Issue 64: Windless Kite Festival

This little indoor festival is in it’s EIGHTH year…
…and getting better every year, too!

Yep – we’re headed back to Windless. It’s the annual indoor festival with the longest consecutive run in the USA – and for some darned good reasons, too!

“Oh sure…” you say. “What could be more boring than hanging around in a grade school gym all weekend, watching a bunch of old fuddy-duddies trot around the floor, slinging flimsy kites into the air and calling it a competition?” Well, if you said that – you’d be dead wrong. It’s a fine festival, in an excellent location, and the caliber of indoor flying is absolutely First Rate – and getting better every year!

So, to start the whole thing off, I picked up Scott Weider at the Portland airport on Wednesday. Yes, THAT Scott Weider, from back in Coventry, Rhode Island, all the way across the country! Well – THAT’s one of the unique things about Windless! What other lowly Indoor Festival has “invited participants” every year? Scott was this year’s “hosted” flier. So Scotty and I hung around our house on Thursday and then made the short two-hour jaunt over to Long Beach early Friday afternoon. First Stop? Well, The World Kite Museum and Hall of Fame, of course – a favorite festival sponsor, and the beneficiary of any revenues that happened to come in this weekend.

I’ve been collecting kites on behalf of the Museum for over a decade now, and it’s getting to be high time to turn a few of these “collectibles” over to the Museum. I’m out of free storage space and the Museum finally has PLENTY of space now – and I also had another mission or two there as well. I was dropping off a few “loaner” kites too – and in addition, I figured it was time that Scott Wider (their invited flier) and the Museum staff finally got to meet each other! So I dropped off 5-6 kites to add to the Museum’s collection, and then loaned them another half dozen of Claris Skoczdople’s lovely mini-kites to help put a Museum display together. Scotty got busy charming both Kay Buesing, the Museum’s Director, and Sharon Absher, the Office Manager from the Museum, and he also took a few minutes for his very first tour through the Museum itself.

Then it was off to the condo to check in. Theresa Norelius of The Kite Shoppe had us booked into a Worldmark Condo unit right on the beach in Long Beach, and Theresa and her pal Nena Grey had already checked us in and were busy filling the larder with food for our meals and setting up the wine cellar for the revolving-door Open House that sometimes occurrs when we go to a kiting event. The ladies were well into the process, and I know better than to disturb them once that process is underway. Instead, Scott and I dumped our luggage in our room, grabbed a parking pass and a key from the front desk, and bolted out the door again, headed for the Long Beach Elementary School. Hooray!!! We were going to “Windless” and the gym was open for free-flying!

Well, we walked into the gym… and it almost felt like a “Kiter’s Family Reunion.” The indoor flier community in the Northwest Sport Kite League (NWSKL) is robust group – all friends, able to laugh and joke and kid each other. Yep, there’s Jerry Cannon… a two-time World Sport Kite Competition Champion. And there’s Dick Curran, a retired fellow who’s well known around the Northwest as an outdoor SLK kite-builder / flier, who’s recently taken to showing up at Indoor events and competing very well – though Dick will tell you that he’s not AT ALL interested in competition, and only wants a chance to FLY his KITES! And Dick has brought his “sidekick,” young Toby Arndt who looks to be a very good indoor pilot (maybe 15 years old, give or take) and is just a delightful guy to have around. And a couple of old pals are there who’ve been there every year from the very beginning – Scott Davis, the Windless “founder” and Bill Rogers, the current AKA Indoor “rules” guru – and our Head Judge for this competition. And lest you thing this is an “all guys” affair, Marcia Cannon, Susan Davis, and Jeannie Rogers are all there too – and a welcomed and integral part of these events! And there are several other only slightly less notable (or “notorious?”) folks in attendance as well – maybe 20-25 people in attendance with about half of them out on the floor – flying. Hey, here’s Amy Doran (AKA Region 9 Director) and her son Connor, just arriving. And more are coming in all the time… After all, it’s only 5:30 PM, so maybe another 12 or 15 people will show up before we shut down at 9:00 tonight!

They keep on coming in, too. Andy Kramer from Yreka, /California shows up, and David Bradley from Milwaukie, Oregon arrives. And Chuck and Carole Blevins from right here in Long Beach, Washington. And of course we’re all happy to see Bob and Donna Wendt come in, because Bob’s our M/C and sound guy for the weekend.

