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The Buckhorn

Copyright (c) 2010
Winters Express
312 Railroad Avenue, Winters, CA 95694
(530) 795-4551
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Not bad for a kid from Winters

It was another successful year for the Button family at the Reno Air Races. Last year Bob Button’s P-51 Voodoo, piloted by Steve Hinton, Jr., took home the gold in the Unlimited Championship. Bob had been competing for 15 years when he finally put all the pieces together last year. He joked that the first 10 years didn’t count, “because we didn’t know what we were doing.” Well, he has figured it out now.
The real race was during Saturday’s qualifying heat when the quicker Strega tried to overtake Voodoo at the finish line and blew a piston. Voodoo won that heat by a propeller and Strega was out. The word in the pit area was that Strega’s owner, and pilot, Tiger Destefani, was trying to show up Steve Hinton, Jr. and it cost him the championship. Stevo (they call him that to distinguish him from his famous father) won four times for Strega before moving over to the Voodoo team last year. Did I mention that Stevo is only 27 years old and this is his sixth win in a row at Reno?
Watching the crew last year was hard. They were anxious, nervous, and trying to keep busy, even when they had done everything possible to put themselves in a winning position. This year they were more relaxed, or at least appeared to be enjoying their time in the spotlight. They had made a few modifications to the plane this year to make it faster, the crew had been together one year longer and they believed in their pilot and engine.
I even have a picture of Frank Young smiling and that may be a first. He is the heart and soul of Team Voodoo and is part of the engine building team with crew chief Bill Kerchenfaut that keeps Voodoo in the air. At the end of every race, or practice run, they drain the oil through a filter and look for metal shavings that would show engine damage. When the screens are clean, you hear Frank whistle to signal “clean as a whistle.” After this year’s final race you heard more than a whistle, you heard cheering. The Rolls-Royce engine ran at top speed, averaging 463 mph, without a problem and that says something about the engine builders.
I have to say something about the election in Scotland on Thursday, Sept. 18. For over 300 years Scotland has been part of Great Britain, but they are voting whether to become an independent country. There are a lot of questions that will need to be answered if they vote for independence, like what currency would they use, could they join NATO and the European Union? A free and independent Scotland has been the dream of a lot of people for a long time, and this election has been judged too close to call. If it is a 50.1 percent vote, there will be a lot of dissension between those that voted for independence and those that voted to stay with England.
It is only a matter of time before Scotland becomes it own country, again. It may never be the perfect time, so I’m hoping they seize the moment and vote for independence now. With a last name of Wallace, I think they should let me send in an absentee ballot. On Thursday night everyone who believes in freedom for Scotland should drink a little scotch whisky; those who believe in staying with Great Britain, have a cut of tea.
Have a good week.