2003 AKA Convention and Grand Nationals (Day 1)

While we didn’t originally plan to include Monday in the nightly updates, I arrived in Columbus a couple hours early on Sunday and decided to ride down with my old buddy Mike Gillard to get a jump on the action… Although there wasn’t a whole lot to report, I somehow got a wild hair wedged somewhere motivating.

Monday morning saw a good chill in the air, a small number of attendees could be found talking it up over breakfast buffet at the host Hope Hotel… As the day progressed volunteers and staff worked hard to set up fields, registration tables and raffle stuff for the evening.  When registration opened up right on schedule at 1pm a surprising number of people seemed to be present for a Monday at AKA Convention.

Out on the fields a few competitors were practicing for the upcoming events… Team Air Zone from California, Ron Graziano, Scott Weider and others tested the prevailing winds which were variable from 4-8mph at my best guess. The huge American Flag was straight out most of the day, but ground winds seemed to be challenging at times.

Susan Skinner rallied people into arranging boundaries for the general area as well as five full size competition and demo fields… With TONS of room to spare!

Come 6pm people started to gather in the banquet room of our hotel for the evening’s function which entailed Hors d’Oeurves, dinner, cash bar and a cool raffle featuring a few excellent “bonus ticket” pieces… Buying a sheet of 15-20 tickets for $10, you also receive 2 bonus tickets for select prizes as opposed to the usual goodies which were in abundance.

I must say that this was one of the largest turnouts I’ve ever seen at one of these things on a Monday… I think this says good things, as more than a couple hundred people arrived for the evening’s gathering.

Hors d’Oeurves included cheese, crackers and fruit… Then as tables were called off by lotto people went off to grab dinner from an excellent buffet! With prompt service, the hotel kept serving up trays of tasty chicken, roast beef, green beans, steamed veggies and three kinds of pie.  If ever you question the cost of registration for this event, believe me when I tell you it’s worth it!

Old friends caught up on things, old times were remembered… New friends were made, particularly our host members from region 5 of the AKA.

And that’s it for now… It’s 12:30am in Dayton Ohio and I’m ready to rest up for a new day.  I’ll be judging OIF, MIB and MPB so count on some great reports in upcoming days.  I don’t know everyone by name, or who made what kite… But I’m here, doing what I love, and sharing.

Until tomorrow,

John Barresi