Well, what it’s all about around the NWSKL is… our PEOPLE! If you’re an indoor flier in the NWSKL, you’ll very likely have attended 3-4 indoor competitions already in this Competition year. Heck, there’s one indoor comp in NWSKL that holds four (4) separate comps in a single weekend – and that one’s already in the books for this year! Then the outdoor season starts up and you get to see these same people flying outdoors about every other weekend throughout the spring and summer. Some fly comps, and some do not. Some are avid competitors, but most folks are just in it for the sheer joy of flying Kites. Oh, and these folks are also in the sport for the close camaraderie evident in this kiting community of course. And we’re beginning to see some cross-overs now too. Sport Kiters who occasionally get caught with a kite having only one line attached (Horrors!), or SLK die-hards who’ll sneak away quietly and pick up the lines on a delta-dualie or even a pair of Rev handles! And if someone has a busted spar, or a sick kid, or needs help setting up or tearing down, or maybe a ride into town – someone else will be there to lend a hand or otherwise help out, and will be quite happy to do it too!

Saturday morning breaks bright and clear, but with about a 20 mph off-shore wind with rather “crisp” temps, so it’s NOT a good “outdoor day.” Good thing we’re all inside, hanging out and playing with “our family.” The gym opened sometime before 10 am, but you couldn’t really prove it by me. I dropped Scotty Weider off at the gym, and went on to make a few rounds. First stop was the kite shop in town. There may be other kite shops in Long Beach, but I dropped by “Above It All Kites” just to say Hi and ask how things are going… Dave and Keli Colbert, old frineds who own the place aren’t there, but the nice lady who’s working the register today gives me the lowdown on darned near everything. Yep – Long Beach is your typical beach community where everybody knows everybody else – and maybe everything about them all, too. Then it was a stop by the bakery for a scone and some fresh coffee. And… but you don’t really care about the rest of my “ramblins” for an hour or so. Suffice it to say that the old Elementary School hadn’t left its assigned foundation during my absence, and all the required – and many of the desired – folks were present and participating in their self-assigned tasks, just like I’d hoped would happen when I drove away. Yep – we were gonna have an indoor festival.

The first thing I noted when I finally “arrived,” was that Kay Buesing was in her proper spot – right in the middle of the entry-way – happily collecting donation money for the World Kite Museum. Good going, nice lady. Then I noticed that my good friend and landlady, Theresa Norelius, had her Kite Shoppe wares in place and was happy to help anyone out with an extra set of indoor lines, or a replacement spar, or even a kite if you have a mind to buy one. Good on you too, Theresa. I’m glad things are all in order, but I’ve gotta bypass you both and get in the gym – where the flying “action” is…

The morning’s free-fly melded straight into a series of indoor Demos, and it was catch-as-catch-can if you wanted some lunch. Other folks were going to be flying. Indeed, all of the folks who’d come to fly got out their Demo music and gave us all a show and the building began to fill with an actual “audience.” And it was quickly apparent from the early flights that the “vibes” or “karma” or whatever it is that governs these things – intended that we were going to see one heck of a show today, and the caliber of flight was really gonna astound some people. Nearly everyone who came to Windless to fly flew a Demo or two. Dick Curran in his “resplendent best” demonstrated some fine single-line mastery. I’m certain Amy Doran gave one or maybe even a couple of demos. But what Scott Weider did with his custom indoor Revolution simply stole my heart away. Flying to “In The Arms Of An Angel” by Sarah McLaughlan, Scotty demonstrated what “low and slow” really means for a Rev flier, floating his kite over the gym floor at nearly stalling speed, swooping over the audience with his kite’s 30+ foot mylar tail, and displaying precise kite control right along with incredible musical sensitivity… Sarah McLaughlan’s music lends itself to that kind of treatment anyway, but Scott touched more than a few hearts with that demo performance with his razor-sharp precision, his total control over the entire performance, and his grace in demonstrating all the kite – and Scott – can do! Incredible! Sometimes you’re just lucky enough to be in the right frame of mind – at the right time – in the right place… Whatever it was, the omens sure looked good for an extra fine day of flying – after the leaks around my eyeballs dried, that is…

Well… As I said before, it’s all about the people. Scott Weider and I had decided we’d both shoot photos to try and capture the fliers and the kites if at all possible. That’s where we wanted to “focus” our efforts, if you’ll pardon the pun. So, since Scott was going to judge the competitions, it was up to me to try to capture the good images from the comps. I grabbed my camera and headed to an area in the grandstands where I’d be able to shoot pretty well without blocking the view for too many spectators… and we were underway with the competitions. Without belaboring anything, I’m going to give you my impressions of the competition flights of various competitors – all recounted in no particular order though I’ll try to come close to the proper sequence, because I frankly don’t remember the flight schedules on Saturday afternoon.

