Issue 37: Northwest SKC 2004

Registration Friday night starter the 18th Northwest Stunt Kite Championships with a friendly get-together at Ocean Lodge. The tee-shirts this year are some of the best in years. The Friday evening get-together was a time to visit with many fliers, and get ready to compete.

Sunny, arm, windy – at least we finally had good weather (albeit at times too little or too much wind!!??). It was certainly a nice change to see everyone slathering sun tan lotion on rather than rain gear. Genny said last year was the first time in 17 years they had to cancel a day because they did not have good wind and sunshine…so this means we’re back on track again.

Eric Forsberg served as head judge yet again, laying down the guidelines and imparting some of his experience and wisdom to competitors during the pre-flight meetings each morning… With something like 20 years of being involved in sport kiting, we’re lucky to have him still involved in the Northwest.

There was a good turnout of fliers. There were two Beginners, five Novices, seven Experienced and scads of Masters, flying all sorts of events. The Masters started off Saturday morning with Precision. It was a true challenge in little or no wind coming from all directions. But with fly or die, the fliers moved from one side of the field to the other until the wind finally settled out of the South for a while. Thereafter the fliers had good wind and great flying.

Sunday afternoon got a bit wild for the Pairs and Teams. There were some interesting figures invented for Precision by the Pairs! The Teams had wild ballet routines but managed to give a good show for all. Hot tricks was HOT!! The wind must have been at least 15 miles per hour, which had the fliers hands and kites really getting a workout with their complicated and crazy tricks.

At lunchtime both days, many fliers and teams flew demos. Flying demos is fun because there are no judges and no scores. You just fly and enjoy that “axomoxa” feeling. Ask Al Councilman for a definition.

The single line fliers had wonderful kites, i.e. cats, octopus, trilobyte, balls, deltas, and many more. There were all sorts of sizes, shapes and colors to decorate the sky. They do make a beautiful, showy background for flying and enjoying the beach. Many thanks to Doc Counce, Ma & Pa (Bill & Peg) Burley, Harley & Helen Ryan, Rod Thrall, Andy and Alan Tauber for donating their time, energy and, of course, their beautiful kite display for the weekend.

We were saddened to learn that one of our single-line demonstrators would not be joining us. Rich Miller passed away on Thursday, the day before the event. He will be missed not only for his great display of kites or announcing skills but for his kind heart and open friendliness to all he met. Doc Counce included the following poem in the card we all signed for Evonne. Rich is surely enjoying all the beautiful kites from a bird’s eye view.

Sometimes when I’m lonely,
I fly my kite up high
So the angels won’t be lonely,
When I go flying by.

Many, many thanks to all who helped make the 18th annual Northwest Stunt Kite Championships a success for all involved… Robin Haas kept the crowd up to date with each day’s activities and events, and David Cimburek handled much of the sound duties.

Special thanks to Terri and Mike Huff and the Northwest Sport Kite League for their work before, during and after the event. The league has made putting on event so much easier for the organizers. The City of Long Beach has been a major sponsor for all 18 years.

Dave and Keli Colbert with Above It All Kites also sponsor the event. Our thanks go to them for their sponsorship and for offering flying lessons and tips in their flying field for the two days of the event. They also provide the morning goodies for the flyers and staff. Our thanks also go out to Sid’s Market who provides all the beverages for the event and the World Kite Museum makes the lunches for our staff and flyers. Super ‘8’ Motel and the Bank of the Pacific help make the event possible with their advertising… Hats off to you all, the event could not happen without each of you!

And a very special thanks to Genny (“Huggs”) and Eric Forsberg for a great event… For roughly two decades they have been wonderful  volunteer supporters of kite flying in the Northwest, bringing a unique warmth to Long Beach and to sport kite competition as a whole.

       Lisa Root