Austin Fire

The band Austin Fire will be performing at the Osceola Community Fair.

 

Wheels & Wings to host Franklin’s Flying Circus, Mike Wiskus

The Osceola Community Fairgrounds have been a gathering place for old friends, neighbors and families to celebrate our roots in rural living for nearly a century. 

Set for September 6-8, the fair boasts truck and tractor pulls, music, exhibits, petting zoo, the Miss Osceola Coronation, and of course fair food. kids of all ages can enjoy the midway throughout the weekend. Put your chair out early on Sunday for a prime viewing location for the 1 p.m. parade.

The tractor pull started in 1950, and longtime event announcer John Bonneprise believes it was the first tractor pull in the state of Wisconsin.

In an effort to encourage women to compete in the 69th tractor pull, organizers are offering half-price pulls, $10, and a trophy for Queen of the Day.

Last year was about 40% women, according Bonneprise, who started announcing the event around 1955. This year they’re shooting for 50%. The event starts at noon on Saturday; registration at 10:30 a.m. 

The FFA honors two people each year for their appreciation and involvement in agriculture. This year that’s Don Cloutier Electric and the Bernard and Kevin Rochel Farm across the river.

“Don Cloutier has been here for the farmers pretty much 24/7,” said Bonneprise. “And the Rochels have improved the agriculture industry for farmers. Kevin runs a lot of land and is involved with the Osceola Braves. They’ve always been big supporters of everything up here.”

Plaques will be given about 3 p.m. Saturday at the FFA stand.

Live music at this year’s fair includes Austin Fire, Friday at 7:30 p.m., and F’N Radio with two sets on Saturday, at 1 and 7:30 p.m.

For the full fair schedule see https://osceolacommunityfair.com/events-music.

Wheels & Wings hosts Franklin’s Flying Circus, Mike Wiskus

It’s 1967 and a crowd has gathered at the airport for a weekend air show. Nineteen-year old Jimmy Franklin puts his Waco UPF-7 through its paces at show center and lands in front of the crowd. As he emerges from the cockpit, still wearing his goggles and leather helmet, he flashes a gambler’s grin and the crowd immediately warms up to the charismatic young man who will soon become an air show legend.

And so began Franklin’s Flying Circus, which will perform an airshow at Wheels & Wings this year.

The Franklins have thrilled audiences around the world for more than 45 years. This year’s show is inspired by Dracula. The immortal monster of dreams and nightmares takes the form of a new biplane and a thrilling airshow act. Dracula has the bold look and sound of a 1930s racing airplane with a custom paint job that looks like something from the opening scene of a horror movie. The debut of Dracula has been anticipated by Kyle Franklin’s audience for years as he finished the airplane in secret. More than 15 air shows booked the act without ever seeing even a picture of the elusive airplane. As with Dracula, a good mystery is as good as the tale.

The airshow also features Michael Wiskus and the Lucas Oil Pits. Wiskus’ dad took him to his first air show in Iowa at the age of 10. That show made an impression so deep that at 14, Mike rode his bike to the airport for two weeks straight and bugged the owner for a job washing airplanes and cleaning hangars.

In school, Mike had a teacher tell him he would never be a pilot. His grades weren’t great and he got into trouble. Later that year a tutor gave him the book “The Little Engine that Could.” It changed his attitude and it helped Mike believe in himself. He traded his work of washing airplanes for flying lessons and earned his pilot’s license on his 17th birthday.

Forty years later, Mike has accumulated more than 25,000 flight hours and has qualified in more than 40 aircraft. He keeps a very busy schedule as a full time air show pilot, flying the Lucas Oil stunt plane April through November. 

“It is incredible to be part of the Lucas Oil Team. Their products as well as their integrity make what I do even more rewarding,” he said. 

Wiskus says he still makes mistakes, but he doesn’t want to miss the opportunity to pass on the gift of encouragement shared with him. That is why he started the “I Can” program in conjunction with his air show. 

As a 2002 U.S. National Aerobatic Champion, and a member of the 2004 U.S. Aerobatic Team, Wiskus has traveled the world with the same aircraft visitors will see at the air show. His excitement for aviation and willingness to share his experience with people around the country is nothing short of contagious as he encourages kids of all ages to not only dream, but to live their dreams and never give up.

For the full Wheels & Wings schedule see https://www.wheelswings.com.

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