Wild West Air Fest will soar to new heights in Steamboat Springs this weekend | SteamboatToday.com
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Wild West Air Fest will soar to new heights in Steamboat Springs this weekend

The Rocky Mountain Renegades put on a show at Steamboat Springs Airport on Friday morning while practicing for this week's air show
John F. Russell

If You Go...

What: 11th annual Wild West Air Fest and 2nd annual Airshow

When: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday and Sunday

Where: Steamboat Springs Airport (no parking at event site — park at the Stockbridge Transit Center, 1463 13th St., for the free shuttle)

Tickets: $10 per day for adults (or $15 for the weekend), $5 for youth ages 6 to 7 for the weekend, and free for children 5 and younger. For an additional $5, new VIP flight-line seating is available.

— Spins, rolls, dips and loop-de-loops — the action-packed Wild West Air Fest’s aerobatic show is about to take off. And this year, the event has expanded to include more performers and tricks in the sky.

If You Go…

What: 11th annual Wild West Air Fest and 2nd annual Airshow

When: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday and Sunday



Where: Steamboat Springs Airport (no parking at event site — park at the Stockbridge Transit Center, 1463 13th St., for the free shuttle)

Tickets: $10 per day for adults (or $15 for the weekend), $5 for youth ages 6 to 7 for the weekend, and free for children 5 and younger. For an additional $5, new VIP flight-line seating is available.



In its 11th year, the Wild West Air Fest will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Steamboat Springs’ Bob Adams Airport. There will be no pets allowed and no parking available at the event site, but there will be parking at the Stockbridge Transit Center where attendees can ride the free shuttle to the airport.

“Incorporating the airshow was such a success last year because there really are not that many in the state of Colorado,” said Debby Standefer, airshow director for the Wild West Air Fest. “It’s really pretty cool we get this caliber of performers here. I think it will continue to grow every year.”

Returning from last year’s first air show will be Denver-based pilot Don Nelson. He’ll be showing off in his single-seat aerobatic aircraft, the Sukhoi SU-26.

An international aerobatics champion who has flown and competed on the German and U.S. teams, Dagmar Kress will bring her Pitts biplane for an exhilarating performance. The local Rocky Mountain Renegades will also be part of the airshow, flying eight aircrafts in close formation to fill the sky for a mesmerizing performance.

New pilots this year include Barry Hancock in his T-6 warbird. Throughout his performance, he will demonstrate all of the maneuvers flown by WWII military pilots for a crowd-pleasing performance that pays tribute to all the men and women who sacrificed their lives for freedom.

With 39 years in the air, Bob Freeman has spent about two-thirds of that time in competitive aerobatic competitions. He’s flown in two world championships and received fourth place in 2002. This weekend, he will bring his Extra 300 plane to twist through the air for a number of gut-wrenching, technical maneuvers.

In an extremely challenging feat, Ken Fardle and Todd McLaughlin will bring their Trojan T-28 warbirds for solo and formation fly-bys at high speed. Standefer explained that these fully aerobatic aircrafts have the ability to takeoff using less than 800 feet of runway, climb to 10,000 feet in less than 90 seconds, race above a level of 335 miles per hour and dive faster than 380 miles per hour.

Another new addition this year will be plane rides for spectators available on a first-come, first-serve basis on both days. The rides will be given in a T-6 warbird plane, a Commemorative Air Force C-45, a J-3 Cub, a 1942 Boeing Stearman and a Long Ranger Bell 206L-3 helicopter. Reservations and payments are made directly through the pilots, and prices vary for each aircraft.

Recognized as a highlight of the Labor Day festivities at the airport, the airshow will also offer a wide variety of activities for all ages with a kids zone and a new beer garden for adults.

The event also gives attendees a chance to learn about the history and stories of these renowned pilots and their aircrafts, which are coming to Steamboat from all over the world.

“People like airplanes but I don’t think they realize how accessible airplanes really are,” said local pilot Carl Marbach, who has participated in the event since he moved here 13 years ago. “They are able to touch, feel and see it up close. They get to see these planes that are not the usual 747s but the ones that are similar to automobiles that fly in a way.”

Schedule of events for Saturday and Sunday:

  • 9 a.m. Wild West Air Fest gates open
  • 10 a.m. Beer garden opens
  • 11 a.m. Opening ceremonies
  • 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Airshow performed by Don Nelson in his Sukhoi, Barry Hancock in his T-6 warbird, the Rocky Mountain Renegades in an eight-ship formation, Todd McLaughlin and Ken Fardie in the Trojan T-28, Bob Freeman in his Extra 330 and Dagmar Kress in her Pitts Biplane.
  • 3 p.m. Gates close

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email adwyer@ExploreSteamboat.com or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1


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