RENO, Nev. (November 23, 2021) – The Reno Air Racing Association (RARA) announced today that initial reporting indicates a successful return of the STIHL National Championship Air Races in 2021 after being forced to shutter in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Board Chairman and CEO Fred Telling is optimistic about the results of the storied contest. “I am pleased to report that we had a successful 57th STIHL National Championship Air Races,” he said in a recent statement. “From the standpoint of safety, we had no incidents or accidents, and from the financial side we were able to cover our expenses and start to move beyond the ravages of the pandemic. Our outlook is positive, and we have identified a number of opportunities to improve our operations and help us generate revenue to build for 2022 and beyond.”
Telling reported that the organization is launching several initiatives in a campaign called Racing for the Future.
Building on one of the major elements that led to the success of its 2020 Save the Races donation campaign, Telling announced that first component of Racing for the Future will be RARA’s Flight Training Scholarship program. Assisted by a matching grant from the Ray Foundation, RARA has set aside funds that will support training for up to 10 students to complete their private pilot’s license.
“We are continuing our commitment to increase the value of the STIHL National Championship Air Races by utilizing its history and influence to jump-start aviation careers for young people,” he said. “We are building on the success of our STEM Education program to provide education and training support in aviation. In doing so, we hope to extend our connection to our community beyond our annual week of air racing in September.”
In another element of the Racing for the Future campaign, RARA will be releasing not only short recaps of its livestream content, but also introducing Reno Air Race Rewind, a series of online videos that recap the 2021 STIHL National Championship Air Races with added behind the scenes footage and interviews not seen on the livestream during the races. Each of the seven race classes will have three to five videos that show exciting footage from the races coupled with the new footage added to take fans behind the scenes with the aircraft and race teams.
Racing for the Future will also incorporate revised sponsorships that include year-round visibility and marketing opportunities for companies wishing to support RARA while gaining valuable visibility and brand presence from these new initiatives. Across all initiatives, social media and more real-time, direct communication with fans will play a major role in keeping the momentum up and content fresh.
Following the successful Save the Races donation campaign in 2020, RARA is shifting focus to preserving the future of the iconic event, encouraging expanded philanthropy by giving donors several new options. Telling hopes that by adding education and training support, people will find a donation selection that is consistent with their sense of what is important.
By adding education programs and creating year-round focus on the Air Races, Telling feels that RARA will be able to create a more diverse and engaged fan base, and when September finally arrives, many new faces will come to Reno to see it in person.
“We’re evolving by creating content that celebrates our history while engaging a broader audience year-round,” he said. “We’ll increase our relevance, which will help secure our future.”
The 58th STIHL National Championship Air Races are scheduled for September 14-18, 2022.
About the STIHL National Championship Air Races
The STIHL National Championship Air Races are held every September just north of Reno by the Reno Air Racing Association, a 501(c)(3). The event has become an institution for Northern Nevada and aviation enthusiasts from around the world with seven racing classes, a large display of static aircraft and several military and civilian flight demonstrations. Independent economic impact studies show that the event generates as much as $100 million annually for the local economy. For more information on the STIHL National Championship Air Races, visit AirRace.org.