USAF Helicopter Pilot Reunion in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
June 21-25, 2011
Some folks arrived on Tuesday, a day early to just relax before it got busy. And busy it got…
Wednesday was sign-in day and most people arrived that day. At the end we had over 230 attendees. That evening there was a wine and cheese welcome hosted by the Snow King Lodge. The Mayor of Jackson welcomed the group to his fair city.
Thursday was the Snake River float trips. Around 5 a.m. the sound of thunder awakened me. I looked out the window to see the low clouds boiling up the mountainside. What day for a float trip! By 9 a.m. the skies had cleared and it turned out to be a beautiful day. We had 3 busses and Ron, Marv and KV were “bus bosses” to keep tabs on everyone. The busses left on a staggered schedule to accommodate the over 100 floaters signed up. KV’s was the first bus to leave and drove north from Jackson to the Triangle X Outfitters but the driver missed the turn and we went 16 miles on up the road before figuring it out. This put us about 30 minutes late on an already tight schedule but it saved us 20 minutes of riding in the outfitters vans back up the road. The plus side was that on our erroneous tour we got to see over 200 head of buffalo (bison) right on the roadside complete with some fuzzy new buffalo calves. (It all works out !!)
We had 6 people per raft and had a “feet dry” trip for about 10 miles down the high and fast but smooth river. The scenery was magnificent with the Grand Teton Mountains as a backdrop.
At the end we had a nice outdoor lunch of BBQ chicken and shrimp kabobs and then back to Jackson.
That evening we rode the busses about 10 miles to the Bar J Ranch for a western style Chuck wagon BBQ complete with western music.
Dale Potter and his son, Jeff, were “keepers of the Hospitality Room”. Although a short distance away, it was busy with lots of guests telling war stories and such and enjoying their favorite beverage.
Thursday was the Grand Teton Park tour. A local Soil Conservation agent accompanied each bus and their facts and figures on the area along with the “bus bosses” assistance kept the passengers entertained. KV was again a “bus boss” and he added some of his Historian stories and reminder that the classic Western movie, “Shane”, with actor Alan Ladd was filmed near here in 1964.
We stopped at the Jackson Lake Visitor center in the Park for our “brown bag” lunch. A young fellow had some raptors on display and interesting facts on the Golden Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Great Horned Owl and Hawk there.
After a few more stops on the return to Jackson, we got ready for an evening trip on the ski lift to a cookout up on the mountain.
Man, best BBQ sauce on chicken and baby back ribs. Yum, Yum. After supper, our Chairman, that lived in Afton, WY, introduced the Afton High School Blue Grass Band. Eight high schoolers entertained us with Blue Grass music and those kids were great. Then some Cowboy Poetry by a local gentleman. There were a couple of concrete like bobsled chutes back down to the lodge that you rode a sled type thing with a controlling brake. Kids were having a blast. A couple of our guys even rode it down and I was tempted to take the lift back up so I could do it. Although a couple of the gals were spooked by the “inflight” ski lift and they walked back down.
Saturday was free time with lots of visiting with old friends. Some of the gals made a shopping trip downtown. The pilots had their business meeting in the morning and determined that the next reunion be held in Branson, Missouri in October 2012 with Bob Putlock as incoming Chairman. So we may see you there next year.
The Historian gave a Power Point presentation on the origin of the organization and summary of past reunions. Jeff Potter, Dale’s son, gave an entertaining talk of his rise to CEO of Frontier Airlines and some insight into the running of airlines. Saturday night was our banquet with a local businesswoman/ state legislator, Clarene Law, as our speaker.
Rose Allred donated one of her hand made Afghans commemorating the Jackson Reunion as a door prize. Several of our folks had been getting sick from some unknown the last day but everyone made it home OK.
Thanks to Ron Allred and his Reunion Committee and their wives for their hard work in making this a Wonderful Reunion.