Flying High

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Sunday wrapped up five days of intense racing and exciting shows at the National Championship event held every year at the Reno Stead Airport.

Mike Houghton, the president and CEO of the Reno Air Racing Association, has reason to believe they've accomplished a lot.

"The event was super. We've had a long, long week. But, we had great weather, just thousands of fans. We probably set a record, but, we think we're there."

Just ask the fans who come back year after year, locals and tourists flocking to Stead just to look up at the sky.

Ron Kitchen, of Reno, says he has never missed a show.

"I've liked airplanes since I was a baby and I've been flying since 1938. Learned to fly the gliders, been doing it ever since."

Houghton says he realizes that everyone comes for different reasons, but nonetheless, they still come.

"It's an aviation showcase event. Of course, the racing is the centerpiece. But, we've got an enormous amount of aviation oriented activity that take place here and bring people of all levels of aviation interest in."

And that is exactly why the races are held here every year, according to Houghton.

He says when the crowds leave the show they go spend money in the area at local restaurants, casinos, and hotels.

"We've contributed about $70-to-80,000 to the economy this week. And, this is what it's all about for us. It's a tourism related event that was started 42 years ago, we put it where it could help tourism and I think we've done that job."

This 42nd Annual National Championship Air Race and Show brought an estimated crowd of 230,000 spectators.

Officials say this was the largest crowd ever.