And The Winning National Championship Air Racing Host City Is…

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The decision is in, and the winning contender to host the National Championship Air Races is … Roswell, New Mexico. The Reno Air Racing Association (perhaps they chose Roswell partly so they wouldn’t have to change their ‘RARA’ acronym?) announced late yesterday (May 23) that the first air races will take place in Roswell in September 2025. The competition will continue to include seven classes of air racing (still no word of an official extraterrestrial class), static displays, military demonstrations and more.

The site will be the Roswell Air Center airport (KROW), a former military airfield about five miles outside of town. The 5,000-acre airport is widely known as a storage facility (aka “boneyard”) for retired airliners and other aircraft—notable among them, Elvis Presley’s Lockheed JetStar, finally sold at auction in 2017 after more than 30 years at KROW. Among the reasons for choosing Roswell over the other two finalists, Casper, Wyoming, and Pueblo, Colorado, was the range of side attractions nearby, such as the Mescalero Sand Dunes, the Walker Aviation Museum located onsite at KROW, the Spring River Zoo, Carlsbad Caverns and of course the city of Roswell itself, famous for its connection to the history of investigating unidentified flying objects. An annual UFO Festival is held in Roswell in early July.

After a long history of racing in Reno dating back to 1964, there will be no National Championship races this year, but the Nevada city will host a 60th anniversary celebration and airshow in October, including a full slate of military display teams and individual performers. Fred Telling, CEO and chairman of the board of the RARA, said of the association’s ultimate decision, “While Roswell was chosen, we are truly grateful for the overwhelming support, dedication, and enthusiasm shown by all the communities who submitted their bids to host our event. We’re thrilled to bring our honored tradition of racing [to Roswell] and are confident that they have both the enthusiasm and resources to expand the future of our races for many generations to come.”

Mark Phelps
Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

20 COMMENTS

  1. Wonderful news. Given the current political and risk adverse climate I assumed the Air Race would be gone forever.

  2. It’s a risky venture like all other racing- so long as you have willing competitors, crew, and spectators, you have a show.

  3. Congrats on choosing Roswell Airport for the National Championship Air Races! Whether you prefer your chilies Green or Red, New Mexico’s got you covered. Welcome to the land of enchantment.

      • As I’ve already written today in another site, an “alien that is a friend of mine told me he/she (? I stll don’t know the gender) will be presented, if by chance, the Reno Air Racing Association some day should be based in Roswell. And, added, he/she will not compete, because that will take any chance to the others competitors 😉😉😉”

  4. Love the picture. That’s pinal airfield in AZ. Landed there dozens of times, it’s not was roswell looks like at all haha

    • Had a huge laugh when I read this and confirmed with a Google image search… Registered just to give you kudos.

    • LOL I haven’t been to Roswell in years but my first thought was “WTH angle did they shoot this pic from????”

  5. I’m certainly excited that the races are set to continue. I do wonder what the plan is to house and feed participants and spectators. There’s not a whole lot nearby.

    • You are correct Michael. Roswell’s gonna be packed for the Air Races, it will most likely result in 45,000 attendees, my guess for a attendance limit considering the existing facilities and infrastructure. I expect long lines everywhere and tight spaces. Wife and I will probably opt to go on the motorhome – securing our spot early and remaining flexible!

      • BTW, the City of Roswell is estimating attendance between 60,000-70,000 and is very pleased for having been selected. ‘Biggest event in New Mexico in a long time,’ they say. The State of New Mexico is apparently just as enthusiastic, having anteed $3 million.

  6. They didn’t mention nearby attractions such as Ruidoso and the multi-time State Fair winning Green Chili Cheese Burger found at the Oso Grill in Capitan. To get to Capitan and Ruidoso, simply drive west on US 380 which will take you through Lincoln, where Billy the Kid escaped jail. Capitan is also the site where Smokey Bear was rescued as a cub from a forest fire in the mountains. To the south on US 285, before reaching Carlsbad, is Artesia, A town with a great history in the early cattle drives and, later, the discovery of oil.

    Oh, and it gets pretty windy in Roswell…

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