June 27
World Sport Kite Championship

Ill admit to a certain amount of trepidation bringing the World Sport Kite Championships to Oregon.

Since 1999, Ive chaired the international Committee running the event. But we have always left organization in the capable hands of Gerard Clement in France. Bringing the event to the USA and to our own hometown of Lincoln City was a huge task and a bit of a risk. If it rained, Id have a lot of explaining to do

As it turned out, we did have a bit of drizzle. We also had sunshine and near-perfect flying one day and 20-plus gusts the next. But the best teams in the world proved more than a match for the weather. By weeks end, we knew we had pulled off a spectacular event.

Daily competition notes can be found on KiteLife.com, and full scores on the AKA site. Instead of reviewing that, I thought Id tell you a bit about what it takes to make this kind of event happen.

Pilot Meeting

We had 15 teams from 7 countries representing 70 contestants. We had an international judging panel representing AKA, STACK, and AJSKA. We had officers on site from those organizations and a team of observers from China. We had the best Field Director and a team of line judges. We had a super scorekeeper, a talented announcer, and a great sound engineer. We had single line performers flying large kites and banner displays in the background. And we had an army of local volunteers assisting with field set-up, transportation, and nightly entertainment.

On the Field On the Field On the Field

What that added up to was a huge cash investment. Transportation alone for contestants and staff exceeded $24,000. Forty hotel rooms for five nights totaled about $20,000. Then there was food, airport busses, sound systems, a fantastic award banquet, trophies and toilets.

But overall, we generated the largest spectator crowd Ive ever seen at a sport kite event.

Over 10,000 people attended over the four competition days. And that was on weekdays!!

We also generated strong local and regional media. Lincoln City is happy, the fliers were happy, and I was happy.

10,000 Spectators

Tuesday night, Susan hosted the entire group to our home for a welcome party and dinner. Over 100 attended. But the rain lifted and we enjoyed a delightful Oregon evening outside on the deck and garden. At one in the morning, we were still cleaning dishes. And then it was back to the flying field the next morning.

Flying Friends

By the second day, we could see a race to the finish between Tame Bird of France and Cutting Edge of the USA. Precision scores were close and a mere quarter point separated them in ballet.

Air Rex of Japan with five fliers surprised us all with their stunning ballet and ATOMC from Columbia filled the sky with six fliers. (It took two US Senators writing the Embassy to get visas approved for the team!). Scratch Bunnies of England attended with only three of their four members and actually re-wrote their ballet on the plane.

Sportsmanship was at its best. I saw fliers sharing tears when competitors erred, and cheering the success of opponents. I saw ides and information and equipment be shared. I saw teams providing field support for others and struggling to get kites back in the air to minimize penalties. The show in the sky was not the only performance to be proud of.

In the end, Cutting edge prevailed to win the Championship. Tame Bird was close behind, and Watnu moved up on the final day to edge out Air Rex. But all the teams were winners.

World Champions

Early Saturday Morning, we put most of the fliers on busses for the Portland Airport. Susan and I then drove to Long Beach to speak at Jim Buesing's memorial. It was a sad occasion celebrating the life of a great contributor to kiting.

Sunday, the Lincoln City Summer Festival had record attendance. But by afternoon, the winds drifted away as had most of our visiting friends. It had been a frenzied but wonderful week. Now I needed to pack. Monday afternoon, I was boarding a jet to Istanbul and a new kiting adventure.

Check back next week for news!!

I've just received a note from New Zealand.

All of you are familiar with our MegaFlag. But now Peter Lynn reports that some of the special blue fabric is left over and available for unique projects. Maybe you'd like us to make you a 4 or 8 meter Flag replica. Or how about a giant Teddy Bear with a stars-and-stripes Tee Shirt? We could do a blue Gecko with stars, or a one-of-a-kind Octopus.

This fabric is only available for Made-in-New Zealand projects. But we won't be getting more so if you want something, give us a shout!

Inside the Mega Flag

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