July 23, 2005

"Let's go GET 'EM"

Sad news. The yodeler died.

Bill_Ricketts_webEvery morning here at AirVenture, at 7 am, the yodeler would come on the PA and wake us all with a joyous call to arms.

"Good morning Oshkosh" Followed by the sound of a turbine engine spinning up, then, just as the turbine would reach full pitch the sound would change to a sputtering biplane engine.

The yodeler would sing, recite poetry. Some mornings he'd have guests singing with him. One morning a woman played the flute. Then he'd yodel, and if you were down at the comm center watching him out on the announcer stand you'd see that while trilling he'd wave his arms, dance, do a little jig. He was happy about life and the start of a new day at Oshkosh. It all lasted only a few minutes, and was concluded with his happy cry of, "OK, let's go get 'em!"

Some people didn't get it, but I always thought it was a great way to start the day.

For the past few years I've made a point to be down there to watch him each morning. He usually drew a small crowd, but some mornings I would be the only one watching. One morning, while waiting for 7am, he said hi to me from the stand. We chatted for a few secs about the weather, his airplane, coming to Oshkosh. Just a regular, nice guy.

Most of us didn't know his name. He was just the Yodeler.

Bill Ricketts died on June 21 from lung cancer. But the yodeler will live on.

Posted by jackhodgson at July 23, 2005 08:41 AM