Kingman air show organizers target 2010 to return to skies

KINGMAN - After a two-year hiatus, organizers of the Kingman Air and Auto Show are hoping to get off the ground again in 2010.

A decision will be made in January whether it will be financially feasible to host the show next year. Should the show go on, it would include only the air show element and not the auto show or drag racing as in previous years.

The reason? Like most everything recently, the Air and Auto Show has fallen victim to financial difficulties.

The last show in 2007 set records in terms of size and attendance, but with that came higher costs for fuel, rentals and performers.

The bottom line was that revenue from the two-day event just wasn't keeping pace with expenditures, organizers said.

"Rather than cheat on the show quality, we decided not to go forward with it for the last two years," said Vice-President Don Greenwald.

The show in 2007 cost around $190,000 and after all the revenue was added up, there was no seed money left over to host a show the next year. Typically the show generates an additional $15-20,000 to secure performers for the next year. That money just wasn't there in 2007, Greenwald said.

Short of canceling the show all together, organizers looked at scaling the two-day Air and Auto Show to one day and eliminating the drag racing portion of the event.

While popular, the drag racing "doesn't generate funds proportionate to the cost," Greenwald said. The cost of renting safety barriers alone costs a couple thousand dollars.

The Air and Auto Show also takes place just two weeks after the annual NAPA Racing Street Drags in downtown Kingman.

"Why compete with that? That's a great show," Greenwald said.

Sponsorships at the event have all but dried up as local businesses try to stay afloat in a dismal economy.

"It made the decision to cancel for 2009 very easy," Greenwald said.

But organizers are hoping this year will be different.

"We're doing everything we possibly can to make sure we have a show in 2010," said President Andy Raynor.

That includes hosting a second golf tournament to cover administrative and operation activities, as well as some of the deposits toward 2010 performers. A projected budget for 2010 has figured the cost of performers at more than $5,000, and many of those performers require a 10 percent deposit several months in advance.

A golf tournament in the spring of 2008 raised $3,600, which helped keep the organization afloat and maintain its status and insurance with the International Council of Air Shows.

In addition to financial difficulties, the organizational team behind the Air and Auto Show has gone from a staff of more than two dozen to just six in the two years the show has been on hiatus. Raynor and Greenwald both expressed concern about generating enough interest after two years to have adequate staffing and volunteers at the event.

The Air and Auto Show began in 1995. For more information, including a list of vacancies within the organization, go to www.KingmanAirShow.com or call (928) 303-3412.