Dave Bradley started things out, I know that for sure. Dave flew three kites in his routine, and flies them quite well – especially since he’s not been flying indoors all that long. He flew easily and as smoothly as he could, given that he flew rather soft-floaty kites which tend to wobble a bit occasionally. The impression I have of Dave flying, however – is more an impression of being “one with the kites” rather than anything else. You watch his performance and get the feeling that he is serious, even intense, but is also just delighting in his syncronization with both the kite and the music surrounding him. I was impressed with his ability flying the kites and his grace on the floor as a human being, and I thought he may have flown well enough to medal.

Toby Arndt followed Dave. Toby is a youngster, and one of the bright soon-to-be-stars of the NWSKL. He’ll be there pretty quickly, too. He’s always serious about flying, but always has this wonderful sense of humor just hidden that’s just a finger-snap away – so that’s the way he approaches indoor competitions. Toby flies a set routine that he keeps “polishing” and it keeps on getting better – more refined – every time I see him compete. You can tell when he’s pleased with his routine, because that sense of humor keeps leaking out around the edges of his mouth in little half-grins and his eyes begin to twinkle. We saw lots of those grins and twinkles today, and he flew up near the top of his game. His music has a bit of “powerhouse” beat to it at times, and he hit all of his on-the-beat cues as well as I’ve seen him in competition. He flew very well, though I had no idea where he would score.

Zack Colbert is a real youngster who might not even be into his teens yet – out on the floor for his second competition ever. His dad, Jeremy, was our Field Director for the day’s competitions. Zack flew a PKC Wren, but it was quickly apparent that he was having trouble with the kite. Just one of those unfortunate deals where not enough experience leads to a kite slightly out of control, and the flier – in his haste to correct problems, amplifies them instead. Zack did okay at the very beginning but when things began to go sideways on him, he never quite got it back together. Everyone in the audience felt for him I’m sure, but there was just no helping things this time around. As we all preach to our kids, Zack – “Practice, practice, practice!” Experience – just enough “time on the lines” – is the only way it’ll ever really improve. We all felt for you however – and we’ve all “been there” too, Zack.

Jennifer Brown runs hot and cold. As Little Orphan Annie, she’s dynamite! Put the same flier out on the floor flying to her mid-teens high school kid music, and she’s suddenly “uninspiring!” And today, either her heart or her head wasn’t “in it!” Oh… she didn’t fly very BADLY. I’ll give her that. Her performance today was just sorta “flat.” The occasional burble where the kite got cock-eyed. The axle that wasn’t as flat as it might be, so the timing of it going around was a little off too – which made her a half second late into the next part of her routine. And so forth… I guess “lackluster” might be the word I ‘m searching for here. She’ll be back. She’ll get a little time this summer and spend some of it on the beach flying – and all those “socko” flying skills she had will resurrect themselves, and Jen’ll be fine. She’s been in the sport long enough to know how to correct her problems. And – finally – today was just NOT her day…

Jeez… It seems to me like I’ve just spend an hour writing about some people who were sort of “flat” at best! I walked in the gym door today all prepared for just a “killer” day, and now the world seems to be going topsy-turvey – or “soft” – on me… Oh well, the comps keep on rolling on anyway!

Young Kristian Slater came onto the comp floor carrying a couple of strikes against him right with him – and I knew it! When I say “carrying a couple of strikes” I’m referring to his kite – an old Hot Pepper! I haven’t seen one of them flown in competition in quite a while – and this one didn’t appear to be in very pristine condition anyway. Still, youth and exuberance can sometimes make a positive difference, so give it a go, Kristian! He did try hard, I’ll give Kristian that! But about 20-30 seconds into his up-beat routine (which was ost appropriate for that kite), his kite got floppy on him, and the lines knotted up, and Kristian DQed himself on the spot. Bob Wendt killed the music and wished Kristian well with a “Maybe next time…” Kristian, please come back. Bring a different – better – kite with you. Practice wouldn’t hurt either. You need to know you can fly your kite without crashing for as long as your music runs. But we want to see you back out there – believe me, it can only get better next time!

