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July 26, 2012
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State bets $600,000 on Reno Air Races

The Nevada Commission on Tourism approved spending $600,000 to sponsor the National Championship Air Races.

The event, which is the only of its kind in the world, brings in more than 200,000 visitors to the area each September and has more than $50 million in economic impact on the region. Over the last several months, the Reno Air Racing Association has worked diligently to pursue additional and increased sponsorships, donations and funding to cover an increased insurance premium of $2 million in order to insure the 49th annual event this September. RARA and NCOT will negotiate the details of the sponsorship over the next couple of weeks, finalizing all elements prior to the start of the National Championship Air Races that take place Sept. 12-16.

"The entire board and staff of the Reno Air Racing Association has been absolutely overwhelmed and humbled by the tremendous support and encouragement that has been shown by so many of our stakeholders," said Mike Houghton, president and CEO of the Reno Air Racing Association. "When we made the commitment to continue this historic and world class event, we knew that, despite our best efforts, we could not do it without the support of the community."

Since securing the necessary permits and waivers in early June, RARA has met with numerous community stakeholders, reached out to current and past sponsors and worked with tourism and state officials to identify potential sources of revenue and additional sponsorships in order to cover the increased insurance premium by September. The $2 million premium, for the insurance amount required to operate the event, represents an increase of $1.7 million from previous years.

"With our expected sponsorships and commitments, we are so proud to be able to announce that we have achieved the funding requirements necessary to hold what will surely be our most emotional and highly anticipated event in our 49-year history," continued Houghton. "With that said, we are very much looking forward to having the loyal fans of this event join us this September 12-16 at the Reno-Stead Airfield as planes, once again, return to the Sierra skies."

The Nevada Commission on Tourism is responsible for promoting and marketing Nevada as a tourism and travel destination and is currently chaired by Nevada's Lieutenant Governor Brian K. Krolicki and directed by Claudia Vecchio.

"The National Championship Air Races is an important event, not only for northern Nevada, but for the entire state creating significant economic impact and worldwide exposure for the region," said Lt. Governor Brian Krolicki, chair of the Commission on Tourism Leadership for NCOT. "The state of Nevada is pleased to partner with the Reno Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority, the casino resort community in Reno and Sparks and several other business and community leaders to ensure the successful continuation of this historic and unique event."

"It's critical to the Commission on Tourism that this sponsorship provide a significant return on investment," said Claudia Vecchio, director, Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs. "At present, the Reno National Championship Air Races brings almost $6 million in lodging revenue with the number of room nights showing a 10:1 return on the same source of funding - room tax. We look forward to working with the Reno Air Racing Association board to craft a sponsorship package that makes good business sense and returns dollars to the Nevada lodging industry."

The 49th annual National Championship Air Races takes place Sept. 12-16, 2012. To purchase your tickets, make a donation or for questions, please call 775.972.6663 or visit

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The Record Courier Updated Jul 27, 2012 09:35AM Published Jul 26, 2012 12:06PM Copyright 2012 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.