Wings Over the Rockies explains why campaign rally revenue 'trumps' kids' field trips

Posted at 11:45 PM, Jul 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-29 01:45:24-04

DENVER -- About 75 kids expecting field trips to Wings Over the Rockies had their plans canceled in favor of a political rally.

Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump booked his Friday night rally in the air and space museum in Lowry.

"I didn't know this until about noon yesterday, that he wanted to have a rally here tomorrow," said Mark Hyatt, the museum's Chief Operating Officer. "With short notice, we did have three tours that we had to cancel and reschedule for other times."

He said one tour included more than 30 kids, another had 27 and the third had 17.

"Joel has been talking about this event for months," said mom Theresa Rader.

Her 5-year-old son, Joel, is in a daycare that had this trip to the museum planned since the summer schedule was released.

"I was disappointed because I knew he'd be really disappointed," said Rader.

"We can't go to Wings Over The Rockies," said Joel.

"Are you bummed about it?" asked Denver7 reporter Marshall Zelinger.

"Yes," he said.

His daycare even had a sing-song way of saying "Wings Over the Rockies" that Joel kept singing while having fun at a playground on Thursday night.

"It wouldn't matter who was coming," Rader said about Trump versus Hillary Clinton. "I'd be really upset."

"All the student groups would generate about $300 in revenue for tomorrow, and when a political campaign comes in, there's tens of thousands (of dollars) to be made from this," said Hyatt. "We felt that this was, like all political campaigns, would be of interest to the Denver Metro Area, and they pay money that we create revenue streams from that help us pay for our very old infrastructure here."

Hyatt gave Denver7 a tour of the nearly 80-year-old hangar that still has steam heat, a restroom with little room and needs a better IT infrastructure. The nonprofit needs to generate $3 million to break even.

"This is a 1938 facility with 1938 infrastructure," said Hyatt. "About 35 to 37 percent of our income per year comes in from events like this. We do proms, weddings, Bar Mitzvahs."

"Is it fair to say you would cancel these three school groups for Hillary Clinton?" asked Zelinger.

"Absolutely we would," said Hyatt, adding he would also host events for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

"We are totally apolitical and non-sectarian here at Wings Over the Rockies," said Hyatt. "We did it because it made sense as we try to act like a business."

"I understand there's finances involved, but I think it was a hastily made decision with no regard for the children that were going to be impacted, who had planned this months in advance," said Rader. "I think that they could have come to a compromise, you know, 'Hey, we can have the kids in the morning because that event is at 7 p.m. in the evening.'"

The museum is closed all day Friday to set up the stage and security measures.


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