By Paul R. Petri
The following information I have gleaned from all of the past Seven Years War Association Journals. My first hand knowledge of this wonderful convention began in Kalamazoo in 1988 I have not missed a convention since then.
If any of you have further information, funny stories, vivid memories on any of these conventions I would love for you to send them in so it can be added. I am also looking for any photos from any of these cons, especially the very early ones. If some of the early members can refresh my memory on when the Charge Project games began and ended. The Limeys and Slimeys naval battles began and ended.
Click photos to view photo galleries for the year’s convention
A Brief History of the SYWA Convention
1984 The First: April 7th Prairie State College Chicago Heights IL.
Hosted by Rich Black and Hal Thinglum. A dinner was organized at the Dragon Inn.
26 hardcore souls attended.
1985 The Second: March 30th Holiday Inn Holidome Kalamazoo MI.
Tod Kershner and The Age of Reason Society hosted this event. No mention of a banquet but 32 attendees made a strong showing.
1986 The Third: April 12th-13th Jumers Castle Lodge Champaign IL.
Hosted by Greg Novak and Walt LeBegue. Dinner I am guessing was held at the lodge cost for convention were Con/Dinner $9.00.
The first guest speakers ever at the Con are Hal Thinglum and Frank Chadwick.
1987 The Fourth: April 4th Park East Hotel Milwaukee WI.
Hosted by Bill Protz and Joe Gepterts and The Milwaukee Wargamers Association.
Attendance was at 74!! Wow!
1988 The Fifth: March 25th-26th once again at the Holiday Inn Holidome Kalamazoo MI
Hosted by Tod Kershner. On a side note, this was my first SYWA Convention. I just missed the 1987 convention I had only recently discovered that there was a SYW, was unaware of it for my first 23 years of life.
This great event I must credit to Dennis Smail and Bill Biles who had just purchased the RSM line of miniatures from Steve Hezzlewood in England. They hosted a large battle at Little Wars in 1986 at Triton College which I played in with my buddy Bruce Baltis. I was utterly blown away by the uniforms, the ordered lines, the tricorne hats!! I was hooked for life.
1989 The Sixth: March 17th-19th Holiday Inn Harvey IL
Hosted by Rich Black. This is the first three day Convention. 70 members attended The first Limeys&Slimeys event. I have no idea on the dinner but if memory serves me it was at the Holiday Inn in a banquet room.
I have a very vivid memory of some primitive human who was sitting at my table dipping his hand into the water carafe to scoop out handfuls of ice. We have since hunted those people down and eliminated them from future Cons.
1990 The Seventh: March 30th-31st April 1st Holiday Inn Elgin IL
Hosted by Gary Christensen. Dinner at the hotel again. Ice scooping person not in attendance.
1991 The Eighth: March 22nd-23rd The Bucyrus Club South Milwaukee WI
Hosted by Joe Gepterts. I have to say the Bucyrus Club was one interesting venue. It had a bowling alley inside of it, basketball court and multiple gaming rooms spread through out the building. It also boosted the largest banquet spread of all time.
1992 The Ninth: March 20th-21st Holiday Inn Holidome Kalamazoo MI.
Tod Kershner and The Age of Reason Society hosted this event for the third and to date last time. I will always have fond memories of traversing up to Kalamazoo.
I remember Tod had booked a small meeting room on Friday nights for early arrivals and would have a T.V. VCR hook up playing his SYW Battle scenes tape that he made. I still have a copy of that tape.
This was also the year that I first came in contact with Dr. Christopher Duffy. He talked at Origins/Gencon in August in Milwaukee.
I still remember Bill Protz, Brian Vizek and myself having a brautwirtz lunch with Christopher after his first talk. A formal dinner and military talk was organized by Todd Fisher in which the highlight of the event was some heckler being confronted by our Sgt at Arms Dean West who advised the idiot that his life was going to be taken if he spoke again. The subject fled the scene taking Dean at his word. Three cheers for Dean! Huzzah! Huzzah! Huzzah!!
1993 The Tenth: March19th-20th Holiday Inn Harvey IL.
Brian Vizek and Paul Petri ran this one. Brian did most of the work I just tagged along. We attempted to spice the after dinner time with Duke Siefreid giving a talk on the French and Indian War then adjourning to his wonderfully sculpted wargame terrain with a waterfall and stockade fort. Great stuff indeed.