Well, sometimes pay-back can indeed be that “female dog” we all joke about. But occasionally, pay-back can take a different turn too. Connor Doran has had about the world’s worst luck imaginable a much higher than average portion of the time he’s competed. Believe me – if something bad can happen to a comp flier – indoors or outdoors – it’s already happened to Connor Doran! And I was concerned for Connor again today too, because he was coming onto the floor carrying a brand new Custom Indoor Rev he’d received for Christmas from his mom, Amy Doran – our AKA Region 9 Director! He’d only been able to practice with that kite for a single week, and here he was out there competing with it! Oh, man… I dunno about all of this…

Connor smiled his little half-smile at the audience, set out his kite very carefully, listened courteously to Bob Wendt’s intro, and then his music started. Into the air the kite soared, and… he HAD CONTROL of it! And we all sat and watched, mesmerized, as Connor motored that indoor Rev around the floor like he’d been doing it all his life! Forwards. Backwards. Upright and inverted. Up-and-overs. Side slides. Precise, planned, turns. Flying to the music – flying WITH the music! MY GOD, this kid’s actually gonna DO IT! And after about the first 45 seconds, I just plain quit worrying about Connor Doran! There was no doubt in my mind that Connor would flat-out DIE before he’d let that kite crash to the floor! Time to start watching this routine instead… (and still take a few photos, too.)

Connor Doran knows music! He also knew the piece of music he was flying to extremely well. There was quickly no doubt at all that he knew that music, because he was flying to it like he WROTE it! Connor was flying separate moves with the musical phrases just like an artist would use brush-strokes to paint a picture in the air! Sweep here. Swirl there. Stop now. Start again – then go inverted about… NOW! Rise when the pitch goes up, fall when the pitch drops. Measure your strokes so you finish a “phrase” precisely where you want to when the phrase is exactly done. Ah, here comes that repetitive stuff, so start your sweeps back and forth in time with the music – NOW… and NOW… and NOW… and NOW… More brushwork stuff. A little backwards flight here, just for grins! A couple more swirls… Then on down to the big finish. Don’t try to land it and chance a crash… Instead, let it fall sideways into a slide… and drift it slowly to the floor WITH THE MUSIC, please… There! The music’s stopped… (whew!)

The sobs from his mother up in the grandstand preceded the big ovation from the audience by less than half a second… I put the camera down gently… and wasn’t far behind with a few tears of my own for the second time today!

Yep, sometimes pay-back can indeed be that “female dog” we all joke about. But sometimes, the BIG DOG gets up off his haunches and flat out grabs it by the horns and SHAKES IT to death, too!

Next up was Dick Curran. Dick’s known far and wide for his somewhat bizarre attire which he’d worn earlier in the day for Demos, but he came onto the floor shrouded in a full-length black raincoat, wearing a black top-hat, and carrying a lovely winged cellular kite and his trademark banner pole to fly it from. The big surprise occurred when Dick removed the raincoat to divulge an all-white tuxedo with a red vest and bow-tie! Then he proceeded to set up, let the music start and fly! The cellular swept around the floor – sometimes inches off the deck, other times high above – almost in the rafters! The kite itself was lovely (as was Dick’s attire, of course), and it had an added attraction to it. The kite would fly on its back as easily as it would fly on it’s front, so Dick kept the kite in motion – turning and twisting and rising and falling with the music, and it also had “back-flips in its repertoire as an added attraction too. Altogether, the routine was quite entrancing, almost mesmerizing too. Dick should score very well with a routine like that one. Things’re finally looking up again!

Then we had another good break. Andy Kramer took to the floor and flat-out “Wowed” all of us both with his flying and his music. Andy flew one of the new Focus Kite “Skates” that’ve made such an impact on indoor flying – and flew it magnificently too. Andy had the kite set up as an indoor “glider” with just a tiny nose-down attitude. He’d slowly pull the kite to its apex, then drop the flying line and let it drift a while… The nose-down would keep just the tiniest bit of way on the kite sail to maintain steerability. Turns and reverses were handled with very gentle pulls on the flight line – no tugs or (God forbid) yanks! Andy used music that seemed almost written for the glider’s flight rather than the other way around. A very lovely routine, and I thought it would score better than it apparently did.

