View Full Version : The first time

07-07-2012, 11:26 AM
.....at the races. C'mon guys.....

1972. A buddy and I went cheap and camped at a KOA off of 395. I remember early morning, laying in the back of the truck and listening to a Mustang "slow-time" his engine and thinkin' "I've arrived!" First ever race I saw was won by Haden-Baille is his Sea Fury. Conquest 1, Roto-Finish Special, Mr. Mennan, Miss Candace........it was magical. And all these years later...it STILL is. Long Live the NCAR!:beerchug:

07-07-2012, 11:32 AM
1971. Cold, windy, blustery...a T-6 stood up on it's nose on the race-horse start, Mike Loening groundlooped in a shower of dust, dirt, and sage brush, Conquest 1, Phast Phoenix, Miss Merced, and Roto Finish all crossing the finish line in a clump.

First hit of aero-heroin.

07-07-2012, 03:52 PM
1968. My brother and I camped at KOA, too broke to buy tickets, so sat on top of the car, outside the fence, and saw "partial" races on Saturday.
Went into town to gamble a bit, caught in the rain, and slept in wet jeans in a pup tent. Headed back to Oregon the next day to get home in time to r-pack and head to Eugene to start my Dental Hygiene education. Saw a few races between 1970 and 1985, but have been there every year since 1985.

07-07-2012, 05:43 PM
1976 My girlfriends mom wanted to go to the races, 4:30am Sunday we leave Danville Ca. 9:00am top of the hill 395 Lemmon valley bumper to bumper all the way into parking lot.
look around & get a spot in grandstands about noon starts to get hot,
No hat or sunscreen do the beer cycle about 3 times[get in the beer line then get in the restroom line] this is stupid !
Noticed campers out to the west on the fence line.
Drove home after gold cup,sunburned ,dehydrated,got home at midnight
Hated the weather loved the races and yes the hook was set!
Came up the next year Friday night and camped on the fenceline best time of my life, I have not missed a year yet on the fenceline.

07-08-2012, 06:59 AM
1976 my dad took me to my first race. I was five years old and don't really remember much about that year, but I do remember sitting on my fathers shoulders as my dads all time favorite racer Thunderbird took the win. That was all it took for me. We moved to Missouri for one year in 1980 but I don't count that as a miss since it was broadcast on TV. I've been there for all of them except 1980 of course.

07-08-2012, 10:18 AM
1997. Relative newbie compared to all you old-timers here :D.

Saw, and more importantly HEARD Tiger come around 8 and past the home pylon in the gold final, and I was hooked. Been back every year since, and can't wait for this year. Come on September!

07-09-2012, 08:07 AM
2004 - a total newbie

That year was cold! We showed up Saturday morning to find they had changed the bleachers and the spot my dad, brother, uncle, and cousin had occupied for 20+ years didn't exist anymore! We struggled through the day with people walking in front of us continuously and tried to stay warm.

The next day, we arrived early again (we always get there before the first race of the day, even now that we have reserved seats), this time with folding chairs, hats, gloves, thermal underwear, blankets, and winter coats (all bought at Wal-Mart the night before) and head straight to the top row of the bleachers. No more parade of people in front of us!

It was my first year, so I was a bit overwhelmed. However, that Sunday afternoon Dago Red and Rare Bear had a pretty epic battle in some pretty crappy weather. Dago won, at least so we thought.

Monday morning on our way back to SLC, we stopped in Elko for gas. I picked up the morning paper and saw that Skip cut a pylon and Rare Bear was declared the winner. I grabbed the paper and went running down the isle way in the gas station shouting to my family. That was the exact moment the hook was set for me.

07-09-2012, 09:00 AM
2003 I entered the T-6 raffle on Thurs and won. Best time I ever had. Was only there for 2 1/2 days but got hooked and have been going every year since. I bought my tix and booked the hotel early this year.:beerchug:

07-09-2012, 12:33 PM
Thanks for all the replies guys. "I've seen fire and I've seen rain" Yup, 1987 (HOT!) 1982 (rain). 1978 (snow/rain/cold) 1988 (cold and windy) 2009 (absolutely perfect)
Maybe this'll help the first-timers to be prepared for ANY kind of weather.
And we ALL know, once you go.....you're hooked for life.

