chairman, Frank Beavers, reported 135 attendees, a new convention record!
Presentations this year were provided by Kent Stephens, John Walker, Chris Skow, Eugene Vicknair, Thom Anderson, Ron Plies, Tom Lawler, Bruce Blackadar, Bob Larson and John Ryczkowski. An employee panel discussion was also held with several retired/former WP employees assembled to discuss various WP-related subjects and answer questions from the audience. Thanks go out to all the presenters and the employee panel participants for a fine job!
The highlight of the well attended banquet dinner was a presentation by Cathy Von lbsch, a former Zephyrette who talked about her experiences working on the California Zephyr. Cathy's husband, Ernie, who was a conductor on the CZ, also assisted in some of the wonderful stories Cathy related to the convention dinner guests.
John Walker brought the PRM gift shop to the convention and there were several other vendors present as well. The model display was a bit light this year, but there appeared to be items of interest there for just about everyone. Once again, the raffle was a great success thanks to the tireless efforts of Norma Hayes in promoting it and selling tickets. The separate raffle print and locomotive raffle has been well received by guests and this year the WP locomotive sold for $465.00. Thanks for all of your hard work Norma!
Several pieces of WP equipment from the museum in Portola were brought down to display in the yard at Sparks during the convention. President Rod McClure, Director Steve Habeck, and member Cliff Cox (who are all UP employees) brought the WP 707, WP 2001, WP 925-C, and the WP 805-A with two WP cabooses from Portola to Sparks via Winnemucca where they were displayed for convention guests to view and photograph. Through the recent efforts of Dave McClain and his crew, the 805-A was brought back to operating status in time for the convention and was quietly rumbling away while on display and occasionally showing off it's newly operating Mars headlight.
A very big thank you goes out to Frank Beavers for all his hard work on this year's convention, Steve Hayes for his behind-the-scenes work and for being a great emcee at the banquet, Norma Hayes for her work on the raffle, Vic Neves for his usual excellent work setting up and managing the A/V equipment,Thom Anderson for his dedication as the WPRRHS department head, Cathy and Ernie Von Ibsch for a great keynote presentation, Chris Skow for his fantastic CZ inspired Domes to Reno excursion train, the FRRS operating department crew who brought the display train down from the museum, and all the presenters and other members and volunteers who worked hard to make the convention a success.