I was approached by e-mail and phone by Walter Plummer of Jamaica to bring our TKO Sport Kite Team to Jamaica to perform in an unusual charitable event at the Discover Bay area of North central Jamaica. the event name was VroomJamaica RC & Kite Xtravaganza, where proceeds (after expenses) from the event would go to benefit the “Coalition in Support of Adolescent Leadership Training” (CSALT).
After contacting my team mates to find out who could go for this June 28 event, only one regular team mate could go (Chris Shultz) now living in North Carolina. I needed another team member to go, so I phone Skyburner Kites (Jon Trennepohl) in Michigan and asked him to be a substitute/alternate team member of TKO Sport Kite Team, and Jon accepted.
We all flew to Jamaica from our home states (Texas, North Carolina, Michigan), and met in the Jamaican city of Montego Bay. From there Walter’s friends and designated event drivers “Vern & Ferron” drove us to our host hotel for the event. the “Runaway Bay Heart Hotel”. As we would soon learn, not only is the Runaway Bay Heart Hotel a rather nice 3 star hotel, it is also the countries training hotel, to teach hotel staff about working resort style hotels. Jodianne Simpson and Mrs. Lois Allen were the event contacts for the Hotel, and they both provided an excellent stay, and excellent service to the few invited event guest. The food at this hotel is top grade quality, and very delicious, rooms are clean and spacious, with a great view of Runaway Bay, as the hotel sits on the side of the mountains!
This event was not a kite specific event that we are accustomed to attending, instead it is a Radio Controlled Model airplane and car Xtravaganza, with kites and other entertainment added for more visual and audio flavor, to thrill the thousands of attending spectators. There was music acts by Digicel Rising Star “Romain Virgo”, a Kid Talent Bank Dance Troupe, created and directed by the event coordinators wife and professional dancer/choreographer “Charlene Hylton-Plummer”, a professional music MC “Jerry D (the Vibe Master).
-Invited participants included-
RC Cars performers:
- Team MARCTT (Mobile Automobile Racing Club of Trinidad & Tobago) members: (Neil Cooper, Paula Neisha, Matthew Russell, Leisel Gheseawan, Peter, Kalid & Alisha Mohammed)
- RCAJ – Mike Dela Motta, Phillip Chong, Ras Shaq, Gary Sailsman, Horace Bennett, Fabian, Robin Blaine, of Jamaica.
RC Airplane performers:
- Flying High Club of Jamaica
- AC Glenn (RC Electronic tournament of champions winner) and father Albert Glenn Senior, from Tennessee, USA.
Sport Kite performers:
TKO Sport Kite Team – USA
- Troy Gunn – Texas
- Chris Shultz – North Carolina
- Jon Trennepohl – Michigan).
The venue for the event was held at Port Rhoades Sports Club (formerly Kaiser Sports Club). The sports club is made up of a very large Cricket & Soccer fields, complete with a concessions building, locker rooms, and stadium bleachers. It is located on the side of a mountain overlooking Discovery Bay, and is owned by the main event sponsor “St. Ann Bauxite Mining Company. Bauxite Company mines raw ore material that is used to make aluminum. The venue is in the same mountainous area that is famous for Push Cart racing, that was featured in the movie “Cool Runnings”, that was about the first Olympic Jamaican Bobsled Team.
During this one day event, the RC cars teams built a temporary race track, do fun demo races, complete with a couple of ramp jumps for the cars to fly over. Crashes were always appreciated by the crowds!
A young man, 19 year old AC Glenn and his father Albert Glenn Sr. wowed the crowd with their RC airplane flying skills throughout the day. Later that night AC showed us a video on his laptop of indoor RC airplane flying that he’s done, and all I can say is ‘WOW”! This guy is good! I’m proud to say that after AC watched me fly my Revolution 1.5 B-Series kite at the event, AC is now hooked on flying Revs and said he would be buying one. If this guy ends up flying a Rev like he flies RC Planes, he’ll be a force to be reckoned with!
Our team TKO flew a few team demos, and a few large single line kites, to the delight of the spectators and RC teams whom had never seen sport kite team flying before. Chris had brough a Peter Lynn buggy and HQ Traction foil kites and did kite buggy demos, and since this area is filled with Jamaica Push Cart fanatics, they naturally fell I love with kite buggying! When Chris was using the buggy, he allowed a group of teenage boys to use his buggy to use as a Push Cart. There was a small hill next to the edge of the sport club field, and the boys would push the kite buggy up the hill, and then roll down. This kept them entertained and fighting over who would go next, all day! Even after many crashes in the buggy, they would still pop up with huge smiles on there faces!
