They came from all over parts of the upper Midwest Aug. 10 for the Fifteenth Annual Boulder Junction Musky Day Fly In: Iowa, Michigan and Minnesota, as well as Wisconsin.
One Minocqua area resident flew in just to get a hat.
The hat is a special one that EAA Chapter 75 Steve Krueger of Merrill said not everyone can have and they aren’t sold in stores.
They’re so special, he says, that the fly in’s founder, the late Bob Payzer, wouldn’t even let his cousin have one.
Payzer’s cousin, Krueger said, flew in Boeing B-29 Superfortresses in the Pacific during the latter stages of World War Two.
However, even with that war time B-29 experience, Payzer would never let his cousin have one of the hats, which are different each year.
“Unless he flew into the airport itself,” Krueger said, chuckling.
He said Payzer, who the airport is named after, had a passion for aviation and is the reason the fly in exists.
“Bob wanted activity at the airport during the Musky Days event downtown,” Krueger said. “So, he started this fly in fifteen years ago. He wanted people to fly in, shuttle them downtown, spend the day, enjoy themselves. It just started growing.”
Payzer was Chapter 75’s vice-president at the time of his death in 2010.
“We keep this fly in going on Bob’s behalf because of his passion for aviation,” Krueger said. “It’s also a way to draw people to the northwoods to spend the day and have some fun downtown.”
The official final count of airplanes registered at this year’s fly in was 80, 12 of those aircraft at the airport early Sunday morning, their occupants camped out under the wings.
In addition to the one of a kind ballcap, fly in participants also receive a free chicken dinner.
Krueger said volunteers run the fly in.
“Because we love aviation,” he said. “It comes from the heart and we’re going to continue this. For many, many years.”
Betsy Goldbach of Minocqua was the last person to arrive Sunday afternoon.
Krueger greeted her and told her that her airplane, an Aviat Husky 1-B float plane, was the 80th plane registered for the fly in.
“My sister reminded me,” she said. “‘It’s Boulder Junction’ she said and I was like ‘I’m going to miss the chicken dinner!’ But I can still get my hat.”
Goldbach’s Aviat was one of ten floatplanes registered in the event.
“It’s always the same weekend as Musky Days downtown,” Krueger said. “It’s always been that way and always will be.”
He said it’s another great opportunity for pilots to get together and meet up with old friends.
“We’re actually hoping to put Boulder Junction on the map,” Krueger said. “To get people to come and visit.”
Later, as a Cessna 172 from Iowa took off to head home, its pilot radioed back to Krueger a message that seemed to indicate a return trip to the northwoods would happen.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” the Cessna pilot said. “We’ll see you next year!”
Brian Jopek may be reached at email@example.com.