City hosting gliding event for third time
For an unprecedented third time Uvalde will host the World Gliding Championships, and the Uvalde Soaring Association expects visitors traveling to Uvalde for the contests to inject more than $10 million into the local economy over the next five years.
According to the Uvalde Soaring Association, the world championship event is scheduled to start on Aug. 25, 2024, and end on Sept. 9, 2024. Two weeks before the event begins, practice sessions will officially be open.
Mark Huffstutler, representing the association, addressed Uvalde City Council members Tuesday, informing them the city was chosen in March by the International Gliding Commission when they met in Budapest, Hungary.
“This is something we’ve worked on the last year,” Huffstutler said. “We’re very excited about it.”
‘Initially we were awarded the competition for 2023, but because of COVID-19, all the soaring events… were pushed back a year.’
Uvalde Soaring Association
Despite competing bids from other locations, the International Gliding Commission unanimously chose Uvalde.
“Initially we were awarded the competition for 2023, but because of COVID-19, all the soaring events around the world were pushed back a year,” Huffstutler said.
Huffstutler, who operates Lancair International and Skyway Entertainment in Uvalde, said the world’s top gliding pilots will be heading to Uvalde beginning in August for preparatory contests, held by the local soaring association every year leading up to the championship so pilots may become familiar with the area and practice for the 2024 championships.
The gliding championship will feature the Open Class, 18-Meter Class and 20-Meter multi-seat class.
“We are thinking that in the lead-up here we will see as many as 50 to 60 competitors per year. For the world championships we’re expecting between 100 and 125 competitors, similar to what we saw in the last two contests,” Huffstutler said.
Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin Jr. thanked Huffstutler for his work in bringing the contest back to Uvalde.
A press release issued by the USA states that Garner Municipal Airport has hosted 34 annual soaring competitions, which includes 16 national championships and the two previous world championships, which were held in Uvalde in 1991 and 2012.
The soaring association will be seeking volunteers to host pilots and those that accompany them, and to help with the event.