89-year-old: Military veteran, Air Force One crew chief and competitive water-skier

Local News

PLEASANT GROVE, Calif. (KXTL) — It’s hard to imagine anyone getting more out of life than Pleasant Grove’s Ron Phelps. At almost 90 years old, he’s a retired military veteran, was the crew chief for Air Force One, still tends to his own ranch — and is a competitive water-skier.

Phelps spends three days a week on his own private ranch in Pleasant Grove that some might call his private oasis.

“I have a 600-acre ranch here with olives, and rice, the water ski lake and cows. I’m kind of busy, so I try to ski three times a week,” Phelps said, with a laugh.

Thirty days shy of his 90th birthday, Phelps isn’t about to slow down now.

“If I quit and joined most of the other older people that retire, I’d die,” he said. “You know, they go to their rocking chairs and they sit there and watch TV or whatever — and that’s not what I do.”

Phelps has certainly done a lot in his lifetime. He retired from the military in 1967, was the crew chief on Air Force One for a number of years and in 1988, bought his ranch and turned it into what is now known as the Pleasant Oak Water Ski Club.

“I’m rather competitive and not only do I slalom, I also trick. I quit jumping and barefoot when I retired from the military,” Phelps said. “I don’t plan on quitting at all.”

And who would try to stop him?

Phelps doesn’t see himself as “old,” either — that day is still a good 11 years down the road.

“No, no, I’m not a senior. I’m still young,” Phelps declared. “That target is 101 and I may, at that time, admit that I’m old.”

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