Walter Plummer’s wife Charlene led performances of her Kid’s Talent Bank Dance Troupe, where many young children performed excellent well choreographed dance routines. This was also a crowd favorite!
Jerry “D” (the Vibes Master) kept the music playing all day, with a mixture of traditional Jamaican Raggae music, hip hop, etc…
Food and crafts were plentiful, as the edge of the sports complex was filled with a variety of food and craft vendors, YUM!
Before everything got underway, there was an opening ceremony where all the teams and performers marched with their team/club banners in front of the Grand stands filled with thousands of people, each team proudly displaying their country or team/club flags and banners. Our team TKO flew HQ Kites, Skyburner Kites banners. This was done in Olympic game style!
With each event, none of it could be possible without funding and support from generous sponsors, and this event was no exception.
Sponsors for the 2008 VRoom Jamaica RC & Kite XTravaganza were:
Main Title Sponsors:
- St Ann Bauxite Mining Company
(Port Rhodes sport club committee, Nelson Barton and Mr. Watson).
- Red Bull (Irie fM, Mitchell Watson).
- Eureka Heavy Equipment Ltd (Easton Reid).
- Runaway Bay Heart Hotel.
- Julian’s Egg Farm
- Quick Print
- Faith Med Pharmacy (Donovan Johnson).
- HQ Kites – USA
- Skyburner Kites
- New Tech Kites
- Kool Runnings Water Park in Negril
- Strawberry Fields Together (private getaway resort).
- Kevin Smith of Power Giggs Designer House.
- Walter and Charlene Plummer
This event was well organized by Walter and Charlene Plummer, and is an excellent yet exciting family friendly event for Jamaica. With the proper amount of sponsors in the future, future annual events should prove to be spectacular, and the crowds will no doubt increase even more!
No international festival invitation trip is complete, without getting the chance to do some local sight seeing/touring and sampling the local food and drink, and this event was no exception. Because of the generosity of Walter Plummer and sponsors, the day after the festival we were able to take a 3 hour bus ride west of Discovery Bay, to Negril.
Negril is in far west Jamaica is a popular tourist area of the Island of Jamaica, known for it’s great white sand beaches, and private resort activity beaches, and party atmosphere. We visited Kool Runnings Water Park, Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville restaurant and private beach area, and the famous light house. Those from Trinidad decided to visit and play at the water park, while our team TKO and a few others enjoyed kicking back in beach lounge chairs at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville beach/restaurant. We sat around drinking Jamaican Red Stripe Beer, flying a few single line kites, and watching string bikini babes walking around. Life is rough!
After leaving Margaritaville beach, we drove down the road a few kilometers to the famous light house and cliff diving area. This was right before sunset, and the sunset was spectacular! It was told to us by Rasta man that Famous Reggae singer Bob Marley actually lived in the light house for many years. Underneath the light house is a cave that disappears then reappears 10 to 20 meters away, so that there are two entrance/exits to the cave. The cliffs behind the light house are about 15 meters high and are used for cliff diving. Later that night we drive back to the Heart Hotel at St Anns.
The next day we are taken to the far S.E. end of Jamaica (3 hours drive), through Ocho Rios and the mountain area where the Famous Blue Mountain Coffee is grown. We end up at a remote private resort (event sponsor) named Strawberry Fields Together. This place is a small family owned resort that is remotely located down rough roads and jungle areas. When we arrived, we were very pleasantly surprised at the beauty and tranquility of the place. It features several family style cottages that can sleep up to 8 people per cottage, the main house where all meals are served, a honeymoon cabin/house and two breathtaking small inlet bays to swim in. Activities there include: horse back riding, ATV rides thru the trails and jungle, swimming, scuba diving, snorkelling, and relaxing. We spent a couple days there and enjoyed the owners (Kim & Everton) gracious hospitality! We even spent a few hours teaching them and their son to fly stunt kites. The afternoon before leaving to return home, our team TKO was brought to a local village school, where we performed some team flying for a few dozen school children and their teachers. None of them had ever seen kite flying like what we demonstrated. We few in a rough grass field that also had goats roaming around while we were flying, but we managed to fly without hitting any goats.
One of the amazing things about Jamaica is, that if you were homeless there, there is no reason to ever starve. With Jamaica being and island, fishing is abundant, and various types of fruit trees are everywhere! Jamaica is also famous for it’s excellent Jerk Chicken. We ate at the “Ultimate Jerk Centre” in St. Anns several nights, which is an open air beach restaurant and bar. Nothing like good Jerk Chicken, some Red Stripe Beer, and good conversations with kiting friends!
Team TKO wants to thank Walter and Charlene Plummer, the Hotel and resort staff, and sponsors for a great event, and wonderful hospitality!
We hope to be back in 2009!