Amy Doran was the next competitor up, flying in a “dress” (I’ve known Amy for 3-4 years now, and it’s the very first time I’ve ever seen her wear one!) with her shocking Pink Indoor Rev. I don’t know what it was about Amy today, but she just seemed sort of “flat.” Maybe it was the fact that she was moving up to Master’s class this year and feeling the pressure, or perhaps she was still a bit stunned by the routine her son Connor had flown just a few minutes earlier. There was nothing obviously “wrong” with her flying – no bad maneuvers that I saw, or flying out of tempo with the music. It just seemed like she was flying a “get through it” routine, rather than her usual active, exuberant self. Still, it was a nice routine, well flown as far as I could see. Just not overly exciting!

The Grand Old Man was our next pilot – Jerry Cannon and his inevitable Wren. I call Jerry “Mr. Low and Slow” and if there’s such a thing as the “Master of the PKC Wren,” Jerry comes as close to that mark as anyone I’ve seen fly one! And today was no exception to that rule, either. Jerry put on his patented “show” – flying low and slow, and showing us all the tricks that a Wren can do… Axels and Fades and a few short side-slides, and all the rest of the Indoor pilot’s maneuvers and moves. Always dead-on with the music too – and it was Jerry’s very normal highly “polished” performance. High marks for this lovely routine for certain, and well deserved too, Jerry! Thanks for the fine exhibition!

Bud Hayes followed Jerry, also flying is PKC Wren. Bud’s a “quality” pilot and a first-class individual too. And he turned in a quite creditable performance. He especially “wowed” the audience from the start by pulling a 360 side-slide straight out of his launch. That got a few eyebrows lifting and then a nice round of applause to start his performance. Bud flew his normal well rehearsed routine, but I think he needs just a little more “fire” in his tank to best the rest of the NWSKL Masters class. If everything goes exactly right, he’s the Golden Boy and wins it all, but there were a couple of small burbles today that left him in the money but probably off the top step. Nice routine Bud, very high quality flying too, and a little dedicated practice might help you jump the last few inches of that last hurdle.

And our final contestant for the day is the guy that started the whole shebang eight years ago – Scott Davis. Yes, we were treated to the typical Davis attire – not quite up to Dick Curran’s extraordinary garb, but everyone still knew Scotty was out there nonetheless – and flying his fine old Indoor Pizazz as usual, too! Scott Davis is really an “old school” indoor pilot. For him, Indoor is all about the moves, the tricks, and flying to the music! And he does it all with extraordinary energy and “pizazz” just like his kite! And NOT to be forgotten, Scott Davis showed everyone that he still had the energy and experience that a routine like this takes. Lots of up-n-overs, axels, half-axels, roll-up hand-launches, catches, a few slides and fades, and so forth – all done in a high-energy rock-n-roll kinda way! The main is an incredible flier – what more can I say? My mental score sheet had the top 2-3 contestants very close on scores (so it’s probably a good thing I’m not a judge, eh folks?).

Following the end of the competition (or the cessation of hostilities), the “Good Witch” Penny Lingenfelter took to the floor with her Revs for a final demo flight. If you’ve not seen this lady with her costumes and flying paraphernalia and high energy, you need to find out where Penny’s “exhibiting” and go and watch her fly – especially since she’s quite likely to gather every kid in the place (regardless of age) and put them into costumes and drag ’em all out on the floor flying kites as a part of one of her routines! Penny is an incredible Revolution pilot too, but has opted for group performances to showcase her considerable flying skills.

Still, we couldn’t hang around too much longer. Some folks wanted a shower and a change of clothes before heading for the Potluck “Banquet” over at the World Kite Museum at 6:00 pm. Besides, we kiters all needed to stop and either make or buy something to contribute to the potluck. So our party all headed back to the condo to refresh and gather our stuff in readiness for a fine meal and a good time over at the Museum.

