Reno Air Races to Attract More Diverse Audience - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Reno Air Races to Attract More Diverse Audience

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The 51st annual National Championship Air Races will go on this September as scheduled. This year organizers say the event will feature a more festival-like atmosphere.

This year organizers are using social media to attract a more diverse audience with concerts and more pilot interaction.  

In an open letter published online Tuesday, the Reno Air Racing Association Board of Directors said its "committed to preserving and growing this great event."     

Questions remained whether the event would return after the 2011 crash that killed pilot Jimmy Leeward and 10 spectators. Other factors included financial difficulties, and the departure of former President & CEO Mike Houghton, but the board says, "Undoubtedly, the last few years have created many emotional, financial and organizational challenges. With the support of our fans, our pilots, our volunteers and our community, we have met those challenges and are now positioned to succeed far into the future."

The text of the open letter appears below:

March 25, 2014

An open letter to our fans, our volunteers, our pilots and our community

To our fans, our pilots, our volunteers and our community,

After such an amazing 50th event this past September, we couldn't be more excited to look ahead towards the next 50 years of the National Championship Air Races. Last year was an overwhelming and poignant success with fans from all over the world joining us to revel in this historic aviation celebration. As the last air racing event of its kind, the Reno Air Racing Association is committed to preserving and growing this great event and developing the next generation of Air Race fans.

Undoubtedly, the last few years have created many emotional, financial and organizational challenges. With the support of our fans, our pilots, our volunteers and our community, we have met those challenges and are now positioned to succeed far into the future.

As many of you know, over the last few months, we have revamped our organizational structure and revised our bylaws to allow us to operate more effectively, more efficiently and more prudently. Furthermore, buoyed by the support of our sponsors and our staff and, having recently secured the required insurance at a significantly lower cost than the previous two years, we are financially positioned for a prosperous 2014 and beyond.

However, in order for the National Championship Air Races to achieve its greatest potential and to captivate mainstream attention, we are looking to our entire Air Race family to help us spread the word. This year, we're excited to announce that, in the same vein of our recent changes, we will engage on a communications and marketing campaign that encourages and even requires interaction from fans and participants all over the world.

We have many new and exciting changes and additions for this year's event and we will be announcing them frequently through traditional media and our digital and social media channels. It's time that this event became a true festival of flight. With that in mind, this year, we will be adding concerts, expanding the number of races, increasing the incredible display of military aircraft and creating some exciting, innovating and interactive experiences for our fans.

Again, all of these details and schedules will be released regularly over the coming weeks and months. We are pleased to make our first announcement and that is that our reigning Unlimited Breitling Gold Champion, Steve Hinton, will be returning to defend his crown in the famed P-51 Mustang Voodoo. Undoubtedly, as it did last year, this will set up for some very interesting and intense racing.

The National Championship Air Races is unlike any event in the world and, truly, the emotions and passion associated with this event simply cannot be described. This year, we're inviting you to rally with us as we ‘RACE ON' into the future of air racing. Tickets are on sale now for this year's National Championship Air Races, Sept. 10-14. For the latest updates and information, visit our website at www.airrace.org, make sure to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

Thank you and stay tuned for our first announcement on our performers for 2014 next week.

Sincerely,
The Reno Air Racing Association Board of Directors

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