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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS FeedLuck o' the Irish
Young Eagles Raffle Winner 'One-Ups' his Dad

Michael Kenny, right, was greeted at the EAA Aviation Center by Tom Poberezny, EAA president, and Ruth Darr, co-chair of the 2008 Young Eagles Raffle. Kenny took possession of this year's grand prize, a 2009 Special Edition Ford Mustang Bullitt, on August 12.

2008 EAA Young Eagles Raffle

Ford Motor Company's 2009 Limited Edition Ford Mustang Bullitt was this year's grand prize in the Young Eagles Raffle. 1,500 tickets were available for $100 each, with proceeds going to help support EAA youth education outreach activities, including the Young Eagles program. The car was provided courtesy of Ford Custom Accessories and EAA, with support from Racette Ford of Oshkosh. There'll be another great raffle prize for the 2009 raffle, so stay tuned for further announcements.

It was Thursday, July 31, the night of the annual Gathering of Eagles fundraiser at AirVenture, and Michael Kenny was en route to joining his colleagues from Pilatus Aircraft, Ltd. when suddenly his phone rang. The 37-year-old Irishman saw it was from his father, Patrick, who was calling from home in Cork, Ireland.

"He just won a car in a raffle, a Ford Mondeo," Kenny told Donna Shackleton later as he plunked down $100 for ticket #1172 in the 2008 EAA Young Eagles Raffle. "I feel really lucky."

Shackleton, who co-chairs the Young Eagles Raffle with Ruth Darr, was selling tickets at the Gathering. The grand prize: a 2009 Special Edition Ford Mustang Bullitt. The drawing was scheduled for Sunday afternoon at the end of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2008.

You see where this story is going…

On Sunday, Kenny, a marketing manager for Pilatus, had returned home to Boulder, Colorado, and was playing with his 13-month-old son, Riley, when the phone rang again. It was his boss, Michael Haenggi, vice president of marketing for Pilatus, who was busy packing up the company's exhibit in Oshkosh. "I think you might have won the Mustang," Haenggi told him after hearing Kenny's name announced over the PA system.

An hour later, a call came in from EAA headquarters confirming the incredible news that lightning had indeed struck twice: Kenny won the hot, new Mustang, which was based on the one Steve McQueen drove in the 1968 movie, "Bullitt."

In the space of four days, father and son each won a new Ford on separate continents! Kenny said he was still "kind of shocked" when he returned to Oshkosh today (Tuesday, August 12), to pick up his shiny new car.

"This year was my first visit to Oshkosh," he said. "I was working in the exhibit and intended to get a raffle ticket, but never had a chance to go down and get one." Until Thursday at the Gathering, where Kenny said he had an opportunity to meet Edsel Ford II, great-grandson of Ford Motor Company founder Henry Ford, and tell him about his father's good luck. Maybe, just maybe a little "luck o' the Irish" rubbed off in that chance encounter.

"Edsel had just been to Cork himself," Kenny said. "The Ford family is originally from there, you know."

Kenny was greeted at EAA headquarters by President Tom Poberezny, and then took formal possession of the car at Racette Ford in Oshkosh. He planned to ship the car back to Colorado, although he said he'd love to drive it home. "I don't have the time to drive it back to Colorado. Plus, it's 1,000 miles," he said, sounding like a man who intended to give his new ride plenty of TLC.

And maybe someday, in 15 or so years, his son Riley will have a chance to drive it.

Which brings us back to Patrick Kenny of Cork, Ireland, whose phone rang late Sunday, four days after calling his son to tell of his good fortune:

"You know that car you won?" the voice on the other end asked. "Well, I did you one better…"


FUTURE AIRVENTURE DATES: 2014: July 28-Aug. 3; 2015: July 20-26; 2016: July 25-31; 2017: July 24-30
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