An aerial weapon in the battle for car-dealer supremacy in Wise and Montague County had to make an emergency landing recently on enemy ground.
Patterson Auto Center in Bowie sells Ford and Chrysler products just like Decatur’s Karl Klement who has dealerships for both brands. For several weeks Patterson has been sending pilot Patrick Champagne south down U.S. 287, towing a banner extolling the advantages of shopping in Bowie.
Champagne often circles over Decatur’s auto dealerships, which also include James Wood Motors.
But on his return to Bowie June 21, the West Texas pilot found himself alarmingly low on fuel. Not sure he could reach Bowie Municipal Airport, he landed in a pasture near the airfield, releasing his sign into the surrounding trees.
It just happened that the pasture and trees belong to Rebecca and Robert Bishop. He’s the longtime general manager of Klement Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram who commutes to Decatur from Bowie, where the Bishops also raise cattle.
The landing was without incident. The Bishops were amused rather than angered, and a 5-gallon can of aviation fuel got a thankful Champagne back into the air.
“I’ve often imagined someone making a forced landing here and in need of rescuing,” Robert said. “It just never occurred to me it would be the competition that had threatened to stomp us!”
But gratitude goes only so far. Patterson is again sending its one-plane air force into action over Wise County – presumably with enough fuel to get home.