Often, after a decade, the luster of an annual event fades.
According those at the 12th annual Tucumcari Rotary Club Air Show, that is definitely not the case with the air show.
According to pilots taking part in the show it appeared from the air that over 700 people had parked their vehicles in the parking lot of Tucumcari’s airport to watch and take part in the annual air event.
According to Bob McClelland, the director of the air show until all of the tickets and such have been evaluated, “The best way to count heads at the air show is from the air, from the pilots taking part.” McClelland said generally that’s how the Rotary Club gets their initial numbers. Drawing the crowds Wednesday from throughout the are were a variety of airborne acts that included the Royal Canadian Air Force Snowbirds, Steve Hinton’s Heritage Flight P-38 and A-10, Chris Avery’s F-4U Corsair, The AETC T-6 Demonstration Team, the A-10 Demonstration Team, The Red Baron Pizza Squadron, Bob Carlton’s Silent Wings Air Show, Eric Beard Yak 54 Russian Thunder and air show announcer Bob Stovall.
According to Stovall most of the different acts agree that one stop on the air show circuit that flyers don’t want to miss is the Tucumcari Air Show. “This one is something very special to all of them,” said Stovall. The sentiment is echoed by virtually all of the individuals taking part in the show.
“We all enjoy coming here,” said Eric Beard who flies the Russian Yak 54 “Rolling Thunder”. “They treat us like family, not like strangers at all.” Steve McCartney of a Southern California branch of the Commerative Air Force which had a number of planes on display also said much the same.
“Truthfully, we almost fight over who comes to Tucumcari,” said McCartney about the event. “I know for a fact that the different A-10 Demonstration Teams get very upset when the other teams get to come to Tucumcari.”
McClelland said he wishes that all of the different groups of performers could come to Tucumcari every year, but admits that would not be practical. “We have to rotate it so it’s fresh and different for the people that come,” said McClelland. “That’s very important to us. That’s why we have different ones come in. And we feel really honored to have a group of the caliber of the Canadian Snowbirds this year.”
According to Stephanie Walker spokesperson of the Snowbirds, they in their turn feel extremely honored too. She said the group does roughly 70 shows throughout the world including such locations as Paris and Moscow, and she said they, like virtually any flying group she knows of, “feel honored to come to Tucumcari it is a wonderful show.”
It is not only the fliers who come to the show from good distances. Jean Sheppard from Amarillo said she and a number of other people from her area made the trek to Tucumcari to catch the air show.
“We pulled the kids out of school and left this morning,” said Sheppard. “We would rather go to this one than either Clovis or Amarillo. It’s just more friendly somehow.”