RENO, NV - He is proud to call himself a Reno native and in his 84 years of living, Wayne Adams has done Reno proud.
He was the youngest person to win the state golf championship-- beating Ben Hogan, he adds, nonchalantly. He also was an avid skier, winning the prestigious Silver Dollar Derby up at Slide Mountain.
But whether it was a ski pole or golf club in hand, his eyes were always to the skies and those planes flying in it. “I'm a very fortunate guy 'cause I've been able to do an awful lot of things,” says Adams.
He says he flew 31 different aircraft during his stint with the Air Force.
But nothing he said would compare to his civilian adventures in a Mustang P-51 which he flew cross country from Clear Water Florida to Reno in 1964.
“Wonderful friend, and he said Wayne, I gotta friend in Los Angeles, named David Maytag, of the Maytag family; very wealthy. He has half a dozen airplanes, and he's got a Mustang, he says, and I think we could talk him into sponsoring you,” says Adams.
Adams says to get to Florida, he had to skirt hurricane Doris; he arrived just in time, and had four hours before briefing. “There were 12 racers. The Mustang was the favorite one,” remembers Adams.
He says he only had to fuel up once in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
“And I looked down midfield, and I saw my crew with a big fuel truck and the whole bit,” says Adams
Six hours later he would be the first to arrive at the air races in the Transcontinental Trophy Dash. Harold's Club sponsored the race; Wayne was greeted by showgirls and a trophy.
He says he never expected to win, just compete--but he took that competition to heart. “This is what burning desire is all about. I had dreamed about doing this race for months and months. And we had worked day and night on that airplane. There are people out there show come here solely to win. But there are a lot of people who come as AI did, to be a participant to be a part of...” says Adams.
In case you'd like to meet Wayne Adams, he'll be at the Championship Air Races Saturday signing his book, “A Burning Desire.” Look for the booth under the same name.