Wild West Air Fest returns to Steamboat for ninth year | SteamboatToday.com

Wild West Air Fest returns to Steamboat for ninth year

Luke Graham

Steamboat Springs youths Andrew Matthews

Steamboat Springs' Andrew Matthews, right, and Cole Morgan look at a 1951 Cessna during the 2012 Wild West Air Fest at Steamboat Springs Airport. The event will take place this year from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Matt Stensland

— John Barry's career speaks for itself.

He served in the Air Force for more than 30 years, retiring in 2004 as a two-star general.

He was a White House Fellow in the mid-1980s and was the superintendent of Aurora Public Schools from 2006 to 2013. Iin 2011, he was selected by the Colorado Association of School Executives as the Superintendent of the Year.

The list goes on and on for Barry, who will be one of the highlighted speakers for the ninth annual Wild West Air Fest.

The event runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Steamboat Springs Airport. Admission is $6 for adults, $3 for children 6 to 12 and free for those 5 and younger.

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Barry will give a presentation and a talk at 12:30 p.m. Saturday in the maintenance building.

Barry's talk will focus on his time as a board member and executive director for the Space Shuttle Columbia Accident Investigation.

The disaster occurred in 2003 when the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated during re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere.

The tragedy killed all seven crew members.

"NASA over the decades has many great accomplishments and it's quite a credit they are to our country," Barry said. "Unfortunately, in this case, they weren't."

Barry's speech and presentation will focus on the investigation and what the committee determined.

He has given the presentation to a wide spectrum of people before. He's talked to large corporations, students and the military among others because of the topic’s wide-ranging appeal.

"A term that was captured after Challenger was normalizing deviance," he said. "It's an odd phrase in some ways. Sometimes in organizations you'll see where things are going wrong and people write it off as the price of doing business or you normalize it. That's one of the things you should never allow to happen, particularly when it involves safety."

Other speakers at the event will include Chuck Stout, who will be discussing the advancement in aviation technology during World War II, and Phil Waters, who will be talking about aircraft carrier operations during the Vietnam War.

Stout will speak at 10:15 a.m. Saturday and 1:15 p.m. Sunday. Waters speaks at 1:15 p.m. Saturday and 10:15 a.m. Sunday.

The event has become widely popular, with Master of Ceremonies Mike Forney saying the event brings in more than 3,500 spectators.

"Each year it gets a little bigger," Forney said. "It gives the community an opportunity to meet some of the pilots stationed at the airport."

Other events will include a tribute to the troops, a radio-controlled airplane show as well as tons of events for children as well as opportunities to see vintage planes and have a chance to ride in several planes.

For a complete schedule and a list of planes available to take a ride in, click here.

"It's a great way for people to see what aviation is about and what all these airplanes are about," Forney said.

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com

Ninth annual Wild West Air Fest schedule

All events are held at Steamboat Springs Airport.


9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wild West Air Fest

10:15 a.m. World War II Presentation by Chuck Stout

Noon Tribute to the Troops

12:15 p.m. Radio Controlled Airplane Show

12:30 p.m. Presentation by John Barry on the Space Shuttle Columbia

1:15 p.m. Presentation by Phil Waters


9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wild West Air Fest

10:15 a.m. Presentation by Phil Waters

12:15 p.m. Radio Controlled Airplane Show

1:15 p.m. World War II Presentation by Chuck Stout

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