AKA Convention 2000  - October 2-7, '00

The Tampa Tribune headline reads, "WACKOS attend AKA national convention in Treasure Island".

The story went on to ask (rhetorically, of course) whether either organization (using the term loosely, naturally) would ever be the same again. Actually, the papers never said that, but it woulda been a kick if it had. And even if Jim, Ken and I had not been there, it still would have been true. But rather than fill this page with words about our experience, check out the pictures to get a feel for the convention. Ask us for the words the next time you see us.

Click on the thumbnails below to see the full size picture.
It really looks like the someone brought the new WACKOS banners to a beach someplace, so it really isn't proof that we were at the AKA convention. But if you look at the right side of the picture, you'll see a couple banners very familiar to some of us. Dave and Susie Gomberg brought these banners from Oregon, and since Dave was announced as the new President of the AKA at the convention you should be able to make the connection. The next time you come to the park, you can also see the signatures of many attendees of the convention, including Dave and Susie.
The 2000 Kite Arch Project was coordinated by O.S.E.K. with TISKK doing the honors at the convention. The pictures below are of the practice flight on Tuesday. Jim and I, along with Gary Engvall, assisted TISKK with the launch and recovery of the arch. There were 545 kites in the arch and it's really hard to get an idea of the size of it from pictures. It was pretty awesome to see! 

TISKK attaches and raises their section of the arch. They made kites that spelled out their entire club name! C'mon WACKOS! We can beat them by 12 sails if we do the same next year. They also bought back their section of the arch.
Gary Resnick (TISKK) acts as a temporary anchor while more kites are spooled out. The flying arch is above Gary's head, the new section is on the right. Just above Gary's head is Jim's okra pod contribution, around it are James and Kathren's kites, Reid and Chris also have a kite in that section. That section will return to Charlotte. Jim now owns a section of the 1999 arch and all of the 2000 arch sails contributed by WACKOS members. He tried to buy the section with his kites from last year but the price rapidly escalated beyond reason. The NY Kite Enthusiasts club was not very successful in getting their sections back - they even let someone else buy the section with their web address in it.  Gary Engvall helps Marv Harris and his sister, Sandy, release another section of kites into the arch.
The support crew, from left: Jim Martin, Marv Harris, Norm English, Rick Beaman, Sandy Harris, Mike DioGuiordo and Gary Engvall.  A look at the arch from an interesting perspective. "Somewhere, over the rainbow, ......." The other end of the arch was anchored over 100 yards away. The "south" end of the arch seemed like it was on a different beach. Someone else put up a small arch for some visual interest, but was overshadowed by the arch project.
This is probably one of thousands of pictures like it all over the world but this one is different. I took this picture. Ray Bethel was at his 20th (or so) AKA convention, flew these kites every day and all day - his stamina and strength is amazing. Watching Ray fly these kites is a study of motion and control. Ray is also a very interesting and genuinely warm person. I also had many conversations with his traveling companions, Gerri and Fred Adler. There's a rumor that Gerri and I are brother and sister but don't believe it, the circumstances are way too spooky. Ask me about it sometime.
It only looks like Ray Bethel is flying the arch single-handedly. But if he had the chance, I'll bet he would try to figure out a way to fly it with each end of the arch in a different hand.

Kites, kites, here are some kites!
Dave Davies, from England, shows one of his Sundancers.  Marc Ricketts calls this a tetra foil. It requires a little wind and it likes the wind steady but it flies nicely when the winds are right. This is Marc Ricketts version of the classic tetrahedral kite. Note there are two tow strings - it is actually a loop that allows the kite to be flipped upside down. It flies nicely both right side up and upside down.
Jim tunes the bridle on his circoflex for the "open" caegory of the kitemaker's competition. This group had everything from the circoflex to a Sutton 125 to a yakko (by our friend Gary Resnick) to several sizes of parafoil. It must have been hard to judge. Some of the competitors in the "open" category of the kitemaker's competition. This kite is from Japan and is called the ????????. (That's not the real name but I can't remember what it's called. If you know, please let me know.) The external stick in front is actually bowed and some sections of the kite are attached to it. The sides of the kite flutter like the wings of a manta ray when it is flying. It's a very active, kinetic kite.
Pete Dolphin, a past president of the AKA, shows off a unique cellular kite. It's actually twelve-sided, the moon face is only on the front and, according to Pete, it weighs about 3 pounds. Part of the mass ascension for box and cellular kites shows Ken McNeill brought his Ichiban. Here's proof that I was at the convention, or at least my Tri-D was there.
These are two of the kites entered in the Member's Choice competition. Each kite had to fly for 1/2 hour, then be set up for viewing at the Awards Banquet where members voted for the kite of their choice. Martin Lester entered his large man kite in the Members Choice; it's about 6-8' wide and 25-30' long. The size of the Rev is misleading - it was much closer to me than the "Man". The smaller "Man" actually is smaller. Jim's flies his 'Kite Girl' against other competitors in the Member's Choice competition.
Some of the banners, looking down the beach towards the Bilmar. These windmills are made from off the shelf banners and some homemade parts. They were really effective at getting attention. Whoever put them up, left them there all week. Some of Jackite's birds line the walkway to the store hosted by Kitesville, USA in Indian Rocks Beach, Fl. The banners on the left is the TISKK encampment.
Drake Smith and many others in Region 3, made the tetra as a group project. The kite was broken into sections from 1 to 12 cells for the Great Kite Auction on Friday. I bought the vertical row of half green, half purple cells. I think making these cells would be a good Winter workshop project.

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