1994 The Eleventh: March 18th-20th Holiday Inn South Bend IN.
Ably hosted by Herb Gundt. This is the start of our run at South Bend. The convention site was so centrally located to most members we thought it would be best to keep it here. Of note in April of this year the first SYW battlefield tour took place.
1995 The Twelvth: April 7th-8th Holiday Inn South Bend IN.
Dean West and Jim Mitchell carried forth the torch which resulted in Dr. Christopher Duffy’s first attendance at the convention.
Dr. Duffy gave a wonderful talk on the Battle of Leuthen. 90 Members showed up and 70 attended the banquet. I gave an overhead slide presentation of the battlefield tour from 1994. Life was good.
1996 The Thirteenth: March 29th-30th Holiday Inn South Bend IN.
Paul Petri and Brian Vizek carried on the tradition started by Herb and Dean. Dr. Duffy was back talking about the battle of Rossbach.
I have this talk on VHS tape and still watch it several times a year and laugh like I am hearing the talk for the first time.
1997 The Fourteenth: April 11th-12th Holiday Inn South Bend IN.
Organized by Paul & Brian again. Duffy is back again talking about the battle of Maxen.
1998 The Fifteenth: March 27th-28th Holiday Inn South Bend IN.
Organized by Paul & Brian. Featuring a Duffy Lecture on 18th century battlefield wounds and diseases. 6thfloor Oak Room Banquet on 20th floor.
1999 The Sixteenth: March 26th-27th Holiday Inn South Bend IN.
Organized by Paul&Brian. Duffy Lecture.
2000 The Seventeenth: March 31st-April 1st Holiday Inn South Bend IN.
Organized by Paul & Brian. Featuring a Duffy Lecture The Battle of Rossbach from allies perspective.
2001 The Eighteenth: March 30th-31st Holiday Inn South Bend IN.
Organized by Paul & Brian. Duffy Lecture. The first year of the Pour le Merite for best looking game won by Dean West.
2002 The Nineteenth: March 22st-23nd Holiday Inn South Bend IN.
Organized by Paul&Brian. Featuring a Duffy Lecture. Jude Becker and Jim Purky win Pour Le Merite.
2003 The Twentieth: March 21st-22nd Holiday Inn South Bend IN.
Organized by Paul & Brian. Featuring a Duffy Lecture…
2004 The Twenty First: March 18th-19th Holiday Inn South Bend IN.
Organized by Paul & Brian. Featuring a Duffy Lecture.
2005 The Twenty Second: March 24th-25th Holiday Inn South Bend IN.
Organized by Paul&Brian. Featuring a Duffy Lecture.
2006 The Twenty Third: March 24th-25th Holiday Inn South Bend IN.
Organized by Paul & Brian. Featuring a Duffy Lecture.
2007 The Twenty fourth: March 23rd-24th Holiday Inn South Bend IN.
Organized by Paul & Brian. Duffy unable to attend conference for the first time in twelve years vows to return in 2008!!
2008 The Twenty fifth: Holiday Inn South Bend IN.
Organized by Paul & Brian.
2009 The Twenty sixth: Holiday Inn South Bend IN.
Organized by Randy F. Featuring a Duffy Lecture.
2010 The Twenty seventh: March 26rd-27th Ramada Plaza (Formerly Holiday Inn Downtown) South Bend IN.
Organized by Randy F. Dr. Showalter was the guest speaker.
2011 The Twenty eighth: March 25th-26th Ramada Plaza (Formerly Holiday Inn Downtown) South Bend IN.
Organized by Randy F. Featuring a Duffy lecture on the Jacobite Rebellion and the battle of Colluden.
2012 The Twenty ninth: March 30th-31st Magnuson Hotel, South bend IN.
Organized by Randy F. Featuring a Duffy lecture on the Hessians involved in the Jacobite Rebellion.
2013 The Thirtieth: April 5th-6th Magnuson Hotel, South bend IN.
Organized by Randy F. Featuring a Duffy lecture on the development of Division and organizational development.
2014 The Thirty first: March 28th-29th Magnuson Hotel, South bend IN.
Organized by Randy F. Featuring a Duffy lecture.