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Ray's World Adventures 1996

Ray does it in a Red Convertible

WSIKF Long Beach, Washington, USA - August 21, 1996
By Alec Marshall

I have worked with Ray Bethell as time keeper, record keeper, and witness recorder in all of Ray's World marathon's plus his first ever timers: "Never been done or tried before."

Terry Yuncker, owner of Ocean Kites in Long Beach WA, and Windborne Kite shop in Monterey, CA, also the new chairman of the World Cup is Ray's sponsor. The World Cup by the way will happen in Long Beach in 1997, "plan to be there for sure!! WOW!!"

Well Terry came up with an idea that would help promote Long Beach and keep it as always one step ahead of any other International Kite festival. Ray has been doing something special for the last 5 years. Terry's idea was for Ray to fly 3 kites simultaneously from the back of a red convertible right down the main street of Long Beach. He had everyone, that is everyone in Long Beach involved. He got permission from the Mayor and the chief of Police, the next step was to ask Ray. Up to this point Ray did not know a thing about this. When Terry asked Ray if he could do it, Ray's reaction was:

"Terry... You... Are... Bloody... Stark... Raving... MAD!!!! But I love the idea. Let's Do It!"

So on the 21st of August 1996 at 11am the Police cleared all the traffic off Main Street, with the help of four of his friends and myself we help Ray set up his lines along the sidewalk. he took two sets of kites, Sky Burner's Pro Dancers and Joel Schultz' Kestrels. The wind was blowing 8-10mph but in a different direction then he would be flying. Ray chose the Kestrels as the Pro Dancers were only a couple of hours old. and the thought of wrapping them around one of the lamp posts was a definite deterrent. Ray also needed the kites for his upcoming trip to the UK and Germany in a few weeks time.

So we put the Kestrels on the lines and set up in the middle of the street and Ray got into the convertible. I handed him the three sets of lines, he attached one set to his waist and a set in each hand. We were all buzzing with excitement. The sidewalks and roof tops were jammed with spectators. The street looked so narrow and the buildings so close. There would not be much room for one kite, let alone THREE!! I was wondering if Ray would be able pull this one off !?

The kites were ready with one man on each kite holding them steady. The driver of the convertible was ready with the motor running, the two police cars in front of the convertible were ready. Everyone was watching Ray... Was he ready?... There was a moment of silence. All you could hear was the purr of the convertible's engine.

Then Ray shouted: "Okay! Let's do it! GO... GO... GO..!"

The cars started moving, up went the waist kite then the other two took the air. Ray was leaning well back, I could hear him telling the driver to go faster: "Go man, GO!" All of his helpers were running like crazy trying got keep up with the convertible just in case one or more of the kites came down. But no way, it was going too fast.

The police cars had their sirens blasting away. The whole street was buzzing. Cameras were flashing away, Video cameras were catching every moment. I looked up at the kites. They looked super and Ray was not just keeping them in the air. He was flying them as he does in his multiple kite demonstrations. Wow! Now he is in a refuel with all three kites and breaks away just in time to put the two outside kites down on the flat roof of a building on each side of the street and then puts the waist one down in the street. Just as the convertible comes to a stop at the end of the street. Wow, he did it!

Everyone was congratulating each other, Ray was mobbed with people shaking his hand asking him to sign autographs. They wanted to have their picture taken with him, the video cameras were filming away, the Mayor and Chief of Police were overjoyed that it was such a great success. I looked around for Terry Yuncker to see if he was pleased. Pleased? He was over the moon!

He was doing front and back flips up and down the street in front of his store! Wow!

I was wondering, what is going on in his head for Ray to try in 1997?! I know one thing for sure, whatever it is, Ray will do his utmost to pull it off.

Congratulations, Ray! I was very proud and it gave me great pleasure to once again take part in another one of you "World First Timers".

Alec Marshall.

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