I remember talking with Scott Swing at Oshkosh in 1999. Scott had the look. He was going to answer every question that I had. But, I was just another “tire kicker.” I said I was planning on ordering the kit that spring. He nodded. I’m sure he said something along the lines of “sounds great.” I have no doubt he was thinking “yeah, right, I’ve heard that one before.” Little did they know…
One of the greatest parts of building the Velocity is the community. Building the Velocity has allowed me to meet some of the neatest people. Oshkosh is a rare opportunity; so many of us are in the same place at the same time.
I have a good friend that’s building an RV Spam can. I know, I know, but he really is a nice guy. He had mentioned that the RV builders have a cookout in Camp Scholler each year. I thought it would be a great way to kick back, relax, and do some hangar flying with some old friends I haven’t met yet.
I checked with Scott B. at the factory. I didn’t want to have the cookout on the same day as the Velocity dinner. I knew they weren’t happy with how things worked out in 2006. However, I wasn’t expecting them to drop the Velocity dinner and offer to sponsor me. Heck, how would they know I wouldn’t make a total mess out of this?
You know you have found the love of your life when you say “honey, I think I want to have a cookout for 70 people 400 miles from out house.” And she says “OK, I think we’ll need to do some shopping.”
Not to worry, there are plenty of good hearted souls in our community. We had plenty of volunteers. Not ordinary volunteers, extraordinary volunteers. In most endeavors of this kind, a fare amount of managing is needed. Not this group. I split up the jobs and things just happened around me. Bob Wood showed up right on time with all the beer and soft drinks we could use. Albert Khasky arrived with a freezer full of ice cream. Ha! Middle of summer and we’re having ice cream. RV Spam canners didn’t have ice cream!
Those that know me know that I am a coffee snob. For the last few years we have been setting up an Oshkosh Café of sorts. This year I brought about $4,000 worth of coffee making equipment. My lovely bride, Theresa, and I make coffee for anyone willing to brave the walk to our camper. As it turns out, Bonnie Swing is willing to walk about two miles each way to get a caramel latte. Theresa and I must have made 50 of those things. It gave Bonnie a good reason to scout out our camp site the day before.
The plan was to keep the focus on the people. The menu was simple, burgers and brats. As it turned out, we got a great deal from the friendly butcher at the Pick-n-Save. We told him we needed 70 burgers. He got out his pencil and said “If I could get you fresh ground round at $2 per pound, what would you say?” “Uh...yes!”
Dinner was burgers and brats on the grill. Theresa asked if we should have hot dogs as well. I looked at her, said as nicely as I could, that “the majority of people that will be there will be guys -- hungry guys. When given the choice between a burger, a brat, or a hot dog, a guy will not go for the hot dog.” She accepted that, but said she was still going to have “girl food.” So we had salad and carrots and other rabbit friendly items.
The burgers were great. I didn’t have a brat. But, I heard that Ken Baker had three of them, so I guess it all worked out. (Editor's Note: This is a vicious rumor with no veracity whatsoever. Slanderous, I tell you! -KB)
Far more important than the food, was the company. We had a great Velocity time. People got to put names and faces together. Personally, I got to meet Larry Epstein and his father and brother, Albert Khasky, Joe Ramsey, Dave Ullman, and so many other new friends.
We must have done well. After Oshkosh Scott Baker asked if we would be willing to do it again next year. You bet. We have a few ideas to make it better next year. But, in the end, I can only hope that next year was as good as this. Remember, if you ate a burger, you owe me a ride. If you ate a brat, you owe me two. :)