BroncoFest III On-Site Report from Mike "Merlin" Whaley
Friday, Oct. 19, 2001
I arrived at DFW yesterday just before 1PM to find that Grump was already there awaiting my arrival. We immediately launched into a string of harried activity to pick up, drop off, and check on all the remaining things fro Broncofest - t-shirts, videos, pins, spatches, plaques, etc. At one point we even visited some outfit where one half of the concern made videos, and the other half was an ostrich farm!! After stuffing Jim's SUV to the gills with boxes of PX merchandise, we finally made it into downtown Ft. Worth and our hotel right at 4PM. Doowntown Ft. Worth is an interesting looking town, and the area around the hotel seems to be pleasant and safe. Some consternation about a mix-up in timing for the Venezuelan delegation, but many phone calls later and Garry got them to the hotel.
At 4PM, Grump, SandDollar, Igor, Tim Sikorski, Tom Kemp, and myself met for the Board of Directors meeting. While we will have more to say to the group on several important issues soon (so I don't want to get into it here in htis quick update) we are all excited about the future of OBA and are keenly aware that this is a turning point in the organization. We are now completing the first phase of the group, in that it is firmly established and viable. Now, we are seeking to plot our course for the next phase. This will of course depend upon having active participation from the membership of OBA both locally and worldwide, and we are working hard to make sure that we are where we need to be to continue growing. Like I said, more on that later.
After the 3-hour board meeting, we finally got checked in and brought the stuff in. The banquet/reception room on the first floor is nice, we have more space than at BroncoFest II. After a little while to catch our collective breath, most of those who arrived early went out and ate at a local sorts bar, enjoying some excellent burgers. For many of us, this was the first food we had since early morning, but all the activity kept us all distracted enough we scarecely noticed! Then we wandered down to some other bar with a live band, and the party continued. I left nottoo long afterwards, I figured that I better get some sleep since it was only going to get busier throughout the weekend and I'd need all the energy I could get!
It's been great to catch up with this fascinating group of folks I haven't seen in anywhere from 6 months to two years... Warren McGowan, Bear Evans, Tammi Bush, Jim Carlton, Ashby Shoop, Bear Evans, Jack Norton, and several others. And I met some folks that I've only chatted with on email or had only heard about thus far, like Heath "Heeter" Thomas and the four members of the Venezuelan.
This morning (Friday) we've been setting up the PX and memorabilia area, helping the Venezuelans get to their email, and waiting for the onslaught of people to arrive. It oughta be a great time!! The weather is beautiful and things are running smoothly. The only negative so far for me is that my girlfriend Kristin couldn't join me here this time around. Dang it.
Well folks, I better get back to work and finish getting my stuff set up. Will try to check in again when I get a chance. Today is mostly a free-time "just hang out and have fun" kind of day, with an informal flight suit party tonite. Tomorrow, we do the tours, airshow, presentations, and the like. It's looking like we'll have about 100 folks show up. Oughta be fun!