The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

October 6, 2012

Kitefliers participate in Rokkaku challenge demolition derby

By Cass Rains, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Kids had the chance to hone their fighting skills Saturday — their kite-fighting skills that is.

American Kitefliers Association held a miniRokkaku challenge Saturday afternoon behind Autry Technology Center, as part of its 35th annual convention held in Enid this week.

Phil Broder explained the rules for eager kitefliers, who each were given miniRokkaku, or six-sided Japanese fighting kites.

“The idea is to have a demolition derby in the air,” he said, giving a quick set of instructions to the kids and the adults helping them. “What you want to do is bash your kite into anther kite or cross your string with another to cut it.”

While it was an aerial free-for-all, there were some steadfast rules for those on the ground.

“No body-to-body contact,” Broder said. “It’s strictly friendly on the ground.”

With a crisp wind flapping kites across the field, it did not take long for the first round of the battle to produce a winner.

Nine-year-old Austin Davidson had the last kite standing in the miniRokkaku battle.

“I thought I was going to lose,” he said, wearing a Cheshire-cat grin.

It was the first time Davidson had ever flown a Rokkaku and his first time to ever fly a kite.

Dave Young with the Tulsa Wind Riders kite club is a Rokkaku expert. His club helped make the kites used for Saturday’s battle.

“I’m a big fighter kite guy,” he said. “The Tulsa Wind Riders got together one weekend and made about a dozen of them.”

Some of the kites were crafted from three-quarter inch nylon kite fabric with carbon fiber spines and spurs. Others were made from Japanese washi paper with bamboo spines and spurs.

“They all fly really well,” Young said. “People are getting it. All the kites are flying.”

Young, who now lives in Duncan but still participates in his Tulsa club, had this one piece of advice for miniRokkaku battlelers: “Have fun.”