By Angelo Van Bogart
“We’re very much about hospitality,” said Old Cars Weekly reader David A. Geisler of the Pioneer Auto Show museum in Murdo, S.D. Usually, that hospitality extends to tens of thousands of families that annually enjoy the vintage artifacts — automotive and otherwise— that make up the 1880s town.
On Aug. 11, the museum welcomed visitors of a different sort. Rather than cameras for photo taking and ice cream cones, these visitors carried video cameras and lighting booms to tape an episode of History Channel’s hit TV program “American Pickers.”
The Pioneer Auto Show displays countless objects and 250 vehicles in its 42 buildings, and TV show stars Mike Wolfe and Danielle Colby Cushman spent 12 hours rummaging through the museum’s collection in search of treasures. Meanwhile, regularly appearing co-star Frank Fritz was on a side trip to Sturgis.
“Danielle bought a lot of jewelry,” Geisler said. “We did sell them Andy Rooney’s race car, which has a motorcycle engine, that we had for some time.”
Although the Pioneer Auto Show does have an annual auction and lists a few of its cars for sale, not everything in the museum is for sale.
“They wanted to buy a Henderson cycle car; they liked that,” Geisler said. “They also liked the cycle car, a 1915, and they wanted to buy a 1921 Indian… [and a] Sturgis stagecoach.”
Those treasures stayed in the Pioneer Auto Show.
“We’ve got a lot of interest in Elvis’ cycle and all sorts of muscle cars, but if they’re popular to the show, we don’t sell them,” Geisler said. “We do sell stuff we’re not going to restore, and sometimes we share our excesses. Sometimes we run out of room and money.”
The visit by “American Pickers” came as no surprise to Geisler or his staff. Producers of the program had scouted the collection for a possible visit several years ago, and now that the cameras have come and gone, Geisler thinks it was worth the wait.
“They were very nice. We had a lot of fun and a lot of laughs — it was just good,” Geisler said. “They were very professional.”
“American Pickers” is expected to air its segment in March or April 2012, but the Pioneer Auto Show, which opened in 1954, can be visited year-round. For more information, call 605-669-2691 or go to www.pioneerautoshow.com to learn more about the museum and its annual auction, car show and swap meet.
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