Page 14 - World Airshow MayJun-2018
P. 14

JULIE VESSIGAULT: MY AIRSHOW WORLD




                   Airshow Support Barnstorming





                            A    irshow season is in full swing! I   week, I cleaned several airplanes’ bellies, and cleaned Jim Tobul’s
                                                               Corsair’s tail section.
                                 begin my story on April 4, as I
                                                                 When Sun ‘n Fun was over, I went to Bonham Field where
                                 am setting out from Kissimmee,
                                 Florida on my first Airshow Sup-  some of the performers were staged for the Thunder Over Louis-
                             port Barnstorming Road Trip of 2018.   ville Air Show. I didn’t have a cleaning role this time, I was there
                             My mission is to serve as support to   to support performer hospitality.  
                             Hugh Oldham and David Clinkscales,   As my airshow friends know, in order to feed myself and the
                             setting up the sound system for the   Little White Barnstormer II, I clean airplanes. The Red Star Pi-
                             highly respected Thunder in the Valley   lots Association group in Lebanon, Tennessee lined up four Nan-
                             Air Show in Columbus, Georgia. The   changs for me to clean, and while they left for an exhibition in
                             airshow director, Phaedra Childers,   nearby Shelbyville, I cleaned a Bonanza and an RV-4 as well!
                             had invited me when I talked to her at   When Skip Stewart learned I was in his state, he invited me to
                             ICAS back in December, so I was ex-  Memphis to clean his Twin Comanche airshow support plane.
        cited looking forward to having a role at airshow center. Another   He and his crew provided excellent hospitality. It was really neat
        exciting experience would be the                                                to see first-hand the unique tables
        AeroShell Aerobatic Team’s debut                                                and furnishings Skip and Cari
        of their newest paint scheme and                                                had built. The rotating cutaway
        Jimmy Fordham’s first full season                                               Pratt and Whitney R985 built by
        flying the slot position in Gene                                                Skip’s friend, was the highlight!
        McNeely’s place.                                                                It has since become an internet
          I donated a bottle of aviation                                                sensation! 
        gin to their silent auction. You                                                  I also took in a show at the
        should  have  seen  Kent  Pietsch                                               Grand Ole Opry because a war-
        and Shelley Tobul battle it out for                                             bird pilot was playing some coun-
        the highest bid, all in the name                                                try music! Really, Aaron Tippin is
        of supporting the local charities!                                              a country music star, and a super
        Steve  Gustafson  spied  a  STIHL                                               supporter of  airshows.  He  asked
        weedwhacker and bid on it. I re-                                                me to clean his T-6 at the 2017
        ally wanted it too…for a couple                                                 Sun ‘n Fun, so it was important
        months. I outbid him by $5 just so                                              for me to include a shout out to
        I can have the privilege of deliver-                                            him!
        ing it to his new home, Hannah                                                    By the time I reached the At-
        Plantation, in June, following the                                              lanta area on my return to Kissim-
        Greenwood, Mississippi airshow.                                                 mee, Buck and Candi Roetman
          This was my second “perfor-                                                   were winding up their move into
        mance” at Thunder in the Valley.                                                their dream hangar home in Lu-
        Many memories were made there                                                   thersville. I was able to help them
        in 2013, also helping Hugh. One                                                 for a couple of hours. Brooke So-
        memory that stood out the most                                                  renson was Candi’s Chief of Relo-
        was getting to know Jane Wicker.                                                cation Relief and Support, having
        She set me up with a hotel room                                                 helped paint Candi’s sewing room
        for the weekend, then invited me                                                and feed the hungry moving crew. 
        to the Sun ‘n Fun announcer’s                                                     As I write this it’s May 10, and
        stand to participate in her show with Rock Skowbo.     I’m now home in Kissimmee for two days before I head out on
          From Columbus, I drove my Little White Barnstormer II (a   my next Airshow Support Barnstorming Road Trip. I hope to see
        green Saturn station wagon) direct to Sun ‘n Fun after getting   you at the next airshow!
        her new tires in Florida. At Sun ‘n Fun, I spent several mornings
        with the AeroShell Aerobatic Team and their sponsors as they   Julie has been volunteering or working at airshows for more
        filled each morning with the sound of six T-6s, waking the fly-  than a decade. She’s all about airshows. Center photo from
        in’s campers as they did sponsor rides. The rest of the days that    ladieslovetaildraggers.com.







                                         WORLD AIRSHOW NEWS   14  March/April 2018
   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19