Monday, April 27, 2015

What’s new at the Reno Air Races?

The big news everyone is talking about is the hiring of Mike Crowell as the president and chief executive officer of the National Championship Air Races. After a few visits with Mike, I can say that I am very happy to see someone of his caliber taking the reins.

“We are extremely fortunate to have someone of Mike’s caliber step in to take the helm at the Reno Air Races,” said John Agather, chairman of the RARA board of directors. “We are looking to Mike to bring his leadership, experience and expertise in running efficient organizations to the Reno Air Races so that we can ensure this important northern Nevada event is successful for many years to come.”

Crowell’s specialty is turning around financially stressed organizations. That is exactly what we need. We also need someone who is not looking at it one year at a time, but sees a future for the Races and looks forward to that future.

Exciting Racing All Classes
Especially the Biplanes!

“I spent my entire career ensuring that the organizations I worked for saw results – results in sales, results in efficient operations, results in the bottom line,” said Crowell. “I’m looking forward to putting those skills to work for an event that not only makes a huge economic impact on our community, but one that air racing fans from literally all over the world come to enjoy each year. I’m fortunate to have the help of our dedicated staff, a supportive board of directors, our sponsors and amazing volunteers in that effort.”

Personally, I believe Mike is just the guy to turn the races around. We spoke of the five things he feels we need to focus on and they are all related – they include… Sponsorship, Attendance, Media exposure, Prize Money to bring in more Racers and Entertainment, keeping the event entertaining to everyone.

He is already working on Sponsorship. He understands that finding the right partner for the Races is critical to our future.

He spoke about how to bring the fans back. We need to find out what do we need to do to get the gate back up to previous levels. And that is coupled with all of the other points. Especially bringing in more racers and making a more entertaining event for everyone.

To that end, the Breitling Jet Team will be there to entertain us between races. This is their first trip to the USA and we are pleased they have added us to their schedule.

More Unlimiteds expected to be there in 2015

Last year’s winner, Voodoo and Stevo Hinton

Dick Cole, Doolittle’s Co-pilot during the Tokyo Raid, is scheduled to be there with us in September. This will coincide with the Tora Tora Tora exhibition at Reno this year. For those of you unfamiliar, this is a very exciting Aviation Event filled with history, excellent flying and KaBOOMS.

The Races bring in an estimated $65Million in economic value to the Reno-Tahoe area. And after such a dismal ski season this year, the area really could use the help.
Much has been said about the fact that Mike is not a pilot. I don’t think that is an issue. 

We have pilots – over 100 of them, we call them Racers – but what we need is for someone with vision, who can balance a checkbook. I believe the Reno Air Race Association may have just found that guy.

I wish Mike and the Board all the luck in the world. I will be there in September! How about you!?

See you there?! 

Marilyn Dash
Ruby Red Racing
The Pylon Place