First-Ever Air and Ag Expo Huge Success

  • Published
  • By Captain Peter Shinn
  • OTS Det 12/AMS
The 185th Air Refueling Wing at Col Bud Day Field in Sioux City, Iowa, hosted a first-of-its-kind event combining the flying steel of U.S. air power and the ageless iron of antique and modern farm equipment. The inaugural Sioux City Air and Ag Expo drew as many as 20,000 people from the tri-state Siouxland area over its two-day run on August 1st and 2nd.

One of those in attendance was Lynn Mollet, a corn and soybean farmer from Jefferson, South Dakota, and a former member of the 185th. Mollet, who was accompanied by his son, said he wasn't surprised by the large turn-out for the Air and Ag Expo.

"Well this is a rural population. You're going to get people who are into ag and want to see the new ag equipment without going to the fairs," Mollet explained. "But you'll also have people who want to come see the aircraft, like my son, who's never flown and never been in the Air Guard, but he wanted to come see the planes."

And those who attended saw plenty of aircraft, both vintage and modern, including demonstration flights of privately-owned B-24 Liberator and B-25 Mitchell bomber aircraft from World War II, performances by the A-10 East and F-16 Viper East Demonstration Teams, and a special Heritage Flight featuring the A-10 Thunderbolt II, F-16 Fighting Falcon and P-51 Mustang. At the same time, attendees also had the opportunity to see the latest agricultural equipment from manufacturers like John Deere, Caterpillar and Kubota.

That combination of air power and agriculture is one reason thousands of people flocked to the event. Near-perfect weather also helped. But Colonel Brian Miller, Commander of the 185 ARW, credited the people of Siouxland as a whole for making the inaugural Sioux City Air and Ag Show such a success.

"We've always been able to count on the support of the people from the local community," Miller said. "Our 185th members are mostly drawn from this area, and their Midwestern values and work-ethic are a key reason this unit has been so successful for so long," he added. "This Air and Ag Expo is one way we wanted to show our appreciation to the community - the families and employers that make up this community - and we're looking forward to doing it again next year."

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