Smokstak Bulletin Board

Golf Carts & A.T.V.s

I belong to a club that has two shows a year and a swap meet. They allow exhibitors, vendors and the public to bring in golf carts, four wheelers and modern lawn tractors to ride around on. It has become a problem as attendance has grown and the exhibit and flea market isles have become congested. It has become almost impossible to navigate a larger than average tractor even on main roads of the show grounds due to the parade of golf carts. Trams are provided to move people to and from different areas of the grounds, so having to walk great distances is not an issue. I was wondering if anyone else out there has experienced similar problems at shows and how you all feel about it. – Dan

Dan, there are a couple of ways to look at it. From your prospective those golf carts & lawn tractors are in the way. From my prospective it allows me to buy numerous (large) things from the swap meet vendors and have a place to put them while I shop on. It also allows me to keep my rain gear with me, a place to store my jacket as it warms up, a place to leave my coffee thermos while I shop and more than anything a place for myself and my wife to rest as some of these shows are getting pretty well spread out. Some shows put limitations on the carts going down the vendor isles (I don't have a problem with that) and others limit the times they can be used (late in the afternoon when it gets crowded some shows prohibit carts). I have mixed feelings on ATV's as they seem to get abused by some [I said some] youngsters and can become a hazard. If properly policed, they shouldn't be any worse than a golf cart. -- Bill

I wouldn’t have a problem with older gentlemen who have a hard time walking, driving around with golf carts. There is nothing wrong with that. But for the younger people, I wouldn’t allow it. I mean come on, is it really that hard to walk? You wonder why America is the most obese country in the world, because everything is made too easy for us. Flea markets, in my mind, at the engine shows are out of league anyway. At some of the engine shows I go to, flea market vendors don’t even have anything to do with old iron. I only look at one in every ten booths because everyone else has a bunch of junk. It seems like the shows just attract a bunch of people trying to make a buck. – Tanner

I have done the show and swap for over 20 years and just can't do it anymore without wheels. Always thought I was bullet proof - part of getting old. – Dick

It's funny that this subject came up as I was wondering if golf carts were allowed at the Portland Swap and Sell. I am going for the first time this year and would like to take mine, but I don't want to get there and have to leave it on the trailer. I know I'm going to be like a kid in a candy store when I get there and I'm going to need something to haul around all my "candy". Also, I'm going to have a friend with me that has recently had a hip replacement. He can't do very much walking at all. -- Mike

As for golf carts and ATVs up here in Alberta, there are very few carts at our shows and the people that are using them are organizers and older people. That is fine, but our shows up here are not as big as some of them down there and you can't probably walk around the whole fairgrounds and still have time to show and run your engines. But I am against ATVs that are noisier than some tractors, not all but some and they’re too capable of speeding. As for the swap meets, I agree it is hard to shop for “candy” and have to walk back and forth to the car. Some are too heavy to carry so a swap meet should leave enough room for the carts. – Andrew

My wife is handicapped and we love to go to these shows. In the past, I have had to push her in a wheelchair and with the grass and gravel it was all most impossible. I bought an old golf cart and we now have a great time. At the Portland show you have to register and show a handicap sticker. We did not have a sticker the first year but they took our word. It’s a great show and you will love it. – Bob

At most shows, it is allowed to ride around and at others, it is not. What I do at Portland is get up early and slowly ride around so I can talk to folks and look at their stuff. Near the official opening time, I park the old Hoyt-Clagwell and walk around until after the official closing. Then, I again do a ride-about. So far, no official at the show has commented about it. If they do, I'll just stay parked. After all, it's their show and they have to deal with the safety issues. I agree about kids and ATV's and modern garden tractors. They have a tendency to see how fast they can go. Also, at some shows (like Zolfo Springs, FL), when you register, if you ask, they'll say that you can slowly drive around the show area but to stay out of the flea market area. The only folks who can drive around the flea area are folks with handicapped stickers. -- Elden

Sounds like a good way to go Elden. I may make Portland yet. Walking is out for me, so I will stay away until they resolve this problem. With the additional acreage they’ve got now, one would think something could be worked out. – Rick

I'm hearing a lot of different thoughts here and I'm inclined to go with the idea that a cart or small tractor is a nice thing to have especially if you're buying or trading iron. I think the angle that Dan is taking is the liability factor that club officers and directors face from the possibility of someone getting hurt by a moving vehicle on the club grounds. I also know from being a past president of our local engine club and a past county fair board member and president that it is a growing concern. I enjoy riding my cart at shows like everyone else but it may be necessary at some of these more crowded events to take some precautions. What to do though, that's where it gets interesting. -- Preston

