It started with a simple idea.

It was 1987. Susan Boyd and her mom, Fayrene Morgan, wanted to find a way to spend more time together.

The pair, then 25 and 51, packed up their ducks and headed to Chester, Arkansas to attend their first swap meet.

After sitting for a day, wheelin' and dealin', outside of a small country church, the women returned back to northeast Oklahoma determined to start a similar venture at home.

Fast forward to 2017. The pair, along with other family members, will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Afton Poultry Swap on Sunday, May 21.

The occasion will be marked by a drawing, set for 2 p.m., at the "old tin barn" at the swap for a variety of prizes, including a feeder pig, pygmy goat, lamb, 150 pounds of feed, two gas cards, spaces for the 2018 swap season, gift bags of goodies and a dinner for two.

The only stipulation for the drawing, Boyd said, participants must be present to win one of the goodies.

She encourages people to come spend the day, as it will be a part celebration and part reunion. 

More about the swap

The swap sits near the bridge over Horse Creek on Highway 59, between the junction of Highway 125 and 59, and Buffalo Ranch.

Open from on daylight to dusk, the swap takes place on the third Saturday and Sunday of each month, from March to November. On holiday weekends, including the upcoming Memorial Weekend, the swap is open for Saturday, Sunday and Monday - for the three day weekend.

"[Mom said] girls, I've got the land, if you've got the backbone," Boyd recalled. "I saw it as a way we could always be together."

In the early years, Boyd and her mother not only served as the organizers, but the pair also ran the cook shack - making meals for the vendors and the customers. That changed a few years ago, when they added a food truck vendor to the swap.  

Boyd said people can find almost anything at the swap, including a variety of animals like goats, calves, pigs, rabbits, dogs, pigeons, chickens, ducks, geese, guineas, cats, parrots and cockatiels, to a variety of items like arts and crafts, fruits and vegetables, garage sale items and more.

"You can bring the entire family here and it cost you nothing all day long," Boyd said, adding that families often use the day to explore the unusual items found on the vendors tables.

When the swap began, the pair had under 15 vendors. That number has grown throughout the years to fill multiple rows on the property. 

Vendors come from a variety of states including Nebraska, Kansas, Arkansas, Iowa and Illinois, as well as Oklahoma, to market their wares. 

Boyd said on a good weekend - without rain - the swap can bring in more than 1,000 customers.

She said the prime time to check out items - and find the best deals - is at 9:30 to 10 a.m., on Saturday. 

"This is a safe place for people with lots of kids, who don't have a lot of money to come, look all day, then find one thing each to take home," Boyd said. "Kids leave happy and content and can't wait to get back."

Boyd said the smallest vendor spaces, a single space, is $198 for the entire season. Larger spots can go for more than $300.

Each year, during the Thanksgiving swap, the family lets vendors set up for free, as a thank you gift.

The swap offers free overnight camping for vendors and charges $2 per setup per vehicle each day.

Developing a following

Over the years, Boyd said, the swap has developed a following - in both customers and vendors. Many seek out the same spot each year, so people know where to find them.

Waco Hutchinson, 85, has sat in the same spot at the swap for 30 years.

Over the years, the Blue Jacket man has traded everything from guns and ammo, to "anything he can buy and sell."

"I'm like the pickers on TV," Hutchinson said. "As long as it makes me a little money, I'm good."

Hutchinson said he loves hanging out with the people, especially the little kids. During the Mother's Day weekend sale, he was joined by his daughter, Cindy Harju of Grove. 

It was a trip to Grove that led Hutchinson to make his first sale at the swap. 

"I was going to meet a guy in a parking lot to buy a gun," Hutchinson said. "I saw the gate and the sign for the poultry swap, and I just fell in [the traffic] line.

"I was the third in line, and I've been here ever since."

Like many vendors, Hutchinson said the people at the swap become more than customers.

"I love it out here," Hutchinson said. "The people just come to be like family."

Sandra Forester of Purdy, Missouri, has been bringing her chickens to the swap for more than 20 years.

She said she keeps coming back because of the friends she's made over the years.

"We come every time it's open," Forester said. "We like all of the people. A lot of the people we've known have passed away, but you can always make new [friends]."

First time vendors

This season marks the first time for Steven Hoffman of Anderson, Missouri, to attend the swap.

He brought a mixture of signs, flags, knives and other items during the Mother's Day weekend sale. 

"There are great people here," Hoffman said. "People are just nice here. I don't have to worry about my stuff walking off."

It's also first year for vendors Stacy and David Brodman of Independence, Kansas. 

The couple brought Red Laced Red Wyandotte Chicks and Guinea Keets to the swap.

They were attracted to the swap because it offered them a new location to sell their birds. 

"It's right off the road and they get a lot of traffic," Stacy Brodman said. "[Plus] the gal who runs it is a super nice, wonderful lady."

For more information

For more information, persons interested may contact Boyd at 918-257-4651 or 918-257-3436 or follow the Afton Poultry Swap at www.aftonpoultryswap.com or by searching "Afton-Poultry-Swap" on Facebook.