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Clover Creek Invitational 2016

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Old 09-06-2016, 06:48 PM
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Default Clover Creek Invitational 2016

This was an exciting event hosted by John and Tina Schroder in Toone, TN. In case you are wondering where Toone, TN is, well, as Gil Major describes it, "middle of nowhere".

From the website, "John Schroder would inherit the passion and vision for RC that he exhibits today. The apples donít fall far from that tree. John not only continues his fatherís zeal for RC aviation, but carries on the tradition of giving back to the RC community in much the same tradition established by his father and Bill Bennett. John has tirelessly devoted his time and personal resources to the advancement of our hobby. He concentrates on the youth of the hobby and offers support to anyone whenever he can. John has been instrumental in helping the International Miniature Aircraft Club (IMAC) achieve the status it holds today. When John retired in 2007, his desire for the ToC to live on became a driving focus of his life. He and his wife Tina began to search for a location that could support such an endeavor."

Although remote, Clover Creek is perhaps one of if not the most accommodating venues for one of, if not the IMAC and Freestyle event of the year. What made this event special was that the freestyle event was invitational, attracting pilots from as far away as Italy and Australia, while the IMAC portion of the event was traditional (i.e., IMAC rules with no prize money). However this did not fail to attract some of the best talent in the world. The current World IMAC Champion Kurt Koelling battled it out with Jason Shulman with each winning multiple rounds. Kurt dominated early in the competition, with Jason surging in the last few rounds to win. It was great seeing Will Berninger compete. His wife coaches him (several notable pilots had wife callers/coaches/judges) and it showed in his flying and results. Young Kal Reifsnyder at only 13 excelled in both IMAC and Freestyle invitational, winning the overall points award from John.

Gabriel Altuz and Jase Dussia battled it out among the 21 + freestyle pilots. This was a great competition for Joseph, being his first freestyle type of event. After we returned from the NATS we picked up Joe Smith's old XFC plane. I was impressed with Joseph's focus, as on his FIRST flight of the model he went straight into his freestyle routine! I am proud of how he finished and his performance against such great pilots, but also of his willingness to help others. He stayed up until 2 a.m. in Knoxville (en route to the contest stayed with the Turners (Kevin and Evan) fixing Sam's canopy so he could compete in the Clover Creek invitational. Wow, that's awesome.

I was able to study the competitors and learn the freestyle criteria and how the judges apply toward determining the winner as well. Jase pretty much dominated the competition up until the finals. The finals flight by Gabriel Altuz was simply amazing. Ray Morton pulled me aside at the completion of the finals, asking me who I thought would win. I told him it was going to be close. Gabriel had shown some maneuvers never seen before which were technically difficult, innovative and, well, spectacular. Jase showed power, control and an incredibly long and well choreographed routine (from takeoff to rolling harrier landing lasted probably 5 minutes). Although these elements did not count toward the score, they underlined the preparation and passion he had for wanting to win. And win he did, by only about 5 points out of 1000!... This was a truly happy moment for Jase and his dad.

Another side story is Kevin and Al Young. I've been flying Radiowave and JTEC aircraft since 2004. I flew the prototype Extra 300, built an extra light Extra 300 Radiowave and flew in past Don Lowe Masters and Clover Creek Invitationals. There were tears in the eyes of both Jason Shulman and Kevin Young during the award ceremony. Thier aircraft design which they have been working tirelessly for years, came out on top.

The young generation has arrived in force. I probably missed a few but Sacha, Tyler, Kal, Jase, Evan, Spencer, Sam, Garrett and Luke will be friends and competitors both for many years to come. Friends for a lifetime.
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Old 09-06-2016, 06:51 PM
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Some pictures I had from the event.


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Old 09-06-2016, 06:52 PM
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Some more pictures.

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Old 09-06-2016, 06:56 PM
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Another side story is Ray Morton. I met Ray about 20 years ago when he first moved into the DC area. We flew pattern together and I'll tell you what, he is as meticulous now as he was then with his immaculate Extra powered by a DA 200. Very nice. I was about to coach and call for Ray during the weekend (between freestyle rounds with Joseph) and Ray really appreciated the coaching.

Congratulations Ray for winning the 2016 Clover Creek "Highest Placing Senior" award in Unlimited class. Way to do it Ray!

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Old 09-06-2016, 06:59 PM
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Some additional pictures.

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Old 09-06-2016, 07:01 PM
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And some pictures from the flight line and award ceremony.


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Old 09-06-2016, 07:10 PM
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Some final pictures on the "roll"... In closing, we both worked hard as a team and although Joseph just missed out in making it into the finals, finishing 8th, his passion is strong and he plans to compete at future freestyle events. Joseph I am proud you are my son. A special congratulations to all the finalists and winners. Both enthusiasm and tears of joy filled the awards ceremony.


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