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Home News-Telegram News On Wings of Eagles: Texas Cushman Club rolls into town for annual state meet

On Wings of Eagles: Texas Cushman Club rolls into town for annual state meet

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Insanely high gas prices have spurred renewed interest in the world of the frugal scooter again, with scads of the two-wheeled gas-sippers being imported into the United States from all around the world. But long before foreign brands like Kymco began invading the domestic shores, an American company was pumping out a classic scooter that remains beloved in the hearts of many today — the Cushman.

Members of the Texas Cushman Club Inc. began rolling in to Sulphur Springs and the Hopkins County Regional Civic Center grounds today for their annual state meet, which is being held through Saturday. Besides being a gathering for enthusiasts, the get-together will allow those who are interested a chance to stop by and admire — and for some, to reminisce about — the vintage scooters.

“There will be daily rides, scooter games, good things to eat, a show scooter contest, and a swap meet where everything from completely restored scooters  to parts will be available to purchase or trade,” wrote Texas Cushman Club President Roy Stanley in a press release announcing the meet. “There will be many vintage scooters, engines and components for the public to see.”

Local Cushman enthusiasts aren’t as prevalent as they once were, but there are still more than a few in Hopkins County. Cecile Blount of Sulphur Springs, for example, is secretary of the Texas club.

Once the primary mode of transportation for many high school students in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the Cushman scooter today is a highly prized collectible treasure that inspires a devoted following.

Cushman Motor scooters were built in Lincoln, Neb., for some 30 years starting in 1936. They were very popular as a “second car” for families who only had one form of transportation in the 1940s and 1950s. Production continued until 1965, when the product could no longer compete with lightweight and economical Honda motorcycles being imported into the United States, according to Stanley.

But that sturdy design is part of the continuing appeal of the Cushman, as evidenced in its most successful model, the Cushman Eagle, which was in production approximately 16 years. Rather than being a collection of plastic and fiberglass, the Eagles resembled real motorcycles with exposed engines and gas tanks.

But Cushman manufactured dozens of models over the years, some reflecting the design sense of the day, such as the Road King and Pacemakers of the 1950s, which sported what can best be described as “jet-age styling sensibility.” Other models used the iconic step-through design popularized by Italian marque Vespa. Sears even sold versions of the Cushman models under the Allstate brand.

Members of the Texas Cushman club began arriving today as vendors were setting up at the Civic Center. A group dinner is planned for the late afternoon, followed by “scooter games” beginning at 7 p.m. More activities were planned for Thursday through Saturday. The state meet comes to a close Saturday night, with a banquet and awards presentation at 6:30 p.m.

There were a number of reasons the club decided to hold its state meet here. For one, the Civic Center was adequate for all their needs, especially the 36 RV hookups with water and electricity, and the roads “looked like good riding” (although members were warned about potholes in the city streets). Also receiving some praise were the Leo St. Clair Music Box Collection at the city library, Heritage Park and the Southwest Dairy Center and Museum.

Another reason Sulphur Springs was selected is because, as President Roy Stanley put it, the city is an “ice cream connoisseur's delight,” citing The Creamery at the Dairy Museum, Braum’s and Dairy Queen.

“I don’t want to hear any complaints about not having a place to ride to for ice cream!” Stanley wrote in a message to club members prior to the meet.

 

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