Once a year, when the skies over Rancho Cordova open up with a mighty roar, it is because of the work of hundreds of volunteers from every part of the region. Indeed, the California Capital Air Show is a triumph of volunteer effort. But one of them stands out from among the rest, and has from the beginning. And that's Bruce Risley.
Bruce has a long affiliation with Rancho Cordova having worked or lived here for nearly 40 years. And while Bruce has held many volunteer positions over the years, none has defined him in the way the California Capital Air Show has.
As the logistics manager of the Air Show, few among the 100,000-plus spectators who visit the air show in any given year know who Bruce is. But every single one of the 1,000 volunteers do -- and for good reason.
Bruce is credited with master-minding the incredible complexities that take the air show from an idea to reality. He spends all year working on the project, wheeling and dealing with lifelong business contacts to raise tents, collect trash, move equipment, string wire and everything else that makes the air show fly.
He overseas the drawing of maps, delivery of fuel, securing of water and food for the care of volunteers. And when special volunteers with special skills are needed, Bruce reaches into his thick mental file of friends and business associates and finds them.
In the five years of the air show, Bruce's plate-spinning antics have become so momentous that a few Air Show board members have been assigned the difficult task of trying to keep up with Bruce. These people are known to fellow board members as "Risley Wranglers"
and woe be to anyone who is given the job of keeping pace with Bruce Risley.
Bruce is well-known for working volunteers hard, but treating them well. Any task that involves a volunteer must be met with proper working conditions, adequate food and drink, and most of all, a hearty "thank you."
Of the 1,000 volunteers working at the air show, hundreds are there because they were personally invited to do so by Bruce.
Bruce is a member and past president of Rancho Cordova Kiwanis Club and is an active volunteer in all they do. He was a major driver behind the Concours d'Elegance Car Show. He is a former president of the Rancho Cordova Chamber of Commerce and many other groups and organizations which have built our city, including the Cordova Community Council.
It would be easy for Bruce to get a big head about all this, but mostly he has just gotten a big heart. And a big part of that is his unwavering focus on assuring that the Rancho Cordova community be awarded an important part of the spotlight that shines on the air show.
The incredible complexity of producing the California Capital Airshow is tackled by an army of volunteers who are dedicated to the message, the wonder and fun of throwing the biggest party in town. And while there are many who give much to make it happen, nobody has given more, and continues to inspire others to do the same, than Bruce Risley.
In short: We could not do it without him.
Let's hear it for the McGuyver of the Airshow: Bruce Risley!