07-09-2012, 02:07 PM
2009 was my rookie year and my first time at the races, I didn't know what to think or expect I just knew I wanted to do it, and as luck had it I qualed at over 200 and I won my first race that I ever ran, met some great people , and got some great mentoring from Al Goss the whole week , was my best aviation experience to date, I've raced 2 planes every year since and am running 3 this year so you could say I'm hooked:beerchug:

07-09-2012, 03:34 PM
Deat "hooked",
So glad you came to the NCAR. You have been a real asset.Keep up the good work. Big hugs!

Lockheed Bob
07-09-2012, 07:24 PM
Thanks for being there Phil. Al thought you would be an asset for air racing & you really are. See you in Sept.:beerchug::beerchug::beerchug:

Air Boss
07-09-2012, 09:53 PM
2002...just a babe comparatively speaking. Can't tell you all how much I enjoy reading the stories of times gone-by. Really great recollections one and all.

Started as Speed Bump and fill-in judge. First year was a tent in Pylon Judge parking lot just west of the T-hangers at end of Rnwy26. Slept on the ground but, like others posted here, found the local Wal-Mart for the camping cots! Damn that was a cold, hard night. But hey...we also brought a 3000W Honda generator! Only thing we charged all week was a cell phone! Had Oreo cookies for breakfast that ended up floating in the cooler with bologna, Wonder bread, and assorted other delicacies!
Tried the Golden Phoenix downtown but quickly learned the engineers for the railroad LOVED blasting away at 3:20AM every morning! And the fight in the lobby between two Chinese bus drivers was a treat as well.
Now I fly Horizon, rent the RV, camp on the field and enjoy an incredible week in high desert. Thanks to each and every one of you for keeping this thing alive long enough for me to fumble around and find it!

Here’s to September…and many more Septembers to come!

07-10-2012, 05:56 AM

07-10-2012, 09:28 AM
1976. I had read about them in Air Classics since 71 and HAD to go.
Only missed two years in all this time, 91 because our airline flight back from Hawaii had a mechanical and we stayed an extra couple days, and 2001.
Stayed in the car the first couple years as my friends and I would drive up Saturday night. 79 was the first year I camped, it used to be at an old crumbling parking lot a few blocks away by the DRI facility.
Had a couple "short" years 86 and 87, Sunday only. In 88 my father in law started coming and we trailer camped until 2003 when I moved here. Now it's showers at night, a glass of scotch by the pool and airplanes overhead in the evenings but I do miss those times camping! Good friends and conversations late into the night. The sight of EVERYONE running out into the open to see what was flying. Buying good cigars, good scotch and a box of cheezits so my son wouldn't tell the wifes we were smoking and drinking... Anyone else remember the guy that used to march around in the evening playing bagpipes with a ton of people following?
Started taking my son back in the early 90's when he was 4 and he has been to every one I have since. He is actually more rabid a fan than I am at this point.
Like everyone that's been there that long I've seen it all, the good weather and the bad, the tragedies and the triumphs. It's been a hell of a hobby.

07-11-2012, 10:51 PM
1970. Conquest I, Rotofinish, Miss Van Nuys... It was magic. Drove all night from San Jose with a buddy and 2 young ladies. That did it for me. I haven't missed one since. Sat through hot days, snow storms, rain, cancellations, and every other type of malady except for locusts. Became a Pylon Judge (Outer6) in 2001. No racing that year. Been on Outer 6 since then. We are called the "gourmet pylon". We have daily feasts that have included lobster, abalone, oysters, tri-tip... Serious Progressive Partying every evening after Last Racer On Deck as we all camp out.

Friends have come and gone during these 42 years and it is perhaps the most favorite chapter of my life. I am fortunate to hang out with the best group of friends I've ever known during PRS and race week. They are all crazy and possessed just like me and I know you all understand. Race week is like Christmas for Ralphie Parker in The Christmas Story.