Rodeo 2011, the "very best ever!"

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Jon Olekszyk
  • McChord Field Rodeo Director
Whew! After (literally) years of planning, thousands of hours of hard work, and the combined efforts of the Joint Base Lewis-McChord team, Air Mobility Rodeo 2011 is over. The success of this year's Rodeo is a testament to your efforts, enthusiasm and professionalism. Thanks to Rodeo, our fellow mobility Airmen are better trained and better prepared to work alongside our international friends and partners.

When I took over as the Rodeo director back in October, I was aware of lots of rumors and innuendos about the future of this event. The word on the street was that we couldn't come together to pull this off. I suspect there were similar discussions at other bases who'd like to host Rodeo themselves.

Well, thanks in no small part to the leadership and vision of the Garrison commander, Col. Tommy Brittain, I know we've proved any naysayers wrong. It has been one of the highlights of my career to watch the JBLM team come together in such a high-visibility, no-fail task. Blue, green, Active, Reserve, civilian - it didn't matter. Everyone stepped up and gave their all. Your energy and attitude was infectious. You could see it in the competitors, our civic leaders and our international guests.

For those of you who attended the closing ceremonies, I hope you noted that Gen. Johns started his speech with thanking all of you and stating that Rodeo 2013 would be here at JBLM! He sent a message loud and clear--he trusts us with Air Mobility Command's largest competition.

I want to finish my time as the Rodeo director by sending a similar message - thank you. I want to thank Col. Wyn Elder, Col. Bruce Bowers and Col. Brittain for their leadership (and patience!). I want to thank the squadron commanders, first shirts and chiefs for their support, especially as international team hosts. And I want, most of all, to thank all the volunteers - blue and green - who came together, gave 110 percent and successfully executed the largest, and in the words of Gen. Johns, the "very best ever" Air Mobility Rodeo!