“American Pickers” gets help from local man

Holly Richrath
Dewey Roe of Washington, left, is friends with and helps “American Pickers” host, Frank Fritz, right.

Editor's note: Chillicothe was one of the places Frank Fritz and his local helper, Dewey Roe, visited.

An old lemonade sign, a turn-of-the century mission oak umbrella stand and an electric barbecue grill.

This may sound like an odd assortment to some, but such items can be a picker’s dream. During an Aug. 4 visit to Central Illinois, these were among the items purchased by Frank Fritz of the History Channel’s TV show, “American Pickers.”

Without the company of his on-screen fellow picker, Mike Wolfe, Fritz sought the help of Dewey Roe, a friend and Washington resident.

“Frank’s my buddy,” Roe said. “I met him in Iowa some time ago. My sister lives in Iowa, and so does Frank. He called me when he was on vacation from filming and said he wanted to come down and see me.”

A self-proclaimed picker himself, Roe said he was happy to help Fritz scour the area for antiques.

Fritz arrived at Roe’s home about 9 a.m. The two set out on their search, making stops in Washington, Sunnyland and Chillicothe.  

“It’s almost impossible to go anywhere with him without somebody saying, ‘Can I get a picture,’ or, ‘Can I get an autograph.’” Roe said. “But he doesn’t mind. He’s real courteous to people.”

Roe said that successful pickers, “have the knowledge of what things are worth” and “look for old things in good condition.”

People who go to garage sales, he adds, are pickers.

“I’m a garage sale picker,” Roe said. “I go to garage sales, pick through people’s stuff and decide if I want to buy any of it.”

Roe said his “neatest find” was an old, round, porcelain Studebaker sign from the 1930s.

Though Fritz’s trip to Central Illinois only lasted about 10 hours, he may be returning soon.

“He wants to come back down after a couple of weeks,” Roe said. “He said if I know of anybody who maybe has some items they’d like to sell, he’d be more than happy to look at them while he’s here.”

Anybody with such items can e-mail Roe at dewpickin101@yahoo.com.

Roe said he values the friendship and is glad that he and Fritz have kept in touch.

“When Frank had to go,” Roe said, “I walked him out to his van and shook his hand. He gave me a hug and said, ‘See you soon, my friend.’ I watched him drive down the road and thought, ‘I’m really fortunate to have a friend like Frank.’”

“American Pickers” airs at 8 p.m. on the History Channel Mondays.