By Chris Schmaedeke, QCS managing editor
The skies above Tucumcari will be filled with excitement on Oct. 7.
The 17th annual Tucumcari Rotary Club Air Show comes to the Tucumcari Airport with a full slate of performances and acts. The gates will open at 10 a.m.
The main attraction will be the Canadian Air Force Snowbirds. The Snowbirds fly nine jets at the same time and perform numerous tricks, including a wing-to-wing act.
“These guys are like ballet in the sky,” said Bob McClelland Jr., a Rotary Club member. “They are not fast and loud but slow and graceful.”
This will be the sixth time the Snowbirds have been at the air show. After their performance, all the pilots will stay to sign autographs and greet the fans. McClelland believes this is a great opportunity for the children of Tucumcari.
“The air show is really for the kids,” he said. “It gives them a chance to meet pilots and a chance to see a possible profession.”
The Snowbirds won’t be the only act flying high above. The Army Golden Knights will also perform their parachute act. The Golden Knights have been a part of the show for many years.
This will also be the first year the show will include some sort of pyrotechnics in the skies and on the ground. “The Mad Bomber” will put on a show re-enacting an American and Japanese fighter jet battle scene with fake machine gun fire.
The F15E Strike Eagle will also put on a show in the sky.
“This thing will blow you away,” McClelland said. “It makes you glad that these guys are on our side.”
All the acts come to Tucumcari because of the environment and the treatment McClelland said.
“Some places parade the pilots around and then slip them into some hotel,” McClelland said. “In Tucumcari we treat them with hospitality and sincerity.”
There will also be plenty going on the ground for visitors to see. World War II planes will be on display as well as the Virtual Army Experience. It is not known exactly what the Army is planning McClelland said. Plenty of booths with food and beverages will be available as well. Many booths will be from Tucumcari schools.
“The community loves it, the kids love it, the veterans love it,” Rotary Club President Larry Moore said. “The air show really means a lot to everyone.”
The show generates no profit for the town, Moore said. All the money is put back into the community and schools. Any other money goes into next year’s air show, he said.
“It all starts in December and evolves from there,” Moore said. “We are always trying to make it bigger and better.”