By Matt Neumann
Ladies and gentlemen, we still have not left the Twilight Zone!
The week started out simple enough, but that changed these last two days. I told you about Friday. Well Saturday had an ending that was just as strange.
Normally on Top 5 day, the top 5 contestants that are left fly three fights and add the two best scores together to determine the winner. Well, that did not happen Saturday. The day started out nice enough with a light breeze and cool temps. We even had cloud cover, so we did not have to look into the sun. And that wound up to be the problem.
We got one round in and then the contestants started to get a static discharge in their hands while they were flying. A thunderstorm was approaching. And with us waving 70-foot lightning rods around, a static charge can build up to the point that it will shock the pilot. And it did. Twice. The first time up was Howard Rush who was first in round two. Then David Fitzgerald got zapped during the second flight of round 2. So, all activities were halted until further notice.
It was then that people started looking at the radar on their phones. It did not look good. Lots and lots of orange and red headed right for Muncie. The signal was given to all involved that it was time to head for the hills and reconvene 3 hours later, which was high noon. Well, that storm, ladies and gentlemen, was a doozy. It collapsed tents and knocked over port-a-potties. I hope no one was in one trying to take refuge when the storm hit. It was at that point the AMA called it.
So this year, we ran just one round to determine the winner. And this year;s winner is David Fitzgerald! Congratulations to David. I believe this is a baker’s dozen, 13, for him. He really is racking up the hardware.
We also determined the Senior and Junior champions. We only had two per group. In the Junior group we had Gabriel Alimov and Samuel Londke. In Senior, we had Luca Alimov and Steven Daly. Gabriel bested Samuel for the Junior title and Gabriel bested Steven for the Senior title. The scores were actually fairly close. So, it was a good contest. Congratulations to the winners.
Sorry I don't have any pictures of the awards ceremony. Since it was called, I don’t think there was any official handouts. So, no pictures. Sorry.
I want to give a big thank-you to all of the volunteers who judged, ran scores, and tabulated for us. Your work is greatly appreciated. I would also like to thank John Paris and Michele Lee for running a very smooth show. The scores were tabulated quite quickly and as far as I know, there were no major hiccups. Anything that did come up was quickly figured out. A job well done for those two!
This Nats certainly shows that anything can and, probably will, happen. You just never know what or when it will happen. So, it is never dull. I am happy to see many families here. We had several husband-and-wife teams, father-and-son teams, and even mom-dad-and-son teams. So, this is not just a dad's event. It can be a family event as well. And that is the way it should be. An event of families and friends. They come from all walks of life and across the globe. To go where everyone knows your name and our problems are all the same.
Till next year. It is always an adventure at the Nats. I can't wait for the next one!