Air show to continue in Tucumcari

By Thomas Garcia: Quay County Sun

Tucumcari’s air show will be flying again.

Members of the Tucumcari Rotary Club have agreed to sponsor the Tucumcari Air Show in 2007, said the club’s president Elmer Schuster.

In fact, a date of Sept. 19, 2007 has been set for the next event, Schuster said.
The tragic death of acrobatic pilot Guy “Doc” Baldwin, 60, at the Oct. 4 air show in Tucumcari had raised questions about whether or not the group would sponsor another air show. Accidents resulting in deaths at other air shows in the country have sometimes caused the sponsors to discontinue the event.

“The sponsors feel that the air show has always been a success and that last year’s crash was out of our control. They want to continue to hold the annual event and try to put the past behind us,” Schuster said.

Several pilot friends of the late Baldwin, who was a physician from Tulsa, Okla., had written to organizers to continue the air show. They said that they felt that was what Baldwin would have expected.

“Next year will be the 15th year the air show will be held,” Schuster said. “I feel it is one of the best air shows in the Southwest. We feel that it greatly benefits the community and they enjoy it as well. We have had a lot of people from out of state contact us wanting to know when the air show is because they enjoy it so much and wish to return the following year to see it again.

“We advertise in Amarillo and Albuquerque and we always get a good turnout. We also want to get with the San Jon and Logan Schools in order to extend the experience with them.”

The pilots in the air show acts or military personnel from the show planes, often visit the Tucumcari schools the day before or the day of the air show as part of the event, to make presentations on piloting, aircraft and other aspects of aviation. And the schools have granted a day’s or half-day’s absence so that the children can attend the air show.

Schuster said that the group is currently looking for additional acts for next year’s air show.

In the meantime, the Rotary has sent condolences to the Baldwin family and made a donation in his memory to one of Baldwin’s favorite charities.

“We decided to pass a hat around and collected $850 from the Rotary members and donated it to the Make A Wish Foundation in honor of Dr. Guy Baldwin. Baldwin was a huge supporter of the organization and we wanted to do something in his memory,” Schuster said.