Fly like the wind

September 2, 2018

CALLAWAY — The 27th annual Callaway Kite Flight drew veterans and newbies alike on Saturday.

The event has grown from its roots that began when five kite club members from Omaha met five club members from Monument, Colorado, at a field southeast of Callaway for the first flight.

Donald Murphy of Omaha is one of the founding members of the Callaway Kite Flight.

“I was contacted by Connie May 27 years ago and I brought five members of our local club out, and Scott Skinner was the one from Monument, Colorado, who brought five people from Colorado for the first one, and that was all of us,” Murphy said. “We started flying and every year it’s grown since then.”

He said the professional flyers bring out the big show kites as long as the wind is blowing.

“If the wind’s not blowing, we’re sitting here watching the kiddie kites going,” Murphy said.

Tyler Woody, 14, of Lexington and his sister Erin Woody, 16, flew a kite for the first time Saturday.

“This is my first year,” Tyler said. “When we got here a man was flying kites, and he asked if we wanted to fly some kites, so he let us use his kites.”

Tyler said it was a lot of fun.

Another participant, Matthew Arndt, 9, of Cozad, had nearly a lifetime of experience.

“I’ve been coming out here for about 7 or 8 years,” Arndt said. “My grandma gave me this kite.”

Each year, the Kite Flight honors someone who has passed with a memorial kite.

“Our family has been involved in the kite flying for many years,” said Anna Johnson of Callaway. “My husband’s grandmother is actually getting the memorial kite today. Her name is Wanda Johnson. So we’re part of that crew.”

Another man actually retired in Callaway because of the kite flight.

“We came out here before we moved (to Callaway) and this is what drew me to this town,” said John Howard of Callaway. “I have grandkids in Wyoming and grandkids in Kansas. I was getting ready to retire and wanted to be close to both sets.”

As he and his wife searched, they happened to visit Callaway during the Kite Flight 12 years ago.

“We just searched around and when we got here they were having the kite flight and people were just so friendly,” Howard said. “I just like flying a kite.”

Howard retired after a 40-year career as a pilot.

“I always had a kite with me and every place I was in the world I flew a kite,” Howard said. “The only place I haven’t flown a kite is Antarctica. I’ve been there, but the wind wasn’t right.”

Howard was in the Air Force for 20 years and then flew for U.S. Air Express for another 20 years.

The Kite Flight continues today until about 4 p.m.

For more information, go to facebook.com/events/267942743702252 for the Flight’s Facebook page.

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