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Will Rogers/Wiley Post Fly-In
August 15, 2015 @ 8:30 am - 1:00 pm
Will Rogers and Wiley Post died in an Alaska plane crash on Aug. 15, 1935. It is often called the “crash heard around the world.” This year the Will Rogers & Wiley Post Fly-In at the Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch will be Saturday, Aug. 15, the 80th anniversary of the history-making event when bold headlines in newspapers all over the world carried the story. Planes start landing about 8:30 a.m.
That day and the lives of the two, undoubtedly the world’s strongest aviation boosters of their time, is remembered each year on the Oologah, Indian Territory, ranch were Will Rogers was born. Usually a Sunday event, it was changed to Saturday to reflect the anniversary of the deaths, said Tad Jones, Will Rogers Memorial Museum executive director.
Airports across the country have been invited to join in a special Moment of Remembrance at 10 a.m. (CST) at their respective airports to honor those who have lost their lives in a small aircraft accident. At that same time a short program at the Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch airstrip will pay tribute to the lives of Will and Wiley. Mary West of Oologah will sing the “National Anthem” and Ross Adkins, Fly-In announcer for the past several years, will present the commemoration program and call for a moment of silence.
RSU Radio will broadcast live the tribute, beginning at 10 a.m., on 91.3 FM and on their website at www.rsuradio.com.
The popular duo of Lester Lurk and Joe Bacon, aka Will and Wiley, will land about 9 a.m. “I should be done with my altitude record and round-the-world flight by 9,” Wiley (Bacon) said.
The Fly-In provides an opportunity for the public to get a close-up look at airplanes and meet the pilots. Pilots enjoy the fellowship with fellow aviators and people who just enjoy planes.
Bring your own lawn chair or blanket and enjoy watching planes land and take off, walk among the aircraft, visit the house and see the room where Will was born, and remember the day 80 years ago when the world learned Will and Wiley had died in Alaska.
Ample parking is provided with rides to the viewing area. Roper Martin Howard and members of the Verdigris School football team have assisted with parking several years. Members of Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton’s Mounted Troops will also be on hand.
Admission is free, but donations will be accepted.
Other special activities will include:
— Blacksmith demonstrations by Tod Estes of Oologah.
— Air Evac Lifetime, an air medical service, will fly in and be on hand to show their plane and provide information about the access at the Claremore Regional Airport.
— Ambulances from Oologah-Talala EMS and Northwest First District will have units for the public to see as well as be on hand for emergencies.
— Cherokee Storyteller Robert Lewis will be under a shade tree with his tales of animals, so much a part of early Cherokee tradition
— Antique cars, inflatables and games for children and food concessions will be on the grounds.
(Editor’s Note: For Fly-In National Tribute information, please visit www.willrogers.com.)