After several month's of preliminary effort and planning, it is on paper. Rocky Mountain Glider Company, LLC and the syndicate of government agencies contributing to the proposed Dinosaur 2017 are in agreement. All things hang gliding are strictly under the purview of RMGC. The valuable contribution from the local governments (Moffat County, Rio Blanco County, Town of Rangely and Town of Dinosaur) is in the form of financial and other logistical support.
As most of my hang glider pilot friends probably know, I have a lot more important things on my plate now. All decisions and plans are dominated by concern for my grandson's situation (thechampfoundation.org). Dinosaur 2017 is an opportunity to do something else I care about - promoting a future for hang gliding - while also contributing, financially, to the chance for my little buddy William to have a future.
Dinosaur 2017 is happening. The goal is to make it the biggest, best ever.
Dinosaur is famous for strong conditions. Past attempts to choose a week of weather catering to a lower common denominator (Hang 3's and Sport Class) have not worked out so well. At least statistically, and from personal experience, the proposed dates (June 25-July 1, 2017) have the least precipitation of any week of the year in northwest Colorado. It is a period characterized by strong thermal lift, light prevailing wind and very isolated, if any, easily avoided CB's.
The main event of Dinosaur 2017 will be the USHPA and CIVL sanctioned world class flex-wing race-to- goal competition. Hang 4 and above with honest-to-goodness foot launch sign-off. Prize money - at least $10K like last year and hopefully more with additional local support, will be awarded. The World Champion, who expressed a preference to compete for prize money vs. having expenses paid, and the U.S. National Champion, who won 1st place money last year, plan to compete. Both were part of last year’s task committee which included the top three pilots in the world.
Nothing will be allowed to infringe on that centerpiece event, but I hope to attract many similar-minded, active people with additional competitions, including a regular marathon and, hopefully, a 100K ultra marathon, mountain bike race, road bike race and more.
Last year there were quite a few requests for open distance competition and free flying. For obvious reasons, ranked competitors are averse to open distance, not to mention that it doesn't fit the sanctioned race-to-goal format. And "free" flying would certainly be unfair to the competitors whose entry fees support the ambulances on launch and below, port-o-potties, permitting, promotion, etc. We will attempt to accommodate those pilots with daily and week-long open distance comps, certificates for high altitudes reached, 100 milers, etc. verified by the official scorekeeper (OK Tim? )
The volunteer officials' expenses will be paid - I already reserved all the rooms at the luxurious Terrace Motel. I hope to have the same group of world class friends as officials that we had last year. Indispensable scorekeeper extraordinaire Timothy Ettridge was first to unequivocally jump aboard. Rick Jacob, who may have launched more hang gliders than anyone in the world, knows better than to accept the position and despite having gone over to the dark side for his personal flying, agreed to return as Launch Director after only a little bit of pleading. Bubba Goodman and Beth are still figuring out how to make it fit before their perennial Tater Hill Open, but shucks, with 3 weeks between events they've got to be there with Bubba as Safety Director.
GW Meadows is impervious to almost any kind of pressure; that's what makes him the world's, and particularly Dinosaur's, great meet director. I doubt I could win a battle of wills with him, but if there is a chink in his impervious-to-pressure armor, it is friendship. He may not Garner his 5th Emmy for another performance at Dinosaur, but knowing his enthusiasm and sense of duty will not Wayne, I will not relent until he agrees to be there. Sorry GeeDub, but you are indispensable.
The locals never quit talking about the wild and crazy Aussies, by far their favorites. If they don't come back we can’t hold the comp! I'll probably meet up with some of them later this month (weekend of the 22nd) in Dinosaur. I may drive for them, but I learned, back when I was tough and based with the Australians in Vietnam, not to even try to party with them!
Start planning for next year! And PS, we can never have too many volunteers.