The Astral Log

31 July 2015

Rogers in Review

Filed under: ALPCA Convention, License Plates, US-Arkansas — Andrew T. @ 01:40


For those keeping count, I found exactly 30 license plates in Rogers to add to my collection: Ten for the birthyear run, eighteen for the marriage run, and two that didn't fall into any particular category: A rare '73-stickered Virginia that I fished out of someone's dollar box, and a Manitoba '74 acquired purely for aesthetic value.

Absolutely nothing I found for my collection was from Wisconsin. I may have created the leading website for that topic, but I rarely find myself motivated to update it any more as the state quite frankly disgusts me these days and I no longer consider myself a Wisconsin collector.

The attendance figure for the year's convention was 339: High enough to make money, but a far cry from the late '90s and early noughts when ALPCA conventions broke the 500 mark with regularity. A lot of northeastern collectors were conspicuous in Rogers by their absence. Diversity was depressing: The crowd was one hundred percent cis, overwhelmingly male and white (no thanks to this), and with a median age that felt as if it was at least 55 or more.

One of the advantages of license plates as a field of interest is that there are multiple ways to appreciate them: You don't need to physically collect them; you can photograph them, document them, and get geeky about the data. Whether that's enough to indefinitely sustain a demographically-challenged collecting organization with annual conventions, however, remains to be seen. Collecting itself seems to be a pastime in decline, even in popular and well-established disciplines such as stamps. Can—or should—this trend be reversed? I wish I knew the answer.

With that said, here are a few more random snapshots from Rogers:

Some people collect the fake cardboard license plates used as props in film and television productions. I don't understand it, but it doesn't hurt anyone.

Michael Wiener, a public figure with a reputation. I kept my distance; near as I could tell, he was delivering some incoherent rant about "socialism" as though it were a pox on the world.

The Neo-Confederacy is the Bible Belt, and this mega-church dominated several acres of scenery near the convention center...all of it totally unaccounted and tax-exempt, natch. It's a small comfort that these eyesores represent the consolidation and isolation of these virulent sects, and not expansion.

Quoted verbatim from their website: "If you or someone you love struggles with unwanted Same Sex Attraction, please reach out to us. We have resources to help." For obvious reasons, I'm not linking to it.

Since the early 1990s, Arkansas has replaced license plates on an eight-year "rolling replate" schedule. Almost all cars now bear the graphic diamond design introduced in 2006...but here's one of the few remaining older-style plates that are still currently registered. I spotted no more than two or three of them on the road.

The motorcycle plates were also there to keep me on my toes, since the sequencing had reached the very end of the alphabet. This particular plate was issued between the 1st and 14th of July: It's possible that Arkansas exceeded ZZ 999 and reversed to 001 AA during the week of the convention itself.

Two closing shots, ending on a foreboding note. It's a sad commentary on our society that the Equal Rights Amendment isn't part of American constitutional law, but the Armed Nut Amendment is...and there was no escaping that in Rogers any more than in the rest of the country.

But I could escape from Rogers...though it took a few misadventures trying.

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©2015-16 Andrew Turnbull