What I find wrong with those who drive around in the carts is that they seem to think they can drive right up next to what they want to see, doesn't matter if it is exhibits or sale items. First of all they block out a large area of stuff that others now can't view and secondly, they seem to think that they have the right away and expect you to move out of their way. If I was walking in the middle of the rows that's one thing but when I am next to a trailer or the like then I feel I have the right to stay put. With the exception of a very few, those people have to walk to get on the cart so they can damn sure park it out of the way when they want to view an item and walk over to it. My friend is not able to walk long distances and does require the use of a garden tractor but when he sees something he wishes to look at he makes sure to park so as not to interfere with others and if someone is in front of him while he is moving. He will either stop and wait or go around, not push his way through. As for the comment about a good way to haul the stuff you bought, why don't you park it and walk. When you buy something put it under the trailer or off to the side and come back and pick all of it up later. I have yet to find a vender who won't hold something to the side for you to retrieve later. – Tim

Very well put Tim! After attending the LeSueur swap, I was not at all happy about the ATVs and scooters there. I am glad to hear that the club recognizes that it is a huge problem. I was only able to see an extremely small amount of what was at the swap meet due to the fact that I am recovering from a knee injury. I couldn't hardly walk around without almost being run over by ATVs and scooters. I realize that some people are handicapped, but I can guarantee that 99.9% of the people running around on ATVs and scooters at the swap meet had no physical limitations. It is my opinion that if a handicapped person wants to attend a show or swap meet, they should contact the club that is sponsoring the event before the event is even held to find out the club's rules regarding golf carts or other means of transportation for the person in question. I know that most shows will be very accommodating and will respect the fact that someone's physical limitations make it necessary for the use of a powered vehicle. If, on the other hand, the club will not allow the use of golf carts, ATVs, etc., you must be willing to respect that those are the club's rules. Insurance for events these days is extremely costly, and all it takes is for one incident where a claim is filed against a club, and the club will get its policy cancelled. I strongly support the use of powered transportation at shows and swap meets for those that truly are handicapped, but in no way do I support "Butt Buggies" for those that are physically capable of walking. Even with my temporary physical limitation from my knee injury, I opted to walk around at the swap meet in lieu of riding around on something. And for those of you that remember my earlier comment about not hardly covering any of the swap meet grounds, it is because I didn't want to get my butt run over by one of the several hundred "Butt Buggies" running around. – Ironman

I totally agree with the last two messages about Golf Carts and ATV's at Le Sueur and other places. I am Handicapped and do need to use a means of transportation to get around at swap meets and shows that are the size of Le Sueur and such. But what I seen at Le Sueur this year was not good. Le Sueur had new rules this year and passed them out when you registered your unit. They give you a registration number and cable ties to put it on. They asked for the lowest speed and headlights to be on at all times when running or moving. Also only one person on an ATV, no exceptions. Well, those of you that where there know these rules were not followed by a lot of people. I personally saw 2 ATVs with 5 people on one and 4 on another. Of course there were no numbers on them either. They either were not registered or didn't bother to put the tags on. Le Sueur does not ask for anything to register other than you sign a sheet with your name and address and Insurance Co. I think all shows should adopt a policy like Rollag has. You bring your handicapped permit and prove of ownership and insurance to the office and they will issue a permit for you to use your transportation unit, whether it's an ATV, Scooter, or lawn tractor conversion. I don't know if they allow golf carts anymore. I didn't see any that I recall last year at Rollag. I have been using an ATV, but I'm putting together a smaller lawn tractor frame with hydrostatic drive and it should be ready in about 2 weeks. I have talked to my insurance co. and told them what I wanted to use it for and they will cover me. It is actually easier to use than an ATV, and easier to control being everything operates by one pedal. And also it is only supposed to carry one person, and would be harder to carry two or more than an ATV. My assumption on this matter is that if something isn't done about this something is sure to happen and then it'll be a little late. – Paul

One solution as I see it, is to have those battery powered rental handicapped scooters available at the show site. Those who need transportation must rent them or walk. I know of one show that does that and there are no ATVs, lawn tractors or golf carts to be seen. – Glenn

Where do bicycles fit in? I truly enjoyed mine at the last Tulare show as my old feet weren't made for walking. It is about the biggest show I have been to. – Gary

A little bitty HONDA EXPRESS moped with a basket on the front is the ideal butt buggy. It's light, quite maneuverable, only one person can ride at a time. Only problem is, they are out of production and VERY hard to find. – David

I don't personally like the unnecessary use of a cart or ATV. I am only 19, but I see no problem if the machine is a unit on display as well or if someone truly in need is riding one. I do not have any problem with an antique rider or the like being used. -- Paul J

