Alaskan flyboys & girls had a nice window in the weather for the 14th Annual Kenai Peninsula Air Fair and Military Appreciation Day June, 14th, with Soldotna Airport starting out the day with an Experimental Aircraft Assoc. (EAA) pancake breakfast and pilot registration for the Poker Run. “Pilots take off and fly to any five of the eight airports on the Peninsula collecting a ticket at each stop. Then they return to Kenai Airport at noon where we had a delicious barbeque and dealt out the poker hands while enjoying a Hobo Jim concert and Military Appreciation Day,” said Mary Bondurant, Kenai Airport manager. According to Bondurant 32 pilots and friends participated in the Poker Run with 1st place winner being Kikki Kinne from Fairbanks who was dealt a full house, 2nd place went to Randy Olefelein Sr. from Anchorage with a flush and Henry Knackstedt from Kenai took 3rd with high straight.
“A total of 20 poker prizes were handed out. Prize sponsors who generously contributed were the Cities of Kenai and Soldotna, Alaska Sea-Kayakers, Alaska West Air, Alaska Railroad, Barnstormer Aviation, Burger Bus, Chugach Outdoor Center, Dan’s TV & Appliance, Diamond M Ranch Resort, Grant Aviation, Home Depot, Ken’s Alaskan Tackle, Metal Magic, Nenana Raft Adventures, RAVN, SBS, Sportsman’s Warehouse, Trinity Greenhouse, Walmart, and Wayward Winds Studio,” reported Bondurant.
In reading the official city of Kenai and Soldotna proclamation naming June 14th Military Appreciation Day, Kenai Mayor Pat Porter introduced Col. Mike Hunt, WWII fighter pilot who has been diligent in preserving WWII aircraft and keeping them flying, “I was just a poor farm boy from Iowa that the Army taught to fly these birds and right now I’m promoting the Alaska Wing Commemorative Air Force. In my lifetime I’ve accumulated some war birds and I’m now giving them to the Commemorative Air Force so that other pilots will experience flying them and keep the legacy of WWII alive for generations to come. The missing man formation they flew today brought back a host of memories of men and women that should never be forgotten. We flew around the world with just a compass and a map and today a pilot doesn’t even have to look out the window, it’s fantastic how far we’ve come in my lifetime,” said Col. Hunt.
“Mother Nature again provided us a great day for aviation on the Peninsula and I want specially thank Hobo Jim, Alaska Aviation Museum, Col. Mike Hunt and the Alaska Winged Commemorative Air Force and our financial sponsors Crowley Fuel, Alaska Airmen’s Association, Beacon Occupational Health & Safety, Peninsula Aero Tech, and Wince-Corthell-Bryson. Without you this event just would not be possible. Also thank you to the local EAA Chapter, American Legion Post 20, Airgas, Challenger Learning Center, Copper River Seafood, Jumping Junction, Kenai Fire Department, Kenai Senior Center, Kenai Flight Service Station, Kenai Football Team, Kenai Visitors & Convention Center, and Missionary Aviation Repair Center (MARC) for your donations, time, and work. Happy landings everyone!” added Bondurant.