Air show began with a flyby

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : June 22, 2014

Courtesy Photo Pinnacle Club resident and aeronautic stunt jet pilot Randy Ball stands with his Russion MiG-17 fighter jet.

Courtesy Photo
Pinnacle Club resident and aeronautic stunt jet pilot Randy Ball stands with his Russion MiG-17 fighter jet.

Special to The Monitor
PINNACLE CLUB–Already folks are starting to plan their July 4 celebrations around The Thunder Over Cedar Creek Lake air show, whose title sponsor is Amber Di’Lane Homes.
Since its thrilling debut in 2007, the pilots of vintage military aircraft, along with the daring of biplane pilots and others have entertained visitors and residents alike. Their flyby stunts over the water have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for military charities.
This year promises to be just as dramatic with the action beginning at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, July 5. VIP seating is staged on the shores of the Pinnacle Golf & Boat Club for $50.
Key sponsors of this year’s show include The Boat Shop, Tri-County Ford and Teague Chevrolet.
A luau-themed Pilots Party is set for 7 p.m. Friday, July 4. Admission is $20 for adults and $12 for children.
Thunder Over Cedar Creek Lake is the fifth largest air show in the southwest and the only one completely over water.
And it all began with Pinnacle Club residents Jennifer and Randy Ball.
Randy, a 23-year air show veteran, is passionate about flying and owns a Russian Mikoyan-Gurevich jet, a MiG-17 (doesn’t everyone?).
Randy was flying home after a July 4th air show at Tinker Air Force Base in 2005 and had fuel for a few flybys before returning to the airport in Tyler.
Internationally known with an unlimited jet aerobatic rating with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Randy flew over his house to say “hi” to Jennifer and their guests, who were sitting outside.
He came in loud and low and was noticed by more then their guests! The neighbors and others described the “wave” as an exciting holiday adventure!
Some neighbors got together and requested Randy do a flyby over the lake on the next July 4.
He agreed and he invited several other air show professionals in their planes.
By now, lots of Pinnacle residents were asking if he would do it for a third year.
Randy made a comment about the price of gas going up and wasn’t sure how many people he could recruit to donate their expenses.
Pinnacle Club residents said they would help, including Forest Smith who held a “Save Our Show (SOS) Party.”
He collected money and assisted the Balls recruit residents to house the pilots and their families after Randy said it would be good to give our military people a taste of home.
Pinnacle Club residents went all out, taking the pilots and their families boating on the lake, golfing and swimming at the club.
And the air show was born.
Randy and Dwight “DC” Campbell, a retired Air Force pilot, were able to get our Air Show to be a qualified event for Air Force participation.
Campbell donates time and effort in the hot sun at Tyler to get the air show planes on schedule for the show.
The Air Force became a huge part of program after an aerial estimation showed that roughly 40,000 people on the water and along the shorelines were watching the show.
When wounded soldiers were being sent home from the Iraq war, Randy used the Air Show to help raise money to support a Fisher House in Dallas.
Military families can stay for free at Fisher House, if their military family member is being treated and they live more than a certain number of miles away.
Randy and Smith formed the Cedar Creek Veterans Foundation (CCVF) to manage all of these projects and it quickly became a main fundraiser for the Fisher House.
Pinnacle Club resident Mark Fankhauser oversaw the legal requirements and former Pinnacle Club resident Bob O’Neil was named the foundation’s first president. Outside sponsorships were obtained, allowing CCVF to donate a significant amount of money to the opening of the Fisher House.
In 2010, an annual golf benefit was added to boost the amount the foundation could donate, with Pinnacle Club resident Gayle Robinson taking on the project, assisted by Elaine Bownes. A feature of the golf tournament honors local and Texas veterans with special recognition and gratitude.
The CCVF board decided to give the air show an official name to attract more visitors, and the air show was named Thunder Over Cedar Creek Lake.
After the Fisher House opened, the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society and the Hope for the Warriors charities were added as beneficiaries.
More than 90 percent of the monies these charities receive go to veterans who are dealing with physical or emotional issues after returning home from war, that’s why they have received an A-plus rating. CCVF received the seal of approval from the Independent Charities of America.
CCVF is dependent upon its volunteers and financial sponsors to pull off this great event and benefit veterans in a meaningful way.
For more information about Thunder Over Cedar Creek Lake, go to www.cclairshow.com.
For more information about the Cedar Creek Veterans Foundation, go to www.ccveteransfoundation.org.