The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Dena Wood
the Times 

Rolling Thunder comes to Dayton, June 21-23

Blue Mountain Rocketeers host three-day rocket launch event


Courtesy photo

Several rockets launch from the Blue Mountain Rocketeers' launch site outside Dayton.

DAYTON-Rolling Thunder, the Blue Mountain Rocketeer's (BMR) most popular event of the year, will take place over three days, June 21-23. Model rocketry enthusiasts from all over the Pacific Northwest are anticipated to attend the event that is open to all NAR/TRA and non-members as well as the general public.

BMR was created in November of 1994, as a youth and family-oriented model rocketry club, and has consistently ranked among the five best rocketry groups in the nation during the annual National Association of Rocketry's "NAR Section of the Year" selections.

The leadership consists of an adult Section Advisor and a four-person Board of Directors, all of which are youth, age 18 or younger. It is one of only a handful of youth-oriented model rocketry clubs in the United States.

BMR charges no membership dues, event or pad fees and welcomes all rocketry enthusiasts as well as the general public. Rocketry enthusiasts from across Oregon, Washington and Idaho attend the club's monthly model rocket launches and BMR even boasts a member from Hawaii.

According to the club website, BMR's diverse membership includes an aerospace machinist, an attorney, a hydro-electric dam operator, a civil deputy, a registered nurse, a physical therapist, farmers, students and even an aerospace engineer who worked on the space shuttle.

Over the years, the club has hosted rocketry enthusiasts from as far away as the United Kingdom, Slovakia, Hawaii and Korea.

The BMR launch site is located 4.5 miles north of Dayton, eight-tenths of a mile off State Route 12 on Whetstone Road. The site, located on Broughton Land Company property, is situated at the west end of a 66-acre alfalfa field in the middle of a low wide valley. The club maintains a launch control system supporting 32 launch pads equipped with stainless steel launch rods and four, six- and eight-foot launch rails.

During the Rolling Thunder launch event a 5000-foot FFA waiver will be in effect from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. all three days. A club meeting, open to the public, will take place at noon on Saturday. The event includes door prize drawings, a "Northwest Classics" launch, a "Show us Your Weasel" LOC Weasel drag race, and Friday and Saturday night launches.

BMR owns a porta-potty on site for the convenience of members and guests. On-site camping is available with excellent stargazing opportunities. No open campfires are permitted however, barbeques, camp stoves and portable patio bits and lanterns are acceptable as long as they don't leave burn marks.

To learn more about the Rolling Thunder event, the Blue Mountain Rocketeers, or rocketry in general, visit or visit the Blue Mountain Rocketeers on Facebook.


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