LAS VEGAS—The proposed merger of the industry's two largest trade associations—the Tire Association of North America (TANA) and the International Tire & Rubber Association (ITRA)—promises to heal a split between tire dealers and retreaders that occurred nearly a half century ago.
Perhaps it's only fitting that plans to unite these two rival organizations were announced at the opening of the tire industry's largest trade show, the Speciality Equipment Market Association/International Tire Expo, Oct. 30-Nov. 2, in Las Vegas.
It was in 1957 during a similar association convention in Cincinnati that a breakup occurred, leading to the creation of a second tire industry trade show and a separate dealer-based national organization initially dedicated to retreading.
The rift took place after what then was called the National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association (since renamed TANA) barred retreading consultant and trade journalist George R. Edwards from its show following a dispute over who deserved credit for persuading the U.S. Army not to undertake its own retreading operations.
NTDRA officials refused to honor the press credentials of Mr. Edwards, editor of the Retreaders Journal, and banned him from the show. That infuriated his companion at the event, Radcliff, Ky., retreader E.L. “Red” Davis, president of the Central States Retreaders Association and the principal retreading supplier to the Army's Fort Knox, Ky., Armored Center.
As a result of the rebuff, the angry pair went on to create their own show the following year—the Louisville (Ky.) Retreaders Conference. The show´s sponsor, the Central States Retreading Association, later broadened its membership base to become the American Retreaders Association, known today as ITRA.
Several unsuccessful attempts to reunite the two rival organizations have taken place over subsequent decades, with the latest overtures between elected officials of both associations occurring over the last 2 1/2 years.
The merger plan still has to be approved by two-thirds of each group´s members in balloting scheduled for December.