Stunt pilots acrobatics thrill air show crowd

By Thomas Garcia: Quay County Sun

About 1,000 people attended the 15th Annual Tucumcari Rotary Club Air Show Wednesday at the Tucumcari airport.

The performance also received sky-high marks from students.

“They had a lot of new stuff this year at the air show,” said Brent Rusk, 14, of San Jon.

“It is a great air show,” said Destine Sena, 16, of Logan. “I am looking forward to the Snowbirds at the end.”

“It is cool that we get to miss school for a day to enjoy the air show,” said 8-year-old Alec Cassidy of Tucumcari.

It was a warm clear day for the air show and many of the spectators took shelter from the sun under the wings of the B-17 “Sentimental Journey.”

The crowd watched as aeronautic acrobats performed precise stunts and maneuvers for their enjoyment. Many students from Tucumcari and other county schools were in attendance.

Exhibits on the ground included the U.S. Air Force displays and a mobile theater for visitors to view movies and play games. A recruiter was also on hand to speak with anyone interested in a career in the Air Force.

“I talked with the recruiter and they gave me some great information,” said Evangelina Castro, 16, of Logan. “I went on the flight simulator and got dizzy.”

“There was a lot of work preparing for the air show but it was worth it,” said one of Rotary’s show organizers, Bob McClelland, Jr. “The entire club was excited with the outcome and we may have generated a profit this year from the proceeds. The Rotary’s District Gov. Jackie Morgan was down for the air show and she had a great time.”

Tucumcari Rotary president Richard Primrose gave the welcoming address and introduced the singing of the U.S. and Canadian national anthems by Miss New Mexico Casey Messer. The Canadian athem was an homage to the show’s Snowbirds of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

There also was a moment of silence in memory of Guy “Doc” Baldwin, a physician and stunt pilot who crashed and died while performing at last year’s Rotary Air show.

About 1,000 attended the show based on a preliminary count, Primrose said.

The air show went well, said McClelland.

“We were doing this for the children,” McClelalnd said, “And we think they really enjoyed it and that makes the air show a success.”