2017 SPA East Masters
Knoxville, TN
October 7, 2017



L-R: Ken VandenBosch, Duane Wilson, Gary Alphin, Ken Knotts, Jimmy Russell,
Vic Koenig, Jim Johns (seated) Scott Anderson, Jim Strong, Bruce Underwood, Pat Ensign,
David Johnson, Steve Drake, Jeff Owens, Keith Watson, Bill Dodge and Matt Griffitt


Photos                                                Scores


KNOXVILLE, TN.....Oct 7 & 8, 2017.......Probably one of the most credible bits of wisdom this weekend was the decision by these two guys to take a whole weekends' activity and pack it into a single day, Saturday. These are the guys - CDs Phil Spelt in the foreground and Jimmy Russell to his left.

Friday afternoon at practice most everyone was discussing the National Weather Services prediction of Tropical Storm NATE ruling the weather events starting Saturday night and into the early part of the following week in this part of the country. Spelt had "hinted" he and Jimmy were considering packing "everything into a single day" based on everything the media was quoting from the NWS officials. This "hint" proved to be gospel when they declared everything to be completed, including awards and the annual banquet. This was "very timely" as the TS made itself known as far north of the Gulf Coast as Knoxville a couple hours prior to daylight on Sunday morning. Weather could not have been nicer than all day Saturday with winds from the Southeast less than 8 MPH, sunshine, some "puffies"and comfy temps in the upper 70s to low 80s.

18 attendees registered, 17 participated, only three crashes your reporter is aware of:

  • Jeff Owens put his 37-year-old Deception in a tree early on Friday. He flew his backup Curare to the win in Senior Expert.
  • Matt Griffitt put his KOMET in a tree at practice late on Friday. He grabbed his newly finished electric Curare and flew the with it, finishing 3rd in Advanced.
  • Vic Koenig had a mishap during the last of the 4 rounds on Saturday costing him his lovely Dirty-Birdy.

Now, that's the bad stuff out of the way. Let me share something here that Matt Griffitt shared with me....take a look at this dandy item: It's the SUNSHIELD FORCE airplane cover. Neat huh? He said it was $7.00 from Horizon Hobbies and is part # FMMCover1. He said it cost him more to ship it than the actual cost.

Phil and Jimmy had their list of judges prepared and written in advance (obtained from the preregistrations). This, they said, is just one way the advanced registrations on the website help them in preparing for the contest. They did as the previous contest in the East had done, had the contestants or their assistants run the scoresheets to the scorer.

Speaking of the "scorer", a special tribute was paid Mr. Joel Hebert at the awards ceremony. Take a look - Phil said "Joel (Hebert) has kept score for almost every SPA contest we've had and we are so grateful. We want him to think about us every time he checks the time". Phil got with John Baxter who manufactured the clocks and graphics via his graphics business.

While dunkin' Joel with "kudos"...you should have been there when all eyes were focused on Old Glory and you can "bet-your-life" everyone of us STOOD at attention with hands on heart as Joel sang our NATIONAL ANTHEM. What a joy to listen to Joel's beautiful baritone voice.

Flying started very early (compared to events in the past). Two rounds before lunch and the annual Memorial Trophy Fly-Off. This years Memorial Fly-Off pitted Jeff Owens and Keith Watson. Keith won the coin toss and elected to fly 1st. That's Jeff pitting for him just before his flight before the panel of 5 judges of whose "high" and "low" score was thrown out. Jeff attested (this was his 3rd win)...."the pressure is even greater in this one flight performance than a regular contest flight". Despite the pressure causing a "near-flop" on the initial Figure M with 1/4 rolls, Jeff polished his remaining maneuvers to earn his 3rd win of the prized Memorial Trophy retained for the current year by it's current winner. Congrats Jeff.

Competition was really keen in some classes, sort of "lop-sided" in others.

  • Jim Strong sailed thru the NOVICE class with 5 K's and finished score of 4000. David Johnson was 2nd with 3330.
  • Jimmy Russell guided his Daddy-Rabbitt to 3 K's in SPORTSMAN. Vic Koenig copped 2nd with 2672. Scott Anderson 3rd, with 2639. Ken Vandenbosch 4th scoring 2635 and Duane Wilson 5th with 2389.
  • Gary Alphin brought the ADVANCED skill from Texas and logged a perfect score of 3000 for the win. Jim Johns garnered 2nd with 2900, Matt Griffitt was 3rd at 2669 and Bill Dodge was number 4 with 2496. Phil Spelt entered but opted to "full-time" CD. Much obliged, Phil.
  • Lookee here at the EXPERTS............they are called that because of their skill.......we're so grateful for WEST expert CHAMP Pat Ensign coming from Texas. What a show these two performed. Only 6 "itty-bitty" points separated the two with Number one going to Steve Drake whose total was 3986 and Pat Ensign tallied 3980. Folks, that's out of a possible 4000. Flying in EXPERT has been almost that close all season in the EAST.
  • We "Old Codgers" (Senior EXPERT) had a great day of competition. Jeff Owens took home the number one clock scoring 2991. Bruce Underwood kept him honest scoring 2nd with 2973. Ken Knotts took 3rd back to Texas with 2677 and Keith Watson was 4th with 2651.

The Annual Points Championships were totaled and each winner was awarded a lovely VICTORY by CD Phil Spelt at the East Masters.


Novice - Jim Strong


Sportsman - Jimmy Russell


Advanced - Jim Johns


Expert - Jamie Strong (accepted by nephew Jim Strong)
shown with wife Susan @ Chattanooga


Senior Expert - Jeff Owens

Here are the winners in the "drawings"...I'll even share a photo of the lucky folks:


The envelope says it all. Pat Ensign, Ken Vandenbosch and Jimmy Russell each won one.


Phil Spelt donated this ORIGINAL Southern RC Compensator that had a label
shipped to a modeler in TN on Jan. 8, 1976. Gary Alphin took it home to Texas.


Left - The DIRTY BIRDY fiberglass and foam kit from Leo Steck
at Ballistic Aircraft (http://rcmissouri.com) was won by Steve Drake.
Right - The Ken Blackwell COMPENSATOR (right) with surfaces
sheeted by Warren Oliver was won by Jim Johns.

As all know, the original East MASTERS contest was scheduled for ALABASTER, AL but due to the unfortunate illness of CD Dave Phillips Mrs., Peggy, was rescheduled for KCRC. Our numerous prayers have resulted in Mrs. Peggy's illness improved greatly from your reporters last update from Dave. I couldn't help but respond with a healthy"praise the Lord". While I'm in a praising mood, I don't think the praise can be overheaped on Phil, Jimmy, the co-CD's, and KCRC for filling our 2017 MASTERS void with a "perfectly-packed" day of contest activity that despite the worst the weather could deliver, the illness-related switch in location dealt, didn't hamper atall (southern-term)................Phil your' expertise and years of having done contesting for us in the past, was as evident as the "nose-on-your-face". When Carolyn answered your call to "please deliver the awards "this afternoon" and assisted with the drawing ceremonies and the like, and you folks completed the hosting, we could sort of suspect you were "dead-tired", but just realize how very much we folks who've been there for so many years, as well as the most welcomed and appreciated guests from Longhorn country and other parts of our modeling geographic for just THIS contest appreciate your' efforts. It's because of SPECIAL people and clubs like yours, our association continues to exist. We're proud of your decision and ALL your efforts on our behalf. It was a pleasure being your guest the weekend that Tropical Storm Nate didn't bother one single bit!!

Bruce Underwood - SPA PIO


Final Scores