Six communities in six different states have submitted supporting documents seeking approval as the next home of the National Championship Air Races (NCAR). The submissions came in response to a request for proposal (RFP) from the Reno Air Racing Association, which hosted the last race at Reno-Stead Airport in Nevada last month, unfortunately with tragic results. Reno has been home to the annual air races since 1964, just shy of a 60-year run.
Vying to become the new venue for the iconic air races are Buckeye, Arizona; Casper, Wyoming; Pueblo, Colorado; Roswell, New Mexico (no word on any plans for a new, extraterrestrial-aircraft category); Thermal, California; and Wendover, Utah. The six contending cities submitted a total of more than 1,500 pages of supporting documents in their combined submissions.
The economic attraction of becoming the new home for the races that have been known simply as “Reno” for so many decades is clear. According to the NCAR, “In the past 10 years alone, the event has attracted more than 1 million visitors to the [Reno] region, generated more than $750 million for the economy and contributed significant aviation-related education and outreach to schools and non-profits all around the area.”
Terry Matter, NCAR board member and chairman of the selection committee, said, “We only want to go through this process once, and because of that, we’re going to make sure our next location is the best fit for the future of the air races.” Fred Telling, CEO and chairman of the board for the Reno Air Racing Association, summed up: “Seeing the interest to host the National Championship Air Races at each of these unique venues gives me great hope for the future of air racing. We’re looking for our next home, somewhere we can celebrate many more anniversaries, so we’ve assembled an expert committee that is putting an extreme amount of care and diligence into choosing our next location.”
The announcement of the winning site is anticipated early next year. There will be one final non-racing airshow in Reno in 2024 before NCAR completes the transition of the air races to the new location in 2025.