2nd annual Rally commemorates 1903 Auto Endurance run

A 1933 Franklin Olympic

A 1933 Franklin Olympic and cars of the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s from Ford, Plymouth and Chevrolet, will be participating in the 2nd Annual Catskill Conquest Pilot Rally Commemorating the 1903 Automobile Endurance Run, beginning at 10:30 a.m. Saturday September 22, at the Maurice D. Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center, 5069 State Route 28, Mount Tremper. Festivities begin with a 9 a.m. breakfast at the Interpretive Center. 

An 1898 Riker Electric Car and a 1909 Locomobile are expected at the start in Mount Tremper.

The fine vintage automobiles will drive along a 75-mile route of the historic Endurance Run through Delaware County and across the Susquehanna River at Unadilla, with six host checkpoints along the way. This is a non-competitive tour, all vintages are welcome. If you love your car come and drive it on this route! 

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This event celebrates the birth of automobiling. In October 1903, 125 people in 36 automobiles from 17 American automakers braved torrential downpours on dirt roads in the Catskill Mountains and Central New York State. Twenty-five cars completed the 800 mile route from New York City to Pittsburgh. The noisy and smelly early cars frightened horses and people and Sunday drives kept them from church, hence they were called Devil Wagons. Their perseverance through the debacle of the Endurance Run gave the veterans the nick-name of the Mud Larks which they proudly carried through later reunions.

Cars included in the original 1903 Endurance Run were Pierce Arrow, White (steam), Columbia, Locomobile, Packard, Rambler, Pope Toledo, Oldsmobile, Knox, Phelps, Stearns, and more. In many cases the builders and design engineers drove their own cars: A. L. Riker in the Locomobile, Percy P. Pierce in the Pierce Stanhope, Frank Stearns in the Stearns, L.J. Phelps in the Phelps, John Wilkinson in the Franklin. 

There was one woman who took part, Edith Riker, wife of A. L. Riker in the Locomobile. 

Grandson Richard Riker will be on hand to talk about his grandfather’s career.

Host checkpoints along the way include the village of Pine Hill, the Cauliflower Festival in Margaretville, the Delaware County Historical Association with an exhibit of the 1907 NY State Engineer road building maps and the Franklin Railroad and Community Museum. There are several historical railroad sites along the way and the route passes through Fleischmanns, where a vintage baseball game is scheduled, and also through the village of Andes.

For more information, see www.1903autorun.com, call Director Robert Selkowitz at 845-657-6982 or email at 1903autorun@gmail.com.