NEAR ELOY, Ariz. (KSAZ) – As one saying goes, you are as young as you feel, and that can’t be more true for one retirement community south of Phoenix.
In that community, retirees are feeling like kids again, as they race and fly in a special park that is just for them.
“It’s just guys playing with their toys really, and they love it,” said Butch Spiller, President of Robson Ranch’s Radio Control Club. “Most of the people here are retired. It gives them the opportunity to have their toys.”
At the park where radio controlled cars and planes race and fly, one might never know it’s for seniors only. The club began with 12 members, and now has over 50.
“People just love to come out here,” said Spiller. “It gives their wives an opportunity to send their husbands out someplace and keep them out of their hair, so it works out really really well.”
For some, like the club’s Vice President Bill Engler, they turned to the hobby, as an alternative to other, perhaps more traditional sport for people of a certain age.
“I was a golfer until about four months ago,” said Engler. “I wrecked my knee and I got into this thing and I can’t get enough of it.”
The RC race car track is equipped with a computer that keeps track of who is in the lead, with precision.
On the other side of the park is an airport. An airport, to be precise, for RC planes. Pilots arrive with their planes, which are mounted to the back of golf carts.
Paul Downey is the park’s RC Plane Safety Officer.
“I bought a house here because they had a good flying club and they had a quilting group for my wife,” said Downey. “I’m out of the house, she can quilt!”
The airport for RC planes has two runways, meaning pilots have some options, when it gets windy. Flying an RC plane is a bit harder than driving a car, so club members make sure everyone stays safe.
“We have trainers who are actually able to train people on how to fly a plane,” said Downey.
Whether it’s racing cars or flying planes, this RC Club is not about how old its members are, but how young they feel.
“It gives everyone an opportunity to play with their toys and buy new toys,” said Spiller. “Same thing with the planes. It works just great and everybody just loves it.”
Land for the park, as well as the heavy equipment used to build the track, were donated by Robson Ranch.