Armed with a 400$ pilots license and a 150hp Pawnee, Ralph Tiede entered the world of aerial application with the help of ag aviation pioneers Geo. Nicklassen and Neil McClain. The year was 1966, Ralph "advanced" to a Cessna 180 modified as a sprayer and then to a S-2D Snow(predecessor to Thrush). The work was hard and dangerous but Ralph managed to outlive the life expectancy placed on aerial applicators of the time. The same year Ralph started flying he and his wife Joan had a son, Darren. Growing up, it was not a surprise that Darren was keenly interested in becoming the second generation of crop sprayer in the Tiede family.
Time marched on and things progressed with the Tiede family and Target Airspray. In 1988, Darren finished his pilot license and began his spraying career the same week he was married to Cheryl. Needless to say, the honeymoon was short. A year later, I was born (Ben) and the cycle continued. The business grew along with the family, with Darren and Cheryl having four children Ben, Diana, Kathleen and Evan. By this time, the Cessnas had been retired to recreational roles and Targets fleet consisted of two radial engine powered, 400 gallon capacity S2R Thrushes flown by Darren and Ralph. In 2009, after more than 40 years in the industry Ralph retired from crop spraying.
The business was then transitioned to Darren and was grown once more by the addition of new turbine powered Thrushes which we have today. The fleet today consists of three Turbo Thrushes flown by Darren, pilot Cody Rockafellow . Along with the home base near Strathmore we have bases of operations in Bassano and Beiseker that allow us to quickly cover large areas if the need arises. 2018 has been a time of expansion for Target with the addition of the third aircraft and ground support infrastructure that will allow us to reach even farther with our services and ultimately allowing us to add to you, our valued customers bottom line.
The past 50 years has yielded a lot of change. There has been trials and tribulations, bad times and good. Target Airspray has been able to weather these storms for a single reason alone and that is the continued support of our customers and the community. As a family and business we have no intentions of changing this relationship except to try to improve where we can on the values and commitment to quality crop protection services that we have offered for over 50 years. From our family to yours, we say thank you for the last 50 and look to the next 50 with anticipation and hope for a bright and productive future.
Ralph(left) and Neil McClain 1970