Inaugural Johnson City RC Contest
July 18-19, 2020

Scores                                               Photos

The Pilots
L-R: Ken Blackwell, Warren Oliver, Jamie Strong, Bill Dodge, Robert Basham, Vic Koenig, Dave Phillips, Dan Jackson,
Norman Bonnette, Ken VandenBosch, Terry Boston, CD Jerry Black & Doug Lindauer

Inaugural JCRC SPA Contest Report

This has been an amazingly bad year with one thing after another disrupting normal activities for all of us; most of the grief is the direct result of the spread of COVID-19 and its effect on the health of the nation, (and world), and the resulting economic crash as we “shut down” in an effort to “flatten the curve”. We were all confined to our homes for weeks which turned to months except for essential trips. Now we face an agonizingly slow reopening period with the virus ramping up as we open up. “Flattening the curve” also prolongs the curve. It takes the wisdom of Solomon to know just how to reopen-what should we do, and how should we do it? Within SPA, six of our contests have been cancelled so far with the East-West Shootout being the latest casualty.

That said, the West has managed to hold its first contest at the end of June, and this past weekend the Johnson City RC club staged the East’s first event of 2020--their first-ever contest! This event almost wasn’t however as CD Jerry Black wrestled with the final decision. I originally heard that he had decided to cancel it, but later that same day, things changed and they were indeed going ahead. Apparently, Dave Phillips can be very persuasive and pushed it over the top; everyone attending was glad he did it so that well into July our Eastern season could begin. Those who chose to sit-out this event, we know how much you wanted to come, and we understand that whether to come or not is a highly individual and personal decision—just know that you were missed.

Asheville held a contest about sixty-five miles to the south of here for ten years, and during most of that time I lobbied Vic Koenig and Jerry Black for a second contest in the area but factors never quite worked out. This year however, Dan Jackson was club president, Jerry became a CD, and most importantly, many TALENTED club members came forward to volunteer. The club just put on a first-rate contest on its first try right out of the box! I could tell by just talking to the club officers that they were proud of their club and very enthusiastic about holding this first event. Critical to success of any contest is the computer scorer, and the club’s Doug Lindauer, (who also participated in Novice), studied up on the computer program, and worked by phone with Jim Johns. He was a quick study and along with assistant Nick Nicadimus did a fantastic job!

As people arrived to practice on Friday there were a lot of “flying elbows” instead of handshakes and hugs. Not everyone wore masks 100% of the time, but many did, and everyone was practicing more “social distancing” than usual. People were needing to get out, visit, and most of all, compete; they were more than willing to do what was necessary to make this event happen, and for it to be successful. There was an almost palpable atmosphere of happiness and good will to be back flying again, with lots of smiles on the faces of the twelve participants. People came all the way from Mississippi, Florida, and other far-off locations to be there. Personally, I just got my first three flights of the season in earlier in the week and I’m not ready for “prime time”, but came just to judge and help out.

To quote Jamie and Dave Phillips, (both seemed more excited and upbeat than usual):

What a treat to travel a bit and contest fly to boot. Great bunch of guys here and it appears we may be in the middle of us a new Bunch of SPA flyers. Super well-run contest and the site about as good as anyone I’ve seen. We were treated to donuts, water and soda of your choice this AM. One or 2 of the club members took on the scoring and did it like pros. What a Fantastic bunch of club members helping out just making things run even smoother. Not one mishap to my knowledge, and About even in each class. The social distancing worked like a champ, and if in close proximity of another, up came the mask!!! Worked like a charm, and Jerry had spare mask for the talking!

I totally agree with what you said Jamie! The club members were as excited about us being there as we were. looks like we will have a new place to fly SPA for next year as well. Several of the guys were talking about doing it again for 2021. Peggy and I got out and did some exploring around Historic Jonesborough ! (Oldest town in Tennessee) well worth the time. Jerry's club members did an outstanding job on all aspects of the contest from the food, to keeping the lines running and I have to mention Doug Lindauer that did the scoring, first time to try it and it went off without a hitch! The contest was run like they were OLD PROS. Great job guys. Last… I must add the club has some very nice give away prizes with the top prize being a very nice Yeti cooler being the top prize!! WE now have at home as Lucky Peggy did it again ... WOW that girl is lucky HaHa.

Competition was close in several classes, especially ADVANCED and EXPERT as the lead seesawed back and forth depending on who won the round. The quality of flying was good, but should improve further as the rest of the season (hopefully), progresses. See the standings for the final numbers.
This is far from Jerry’s first “rodeo”, and he along with Dan Jackson knew exactly what to do to make things run like “buttuh”. We had four rounds in on Saturday (with highs in the mid-90s and light winds), before 2pm, and on Sunday, the weather was great and the remaining two rounds were finished around 10:30. Jerry invited the media out, and two different local television stations came out and did great local coverage (links below).

Channel 11 -
Channel 5 -

The Johnson City club is the home base of long-time SPAers Jerry Black Vic Koenig. They have obviously been excellent goodwill ambassadors for SPA since they have recruited at least 5-6 other pilots from their club into the SPA fold over time, including JCRC President Dan Jackson. That’s an enviable record for our other home clubs to try to emulate. Things went well enough at this first JCRC event that our general impression is that this contest was only the first of many and that Johnson City may well become a regular stop on the future SPA contest circuit!

Thanks Jerry, Dan and JCRC for a great first 2020 event.
Duane Wilson

Final Scores
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