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Sport Air Racing League race at Stevens Field Sept. 25

Archuleta County’s Stevens Field will host a Sport Air Racing League (SARL) air race later this month, for the second time in as many years.

Dubbed the “Second Annual Pagosa Springs 100 Air Race,” the Sept. 25 event is sponsored by Pagosa Lodge.

In this 100-mile closed-circuit challenge, pilots actually race against the clock. With a strong emphasis on safety, start times are staggered to prevent some planes from passing others. Meanwhile, spotters monitor the race from various points along its route, to ensure safety and pilot compliance to course requirements.

As a free and open public event, spectators of all ages should arrive at Stevens Field between 7 and 8 a.m. for pilot visitation prior to a 9 a.m. aviators’ briefing. Competing aircraft will be on display before and after the 10 a.m. competition, with the actual race lasting about an hour, depending on the number of pilots registered. Water, coffee and pastries will be available for a nominal fee.

While 24 pilots participated in last year’s race, event organizers are hoping for at least 30 this year. Though similar events are scheduled nationwide, builders and owners of high-performance experimental aircraft will come from across the country and Canada for an opportunity to test and improve on airplane modifications.

To keep the attending public apprised of pilot times and position standings throughout the race, organizers will maintain “scoreboards” in front of a designated spectator viewing area, thus allowing the public more involvement during the actual event.

Speaking of event organizers, the following people have stepped up to ensure a safe and sound public function:

• Deidra Fortier (volunteer), event coordinator and finance.

• Bill McKown (airport manager) will serve as air boss.

• Bob Goubitz (Avjet manager and FBO operator) will be the ramp coordinator and media contact.

• John Huft (local pilot) will act as the SARL liaison.

• Bob Clinkenbeard (local pilot) will head the timing team.

• Michael Arbuthnot (local pilot, Airport Advisory Commission [AAC] member) is in charge of electronics and sound.

• Kate Alfred (local pilot, AAC member), welcoming and registration.

• Teresa Huft (volunteer), pilot meal preparation and finance.

Because air race organizers believe approximately 300 spectators will attend this exhilarating event, they recommend people show up early, bring lounge chairs and dress for a bright autumn morning spent outdoors.

Anyone with an affinity for aviation will enjoy the race, closely viewing the beautiful aircraft involved, and meeting the pilots who build, maintain and fly them.

To get to the airport the morning of Sept. 25, take Piedra Road (CR 600) to Cloman Boulevard. Follow Cloman to its end, turning right on Aviation Court. For more information, contact Stevens Field at 731-3060, or e-mail questions to airport@archuletacounty.org.

chuck@pagosasun.com