Treasured Albums of Top Flight Club Added to Badminton Museum

By Mary Ann Bowles

For anyone who played in the Ray Scott Open over the years or the 1972 or 1980 U.S. National Championships, you may remember the large scrapbooks on display during those tournaments. Those five thick albums are now an honored part of the USA Badminton Museum, thanks to the hard work of Bob Cook and Bob Ericson. Bob Cook figured out how to scan the albums, and both Bob’s furnished the times and places (California and Nebraska) for scanning. It was quite an impressive job!

The Top Flight Badminton Club was founded in March 1960 by Ray Scott, Chief Warrant Officer in the Strategic Command Headquarters at Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, Nebraska. The mission of the club was to promote badminton, and at the peak of the club there were 150-plus military and civilian members. On eight courts in an Air Force base gym (retired hanger) alongside the long runaways of Offutt where noisy B-52’s flew in and out, the club hosted weekly play, along with three national championships and one international championship, plus twenty-seven years of the annual Midwest Badminton Association tournament, the Ray Scott Open. The MBA tournament was heldo n the base until 9-11 when it was relocated to Papillion’s La Vista High School. During one of those early tournaments, players were treated to a tour of the underground base SAC headquarters, which, on 9-11, were used by President Bush before he returned to Washington, D.C. The club also sponsored badminton in the Cornhusker State Games for over three decades.

Ray Scott was also the volunteer Executive Director of USA Badminton from 1986-89. In the office working with him were Bob Ericson and Len Williams, who followed Ray Scott as Executive Director until the national office relocated to Colorado Springs in 1990. The albums chronicled the Top Flight activities in five segments: 1960-1970; 1970-1979; 1980-1991; 1992-2005; and 2006-2014. There are tons of tournament photos; tournament programs; USAB and MBA magazine articles; Air Pulse (Air Force magazine) articles; and thank you notes. You can see so much badminton history in the albums, and it will take more than one sitting to peruse it all.

The USA Badminton Museum can be found online under the name, and along with the Top Flight albums, there are so many other collections to enjoy, including Bird Chatters (1941-1967); Badminton USA (1967-2003); Badminton News (1991-1999); Southern California Badminton memorabilia; and Midwest Badminton Association memorabilia. Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy a look back at our badminton history!