Hamlin couple to appear on 'American Pickers' TV show
05:43 PM, Jan 25, 2013
Dennis Westfall was well over his knees in Lake Champlain one afternoon this past August, casting out a line for some trout when his cell phone rang.
“I answered it and the person on the other end said they were from American Pickers,” he said. “I thought it was a prank. I said ‘Hey, I’m in about four feet of water here, can you call me back.’ “
He didn’t really expect another call.
“But they did call back, and said they wanted to come out to the house,” said Westfall, 56, a special education teacher with Monroe-Orleans No. 1 Board of Cooperative Educational Services in Spencerport.
The show’s producers did call back. Weeks later, a camera crew from the History Channel hit reality show and show hosts Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz showed up to cull through the Hamlin home Westfall shares with his wife, Mary Frances Westfall, for treasures. Wolfe and Fritz own Antique Archeology, a vintage items and collectibles shop with outlets in Ohio and Tennessee. The show traces their travels across the country looking for unique items in old barns, outbuildings and private collections.
“It was a long and exhausting day, but fascinating,” said Mary Frances Westfall of the 12-hour visit from the American Pickers crew. “They came in with a huge entourage and a motor home and when the vehicle with their logo came down the road, all the neighbors followed.”
An avid collector since he was a kid growing up on Rochester’s Jay Street, Westfall and his wife live in a neat little cottage on the Lake Ontario shore that’s jam-packed with antiques, oddities and anything else that’s caught their collector eyes. Wooden ships are affixed to the rafters in the greatroom. There’s a suit of armor, duck decoys, Stickley furniture, real Morris chairs, oriental rugs, wildlife dioramas and little knickknacks tucked into almost available space. He’s also got vintage motorcycles and antique cars, including a 1937 pickup truck they rescued from the Arizona desert and turned into a delivery truck. He jokes that “an airplane is next” even though it’s probably out of his budget.
“I’ve always been a guy who liked things,” said Dennis Westfall. “So, I collected bugs in jars when I was a kid, and coins. I’ve always had a wanderlust for things not just out in front of me, whether an old car or this thing or that thing. And if I made $9, I’d spend $8.99 to buy something I like.”
There’s even a room they affectionately call “the dead animal room” because of the black bear rug, the warthog head mounted to the wall and the coat rack made of deer hooves.
“People sometimes ask me where I get all of this stuff,” Dennis said. “And I tell them that I open up my wallet and it all just jumps in.”
Anyone interested can watch some of that stuff jump out of Westfall’s wallet when the American Pickers episode they appear in airs at 9 p.m. Monday on the History Channel, which airs locally on cable channel 63.
Anyone interested in taking a peek at some of the Westfall’s collection for themselves can do so at their new store, Mom, Pop, And Tot Antique Shoppe, open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays at 7564 W. Ridge Road.
Dennis Westfall said he sold the Pickers a leather football helmet, some toys and some gas stations signs.
“All the things I wanted to sell them, they didn’t want and the things I didn’t want to sell were the things they wanted,” he said.