... the three founders, Joe K1RQG (SK), Bob W1GWU and I originally intended the event as a social gathering...
Norman the allure of a social gathering is something that will never go out of style, and it might be the secret as to how to sustain such events in the future.
About 20 years ago a few of us in the region came up with a "Rolling Rock" event, which was primarily an opportunity to get together with the people we enjoy on the radio. The first one was at my house, and spontaneously became a Rolling Rock
event when Gary/INR came up with a 10pm toast.
The festivities were carried "Live on 75," bringing in many more participants on the air, and a tradition was born.
We had about ten events in the series over the next 10 years or so, sometimes at someone's house, sometimes during an AM Expedition, sometimes in conjunction with a hamfest and AM Festival Station on site.
In common at all these events was the good time seeing one another: the same genesis that you mentioned at the start of what became Hosstraders.
I was at the last Hosstraders at Deerfield in '92, and hope the descendants, wherever they may be held and under whatever circumstances, are as enjoyable as the ones I've had the good fortune to be associated with.
Nice to see you on the page here, and thanks on behalf of those of us who never got to express their appreciation to your associates for their efforts over the years.