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Ray's World Adventures 2000

My 2nd Adventure on Ice
2000 Kites on Ice Kite Festival - Madison, Wisconsin

 Ray flying at Kites on Ice

I was invited again to participate in the second Kites on Ice festival but I had to turn their offer down as it clashed with my sponsored Malaysia trip at that time. However, as many of you know, the Malaysia event was suspended temporarily due to the change in Government. I was able to participate after all and so very glad I did, because that beautiful lady, Linda Underwood, and her sidekick Kristi did it again. It is very hard to believe that it was even better than last year because last year was great!! But this year was SUPER from start to finish and I will bet my last dollar that next year it will be even better. I am sure you are going to read a lot about this festival in many kite magazines, but I just want to put my own two cents worth in, as I am still on a high from the sport kite end of it.

This year there was no problem getting to Madison from Chicago O'Hare airport, like there was last year where I spent 18 hours along with other flyers who were also stranded (pilots on a labor slow down), before getting to Madison which is just a half hour flight from Chicago airport. I was looking forward to spending some more prime time with Scott Skinner again, but I heard through the kite grapevine that he had made sure that I had flown out of the Chicago airport before he arrived. I arrived late on Thursday evening in Madison along with Torrey Lindemann, and driven to our hotel by my last year's anchor man Jody McCann who was the sport Kite Flyers? Ice Boss again. And once again, he did a super job of babysitting all the sport kite Flyers. I arrived at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center 9 a.m. Friday morning and things were well underway. I headed for the ice to set up, ready to meet the day. This year I was given some "real" ice climbing spurs; they worked great and gave me full confidence flying on the ice.

Friday and Saturday the wind was a little up and down but flyable, that's for sure. As always, it was a great pleasure for me to share the sport kite arena with Chicago Fire, Team S.T.A.F.F., and the infamous Rev 6 man Team, the Decorators from the UK. Together we had the thousands of spectators shouting for more and we did just that from early morning until dark, each day. There was no shortage of spectators: 20,000 plus! It is really heartwarming to see so many local people show up to patronize this event. The night fly was another huge success with thousands of spectators braving the cold, the fire works display was short but very spectacular. Then it was a matter of packing up and making a quick change for the Banquet. The food was, I think, among the best of any banquets I have ever attended. This banquet was much less formal than last year which I thought made it more of a big party. It allowed for plenty of socializing, a great way to get to know the flyers from all over, including Holland, France, Germany, Australia, Canada, and all over the US. During the event we were are all too busy doing what we were sponsored to do, that is, entertaining the thousands of spectators and helping to make the festival the best ever. We earned a ten out of ten for doing just that.

Sunday evening?s farewell dinner was held as last year at the Essen Haus, a German restaurant. It served up great food with all kinds of different beers to choose from. The Boot drinking that was so popular last year was a smash hit again, especially with the ladies. :-) This year, unbeknown to the Decorators, the word was out to drink the Dec's under the table. Man, what an impossibility! I must admit none of us were feeling any pain by the time we headed for the hotel.

I had a super time and I was once again honored to have been sponsored to such a great festival and to have shared prime time with some of the best kite designers and flyers from around the world.

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the sponsors of Kites on Ice, the City of Madison for making us feel so welcome, and many thanks to all the thousands of spectators who showed up everyday to show us their appreciation. Thank you Jody McCann, for without your help I would be hard pressed to find anyone as capable and big enough to pick Big Daddy up off the ice every time I fell down. :-) And last, but by far not least, to the organizer Linda Underwood, her sidekick, Kristy and all those great volunteers; congratulations for another super-organized festival, you did it again with flying colors!

Thank you for listening.


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