The SMOKEY BEAR ASSOCIATION
Celebrating 26 years of its’ mission to preserve Smokey’s past, promote his present, and protect his future.
Preserve his past:
Association members are Smokey Bear collectors but they collect not for value but to preserve as many items produced by the US Forest Service as well as commercial items for future generations to view. Some collect any type of item while others focus on specific items such as posters, bookmarks, recordings, USFS promotional giveaways, toys, etc. Specific item collectors become valuable research sources as they catagorize and record those items.
Promote his present:
This is attained by the exposure members give Smokey through their collection displays at public events (fairs, forestry events), assemblies, and the distribution of materials at schools, and the SBA bi-annual conventions.
Protect his future:
Smokey Bear is a copyrighted figure with strict guidelines for use. All use of Smokey in any form must first have the approval of the Forest Service. Any unauthorized use is a criminal offense. SBA member vigilantly watch for abuse of his image or name and report it to the Forest Service.
Smokey Bear Association History
The Smokey Bear Association, formerly the Hot Foot Teddy Collectors Association (HFTCA) was founded in 1995 by retired fire captain specialist, Jim Van Meter of California.
As the new organization grew, it attracted some of the largest collectors of Smokey Bear memorabilia in the US. The members soon learned the value of making new contacts, networking, and sharing of knowledge to help complete their Smokey Bear collections and preserving the history of Smokey Bear collectibles.
The club ultimately evolved into a nationwide organization with hundreds of members who regularly buy, sell, and trade with each other which would never have been possible without the formation of the SBA.
The Hot Foot Teddy Collectors Association logo, a bear cub with bandaged paws sitting beside a charred tree stump, was unveiled in 1997. This was drawn by the late member-artist Rudolph Wendelin, “caretaker” of Smokey Bear. That same year, the club hosted its first national convention, attracting over 80 members.
On August 16, 2012 by a majority vote of the membership, the name of the Association was changed to the Smokey Bear Association.