The “Banquet” is your rather typical potluck dinner with a couple of unusual differences. The “theme” is Italian, which means anything goes as long as it goes with something Italian. Not much difference there. The “banquet hall,” however is a gem to behold, because it’s the main display room for the Museum – meaning you’re absolutely surrounded by kites and kite paraphernalia. Bag Raffles? Certainly! Auctions? Yup! Programs and announcements? Absolutely! A guaranteed “action packed” evening with your fellow kiters. Oh – and all of the day’s contestants eagerly await (1) the posting of the scores, and (2) the hand-out of awards for the day’s flying. I’ll post the day’s score-sheet below (purloined directly from the NWSKL website). You also need to know (a) that NWSKL will divide the scores into Masters and Experienced classes, and (b) you might also want to notice how the two Doran contentants (Amy and Connor) scores compared with each other… Heh-heh…

The food was extraordinary – as usual – and there was more than enough for a visiting army if one happened by. Kay Buesing, Museum Director gave a short recap of the year’s events for the Museum, the most significant of which was divulging that the Museum’s building is entierly paid off at this point! Some incredible raffle items ended up going home with delighted kite fliers too. A superb brand-new hand-made quilt featuring kites as a motif? Several brand new and quite expensive kites – both SLKs and Dualie sport models. Various edibles, kite paraphernalia, other items with kites on the label, etcetera… My pal Scott Weider (the invited flier from Rhode Island) said he bought $20 worth of raffle tickets. He won a brand new 90# x 120′ Laser Pro Gol Quad lineset worth $70.00 retail, and three tickets for the AKA 2009 Convention drawing… He figures he got his money’s worth and then some – especially since he was prepared to think of his $20.00 as a “donation” to the Museum! I forget what the Auction item(s) were, so won’t recount them here. All proceeds went straight into the Museum’s coffers, of course. All in all, we made short work of it. In by 6:00 pm. Out well before 8:30 pm, including clean-up!

Then it was back to the condo and our own “open house.” We’d brought a bunch of wine with us, and Ms. Theresa had lucked out and gotten four of us into one of the luxury suites – meaning a bathroom for each of the three bedrooms, “pretties” all over the walls and floors and furniture, and a HOT TUB of our very own on the outside deck. GOSH, were we ever popular! I suppose free wine and a relaxing seat in the Hot Tub will do that every time – at least with a gaggle of tired kite pilots! So, when Scott and I arrived, we weren’t the first ones there by any stretch. Theresa and Nena had preceeded us home, and Andy Kramer and Theresa were already soaking in the Hot Tub, and Nena was holding court in the Living / Dining Room. I opted for a glass of wine, and Scotty went to change into his suit so he could boil the kinks of a day’s judging and flying out… Dave Bradley showed up shortly, as did Amy and Connor Doran and several others. It got to the point where it seemed like a constant revolving flow between the bathroooms (folks changing into / out of suits), the living / Dining Room where the wine and plates of nibbles lived, and the deck with the big draw of the Hot Tub… Theresa and I, and occasionally Scott or Nena, tried to play “hosts” a bit, but that didn’t last very long – probably a useless effort anyway since everyone there was a kiter of one sort or another. Yep – we had a small, rather free-form Kite Shoppe “Windless” party…

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a couple of visiting dignitaries to the Windless this year, and now’s a good time to do it. We had a couple of delightful folks come up from Lincoln City, Oregon to watch this event. Maggie Conrad is a project manager for the Visitors and Conventions Bureau from Lincoln City, and she and husband Eric came up to see how other folks put on an Indoor Kite Festival. We’ll be going down to Lincoln City in a few short weeks for the Lincoln City Indoor, which Maggie organizes and orchestrates – and it’s a MUCH different affair than we’re used to. For that one, a few select pilots will be joining Lee and Debbie Park and participating in a real “show” a la something you’d see on stage in Las Vegas or produced by Cirque de Soleil! Anyway, Maggie is a wonderful lady and we were delighted to have both of them join us for the weekend and we’ll truly look forward to seeing them again in a few short weeks. Look for another write-up on the Lincoln City Indoor Kite Festival, including Maggie’s efforts on our behalf, in your NEXT issue of Kitelife! And thanks so much for the nice bottle of Smokin’ Loon Pinot Noir you brought to our soiree, Maggie. It slid down real smooth!

