Assorted Nuts From Rocket J. Squirrel

by Rocky Entriken on June 11, 2009

Salina was about to lose its record as the Host with the Most“ the most times as the locale for the SCCA Solo Nationals. But last year the club decided to move the event from Topeka to Lincoln, Neb., so barring a return to Topeka, which seems unlikely Salina’s record is safe until at least 2025.

Wonder if I can hold out and still be a 100 Percenter by then? I’ll only be 84 years old. And my Spitfire will only be 61!

I’ll take credit for bringing the Nationals to Kansas, and to Salina, in 1975. I was chair of that third running as, then, a member of Kansas Region. That means that although the Nationals were in Salina 15 times and in Topeka 14 times, Kansas Region was host 15 times and thus holds that record — also safe until at least 2025.

In fact, no other region is even close. Salina Region and Wichita Region each were host five times, Kansas City four times, Texas and Chicago Regions twice each, and five other regions (St. Louis, Ohio Valley, Houston, San Francisco and Saginaw Valley) once each.

No, the Nationals were never held in California or Michigan. San Francisco co-hosted with Kansas City in 1983 while Saginaw Valley was only a nominal host as a device to permit a 1985 experiment in drawing specialty chiefs from all over the nation. It worked.

Previously the host region was in charge of the event, including providing event workers. Part of the 1985 experiment included using all competitors as event workers, which today is SOP wherever you go. Since 1986 the host region has been truly a host and no longer the organizer.

Salina Region was not chartered until 1990, so although the 1988 and 1989 events mostly fell to the then-Salina Chapter of Wichita Region, from 1986 to 1989 the official region host was Wichita — that’s how they are credited with five events although the only one Wichita truly was responsible for was the 1978 Nationals at Sunflower Aerodrome south of Hutchinson.

Six Nationals were held at the East Crawford Recreation Area, then called Airport Park; today the site of local Salina Region events. When the organizational concept formally changed in 1986 that was also the year the Nationals moved across town to what today is the Salina Municipal Airport it was Schilling AFB, a Strategic Air Command bomber base until the Air Force closed it in 1964. Nine Nationals were run there until we outgrew it and moved to Forbes Field in Topeka.

Forbes held 11 Nationals, the record for a specific venue until at least 2020 if we stay in Lincoln. Salina Municipal Airport stands second at nine, then Salina ECRA at six, Heartland Park Topeka had three, Greater Southwest in Fort Worth did two, then five other sites were visited one time each.

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