I have my butt buggy for one reason, and one reason only. In '95 my wife and daughter were in a nasty head-on that wasn't their fault. To this day my wife can only walk short distances before her hips hurt her so much she has to rest, and it gets worse as the years go on. At first she was really tickled with my cart and we could go to a show and enjoy ourselves without her having pain. But over time it got to the point where when we went to a show there would be someone we don't even know make a comment about how lazy we were and how those "damn butt buggys" shouldn't be allowed. Well, this embarrasses her so now she doesn't want me to take it when we go to a show. My point is, I wish people wouldn't judge by looks. Yes, there are a lot of people who don't need these butt buggys to enjoy a show, but how do you know. You sure can't tell by looking at them. This is the same reason I won't go to a show that doesn't allow parking by my display. Even though my back is fully healed, the rods and screws have fused into the bone properly, the nerve damage can't be repaired and I live on pain pills, can you tell that by looking at me? So, I'm not complaining, this is my lot in life and I'm trying to accept it, just asking people not to be too quick to judge. And I hope you have compassion and use this post, and others, when you decide to make you're rules. Don't limit it to just those who have a handicap permit, there may be some like my wife and I who both feel that there are those who need the spaces more than we do and as we live on a small town it's not too much of an issue. But going to a large show where everything is so spread out is different. Consider accepting a medical report if the person can present it. – David

Some shows are so large that in order to see the whole thing you must have some form of motorized transportation. I suggest that the show organizers adapt to the needs of the public, so that able bodied walkers, and us old farts can both be accommodated. Further, I and many others really enjoy seeing all the varied "butt buggies" etc. If you tell us we cannot ride around, well fine, we will just stay home. – Hank

It seems to me that no matter how many people respond to this thread with their support or complaints on butt buggies, regardless of what they ride, that this is a waste of time and effort. Because, until show sponsors / clubs make some hard and fast rules and enforce them on what is allowed on the grounds, that this will only get worse and all the complaining won't help at all. – Joe

The purpose of this thread and all threads is to give everyone a chance to voice their opinion. Maybe if enough people become more aware of both sides of this issue something could be done. I talk to the directors at the shows I attend and express my point of view. If more people would do the same something may get done. Hopefully there will be a compromise that will be agreeable to people on both side of the fence. – Dan

The Rough&Tumble Museum that runs the big Thresherman’s Reunion in Kinzers, PA has instituted a new policy for butt buggies, and it’s about time! Last summer's show was a real pain to go to as the problems with mopeds and ATV operations actually made it dangerous at times, especially in the small engine exhibit. Hopefully they can enforce their rules, and make the show 'more better' as the Amish say. The elderly and people who have a need, should certainly be able to use their conveyances, however the excess use of 4 wheelers, especially by un-attended kids definitely needed to be addressed. I hope their new program, if enforced, works out to all the show-goers advantage. -- Andrew

I too was at the LeSeuer 500. For the record I have no problem with someone who is disabled riding, but the vast majority I saw were not. Even for those who are, let’s keep it reasonable like a lawn tractor or a golf cart, NOT an ATV with a 6 ft. wide snowmobile trailer behind it. And no, he was not disabled or hauling for hire. As far as the argument that you need to drag a trailer up and down the aisles to haul an engine you bought, hire one of the people that are there to haul. Spend 3 bucks and save the hassle of dragging your trailer around. If you just want to haul your raincoat and small purchases buy a hand cart and a couple plastic storage boxes with lids. That’s what I do and it works fine. If I buy something too big and heavy for the cart I hire it hauled back to my truck. I would also support the idea that a state handicapped permit would be required to drive a "butt buggy" at the shows. Or invite an electric wheel chair rental business to come in. A large show I attend does this and everyone is happy. Those who need to ride can and the rental company does a big business. – Dave

It's beginning to look like show organizers should start planning for an increasing number of baby boomers and beyond, and that may mean laying out the grounds to provide enough space for carts/buggies as well as attendees who walk. And maybe some rules of the road for those who drive, much the same as driving on the highway. Meaning designated vehicle-free paths, designated driving and parking zones for the buggies, etc, and strict enforcement of their rules. If the show organizers don't start doing this soon, they will be inviting a liability feeding frenzy. Personally, I like the smaller shows where everybody talks to each other, and all displays are within easy walking distance. And where, when you're unloading, people go out of their way to help you, and if you buy something heavy, you can back your pickup next to the purchase during a slow time of the day, and half a dozen people will help you load it into your truck. – Harvey

Thanks for this great subject, it has changed my opinion some. When I go to a show I hope to see old "stuff" so my best choice is to see butt buggies made from old garden tractors and hit and miss engines or whatever regardless of whether the driver is disabled or not. Now I see the great need for accommodating golf carts or whatever to get the less mobile of us around the show. (I hate 4 wheelers because they are too fast, noisy and are abused too often.) I suspect that some shows are going to have to limit what can come in simply because of the sheer volume of people they attract. Golf carts and 4 wheelers are just too big. The personal scooters made today are just amazing at getting people around. Let's hope we can all come up with a workable compromise so people like David and his wife can still come and enjoy these shows. We don't want to lose anyone. Again thanks for a great thread. -- Mike


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