Support keeps ‘em launching

Robert Smith
Edie Adams’ smile tells you everything you need to know. She’s having a great time at the annual Pawhuska rocket launch held last weekend. Reba Bueno/Pawhuska Chamber of Commerce.

The leaders of Tulsa Rocketry, which organizes and carries out the annual rocket launch at the Pawhuska airport, said Friday that the steadfast support of the city’s government and its businesses is what keeps them coming back year after year.

Tulsa Rocketry, a nonprofit that promotes education about rocketry, held its 15th annual rocket launch at the airport Saturday and Sunday. Organizers said the launch has a regional draw among adults, and is the only event of its kind in Oklahoma. It is always held at the end of September.

“We have a good relationship with the city of Pawhuska. We get support from the Chamber of Commerce,” Paul Reed, president of Tulsa Rocketry, said. He and vice president Hal Ellis mentioned Kendrick McCartney Johnson Funeral Home, American Heritage Bank and Indian Electric as area supporters that have shown a consistent interest. They also noted that Hobby Town in Tulsa provides rocket kits for the annual launch that are given away to kids.

Ellis said one of the most exciting aspects of the rocket kit giveaways is that the kits Tulsa Rocketry now distributes are essentially rockets in boxes. They’re ready to go. Kids, with parental supervision, can receive the kits, get in line and fire them right away, he said.

The rocket launch reaches beyond stirring the imaginations of youngsters, though. It caters to the community of adult rocketry enthusiasts who pursue the activity as a hobby.

“It’s also kind of a regional event in terms of the adult, what we call high-power flights,” Ellis said. “It is real serious hobbyists that are into the sport.”

Tulsa Rocketry has a relationship with the Astronomy Club of Tulsa, which does some stargazing on Saturday nights of the Saturday-Sunday rocket launch.

Ellis pointed out ways in which the city of Pawhuska had provided aid to the rocket launch — newly mowed grass, trash receptacles, fence posts; and he cited the assistance of the municipal fire department in helping keep things safe.

“That’s why we keep coming back to Pawhuska,” Ellis said.