Competition Results of the “2009 Windless Indoor Kite Festival”

1 *Jerry Cannon 78.850
2 * Scott Davis 75.650
3 * Bud Hayes 73.267
4 Connor Doran 71.950
5 Richard Curran 70.717
6 * Amy Doran 69.833
7 Dave Bradley 69.633
8 Tobias Arndt 64.833
9 Andrew Kramer 64.317
10 Jennifer Brown 60.750
11 Zach Colbert 53.600
DQ Kristian Slater DQ

Also present, but not competing – Penny Lingenfelter

Judges – Bill Rogers (Head Judge), Don Ostey, Jeannie Rogers, Kirstie Hayes, Scott Weider

Field Director – Jeremy Colbert

* Masters Class competitors (all others competed in Experienced Class)

The next morning, the weather outside was a carbon copy of the day before – dang cold, with honkin’ winds from the East. Still, we were back at it again in the school gym with pilots warming up for Demos later and tuning up their “trick” gear for the Hot Tricks competition late in the morning, and free-flying until Hot Tricks starts at 11:00 am…

I roamed around the gym, shot some more photos, and said Hi to other folks – like Marla Miller (AKA Region 10 Director) and hubby Ron, Al Councilman (a Washington State International Kite Festival committeman) and wife Joan, etcetera. Schmoozing with the crowd is my sepcialty – especially since I don’t take a bit of it seriously!

Hot Tricks! If you’ve not watched one before, it’ll take a little explaining. It’s really a single elimination head-on-head tourney between pilots. The pilots who are NOT flying at the moment are the judges, and they simply vote on which of the two pilots who ARE flying has the won the round. Well – what’s the setup? Prerecorded music tracks are overlaid with “countdowns” on 30 second intervals. Each pilot flies his best trickes for 30 seconds by the music, and then it’s the other pilot’s turn to fly and show his stuff to the judges for his allotted 30 seconds… They swap back and forth five times, giving each pilot three 30 second intervals to display their chops for the judges. ANY trick goes (we’ve seen pilots pass out “bribe” Chocolate Chip Cookies to the “judges” occasionally)… Anyway, the Judges decisions are final. Judges can request additional tie-breaker legs in case of a deadlock in Hot Tricks voting. Pilots who lose remain part of the judging panel until it’s all over. One winner takes all the glory and the bragging rights – and usually not much else (prizes or trophies for Hot Tricks are VERY unusual)!

So at 11:00 am, eight pilots conveined on the floor and we began the Hot Tricks Shoot-out! But there were some different Pilots today. Scott Weider (who was judging yesterday) was in there – as was Penny Lingenfelter who is normally a 99.9 percent Demo pilot, but she likes to get in there and ramble with the boys every now and then. Besides, Penny had won the same event last year, so she figured she should at least show good sportsmanship and attempt to defend her title again this year. Darned it she didn’t pull it off THIS YEAR too, beating Scott Davis in the final elimination round. Of all the pilots present, Scotty’s probably the best pure indoor “tricks” pilot there!

Final competition results can be found here –

Then we were into the Demos – which the pilots LOVE!!! There’s NO “competition” pressure. No rules and regulations other than “Fly Safe” and “Have Fun!” They get to fly directly for the audience, for their peers, or for themselves too. And they have the floor all to themselves for however long the music takes (Certain restrictions apply, based on what ever the sound guy is willing to put up with. Flying to entire albumns of music is likely to get your next Demo slot cancelled by the sound guy, however.)

Nearly every pilot demoed at least once, many of them multiple times. Penny Lingenfilter “did her thing” and recruited about everyone who looked like they were willing to be a kid for 10 minutes into her “cast of thousands” production of Dr. Seuss’s “Green Eggs and Ham” recording – WITH the sound guy’s understanding well ahead of time! Out came Penny’s steamer trunks and foot lockers full of costumes and spare kites, and even a bit of makeup here and there. Poor Steve, Penny’s husband. I bet I know who gets to put all those costumes away again when the “kids” disrobe and just dump their costumes…

Yep, we stayed to the very end again since we weren’t leaving Long Beach until the next morning. A smaller gathering of Hot Tubbers Sunday night. Easing back into “normal” life again. Yep – we’ll be back again next year for sure! Won’t you come an join us? I can’t promise a captive hot tub again next year, but we’ll be in town somewhere.

Fair Winds and Good Friends –