The Shafter Press - Serving the community since 1922

By Jamie Stewart
The Shafter Press 

Crowd entertained on land, in the air


November 7, 2019 | View PDF

Jamie Stewart | The Shafter Press

Felipe Ruelas, public relations coordinator for Mission Fish, with Brian and Jessica Barber and their daughter Kobianna.

The second annual Wings 'N' Wheels event was held Saturday, and there was something for everyone, whether your interests lie on land or in air.

Put on by Minter Field Air Museum, the event drew thousands to the Minter Field Airport for a glimpse of a great variety of winged aircrafts and motor vehicles.

At one of the biggest car shows in the area, there were over 350 cars and trucks, with several classes of vehicles, from classics to hot rods to pickup trucks.

The day saw a large number of vendors on site, with plenty of food and several booths set up with automotive and aeronautical supplies.

Minter Field Air Museum had several of their vehicles on display, including their "Follow Me" yellow Jeep, their Red Baron antique biplane and their ever-popular LOACH helicopter.

Biplane rides were available at the event, with an option for one or two people taking to the skies at a time. Fred Strauss, who traveled to Shafter from Visalia, said it was a great experience, as he went up in the biplane with his grandson. "He has never been in an airplane before and this was such a great time to help him see what it feels like to fly. I flew in the military and would tell him how amazing it is. Now he knows for himself."

The event is cosponsored by California Pinups and Patriots. This group of ladies appear at a variety of events and pay homage to our military and the brave men and women who serve our country. Dressed in outfits that harken back to the heydays of the USO Tours, they took pictures with attendees and helped organize the event.

A number of military groups and organizations were on hand, including the Wounded Warriors Project and Mission Fish. Mission Fish is a nonprofit organization from Ventura County that takes veterans on fishing trips for enjoyment and as a kind of therapy. It is free for veterans and includes fishing, equipment and lunch. Jessica Barber and her husband Brian, a US Marine Corps veteran, are the founders of the organization. They love bringing joy to the veterans and helping them in their civilian lives. "We are dedicated to serving and helping those men and women who have sacrificed themselves for our country and might need a little help and maybe a relaxing time."

Also at the all-day event was the all-electric Eagle airplane. This aircraft can fly up to one hour on a single charge of its battery.

Jamie Stewart | The Shafter Press

This replica of James Dean's Spider will be on permanent display at the museum.

A lot of people were also interested in the James Dean exhibit. The James Dean Museum, located in Fairmount, Indiana, sent several artifacts from the museum, including a trophy Dean had won at Minter Field when he raced there just months before his death. There was also a replica of the exact Porsche Spider that Dean was driving when he had his fatal accident. Ronald Pierce of the Minter Field Air Museum said the replica is being given to the museum and will be put on permanent display in the coming months.

Another featured attraction at the event was the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. Named after the Native American war leader Black Hawk, the UH-60A entered service with the U.S. Army in 1979 to replace the Bell UH-1 as the Army's tactical transport helicopter.

There was plenty of great music at the event, including performances by Three Bad Jacks and the local Shafter Big Band.

Pierce said the crowd exceeded their expectations and they were very happy with the amazing turnout. They are looking forward to the opportunity of making the event even bigger and better next year.


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