2016 Black Hills Air Rally

The Black Hills Air Rally began eight years ago at the Buffalo Chip Campground. Over the years some things have changed, some have not. There is still a large turnout of planes and pilots, it is still a great time, and it is still a venue that draws pilots from a wide area.

With that said, I think this year was the best one so far. The 2012 Rally may have eclipsed this year in size when we had almost 60 pilots. We may have not sold as many T-shirts as 2013, but I don’t think anyone would say we have had any more fun than we did this year.

The 2016 Air Rally registered 35 pilots from all over the country. Randy (Spats) Hinton and his partner Wayne Bolin won the long distance award, once again, traveling from San Diego to our event, but this may be the first year we have had eight different states on the pilot registration list.

The event began early. The North Dakota contingent and a few others were here already on Wednesday afternoon. The flying began in earnest on Thursday and continued non-stop through the weekend. Saturday was the biggest day, as it is most years. We had half a dozen pilots who came just for Saturday’s flying, food and prizes. Even after sunset the flying continued under the lights by anyone brave enough to venture up and even later, the lighted foamies filled the skys.

As in past years, we had our share of big planes and 3D acrobatics, but there were plenty of other airplane types represented throughout the meet, including everything from electric trainers to scale warbirds. I don’t think anyone who wanted to fly anything, missed out on the opportunity. In fact, Terry Wiles, from Sioux Falls, burned nine gallons of gas with his big ones and cycled 20-30 batteries for electric flights on a Timber trainer and a powered glider. There was little chance anyone who visited any time during the weekend would not have seen Terry in the air flying something. Things went so well, there weren’t even any notable crashes. Everyone took home what they brought.

Darryl Crown arranged for a visit from the Lifeflight helicopter on Saturday. They are always a crowd pleaser. Everyone likes to take a look and see them land and lift off. It is also a good thing that they know where we are. Those kind of relationships with Lifeflight and other emergency services are always ones we want to foster.

We, once again, were blessed with having Smokin’ Hot Catering on site all weekend. They not only purveyed their delicious barbecue for breakfast and lunch, they provided a great barbecue rib buffet on Saturday night. Hopefully we can entice them to come out again next year. They certainly add a lot to our event.

Who’s Hobby donated one of the raffle prizes, a Hanger 9 electric Extra. Clancy also took part in the flying activities as well. Who’s has been part of our club and our community for just about 70 years. A big thank you to Who’s for the continued support of the Air Rally and all the other things the club does.

President Justin Gebes was also able to obtain a large Aerobeez Slick and an RCGF motor that were given away as raffle prizes on Saturday night.

He also had enough donated prizes that each pilot received some kind of gift for coming to our event. Great job Justin in doing the majority of the organizing for this year’s event.

Thanks also, to all the rest of the members who made this possible. From mowing the grass, to finishing the field maintenance to taking pictures and posting on Facebook, all of you did more than your share. But I guess that isn’t news., it is always that way a Propbuster events. Plenty of help to go around.

Finally, thanks to Lori, ‘the Law’ Wiles for letting me use a few of her hundreds of Air Rally pictures. You can see them all on Lori’s Facebook Page.

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