Aviation Roundup drew millions of eyes to the sky | RecordCourier.com

Aviation Roundup drew millions of eyes to the sky

by Rachel Spacek

All faces were turned to the sky during the weekend as the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and other performers soared closely over the heads of more than 30,000 attendees at the Aviation Roundup at the Minden-Tahoe Airport.

The airport estimated approximately 31,000 people came out to the show to see the Thunderbirds, the U.S. Navy F/A Super Hornets, the U.S. Army Golden Knights, the Canadian Forces CF-18 Hornets and other performers.

Carrie and Sean Peck spent Saturday afternoon under the soaring planes with Carrie’s daughter, Cora Vadenais, who spent the day laughing and smiling at the sound of the performers.

For the Pecks, this was the first time seeing the performances at the Minden airport, though they had previously been to an air show in Reno.

“In Reno you are further apart from the events that are happening,” said Carrie Peck. “At this one you can see all of the shows, you are right up close and there is always something happening and the shows are moving quickly.”

Sean said he appreciated all of the local businesses and food vendors who set up tents at the show.

“It is really well organized,” said Sean. “From the parking to the food and cocktails. We didn’t have any wait time for the shuttle from the parking lot to the venue.”

Carrie said Cora loves hearing the performers fly so close to them and said they definitely plan to come back next year.

As for next year, Bobbi Thompson, director of the Minden-Tahoe Airport and director of the Air Show said, “this show has continued to grow in size and in stature within the area and within the air show community. We are in discussions to hold the show again as early as 2018 or 2019 and will make an official announcement in early December.”

Thompson also thanked the Thunderbirds and other performers and sponsors for a great turnout.

Major Ryan Bodenheimer, the left wing pilot of the Thunderbirds was one of the performers last weekend. He said he hoped their show inspired attendees to better themselves, work together and work hard.

“We go 500 miles per hour and fly 3 feet away from one another,” said Bodenheimer. “That seems impossible, but it shows people that when you work hard, you can do anything.”

The Thunderbirds visit and perform at more than 35 sights each year. Bodenheimer said they see themselves as a bridge of communication between the military and the public.

Bodenheimer also said their show is meant to show that the maneuvers they perform would not be possible without the entire team and teamwork.

“It shows that we are better together and stronger together, just like America when we all work together towards a common goal,” Bodenheimer said. “To perform, we all have to work together and when we do that, we see efficiency and we see improvement.”

Dates for the next air show are currently undetermined, but it is safe to say a number of Gardnerville families will be eagerly awaiting the next one.