Airshow cancelled

Event set for August, 2016, axed for lack of funding, volunteers, society says

  • Feb. 1, 2016 10:00 a.m.
Renowned aviators Super Dave Mathieson (right)and Ken Fowler at the Canadian Rockies International Airport

Renowned aviators Super Dave Mathieson (right)and Ken Fowler at the Canadian Rockies International Airport

Barry Coulter

The Canadian Rockies International Airshow, which was scheduled for August 5 and 6 of this year, has been cancelled.

The society formed to bring the event to Cranbrook — The Canadian Rockies International Airshow Society — made the announcement on its facebook page on the weekend.

“The Airshow Society has received a lot of support and interest from both the general public and the many acts slated to perform at the show,” the notice read. “However there has been a minimal response to our requests for volunteers and interest in corporate sponsorship.”

Society President Darrell Garton spoke to the Townsman Monday morning and reiterated those reasons.

“We put the brakes on with the show, due to the lack of volunteers and the lack of corporate sponsors.

“We put it out there — I don’t know how many times — looking for volunteers and sponsors, and we just weren’t able to come up with the manpower or the funds to put on the event.”

The society even hosted a pre-event last summer. The Canadian Rockies International Airshow Society on Aug. 17 held a sneak peak of the future airshow, with some of the scheduled performers and their aircraft, including Stefan Trischuk and his Pitts X2C biplane, Geoff Latter and his 1958 Nanchang, a Chinese prop-driven fighter/trainer, and Super Dave Mathieson and his MX2, the world’s most advanced aerobatic aircraft.

Things have changed since those halcyon days almost half a year ago.

“A lot of it seemed to be the economic times and the state of the funds and the volunteers, unfortunately,” Garton said.

“At this time, we’re going to dissolve the society. But I think they’re going to look at the event again for 2018. We’ve given notification to all our performers, and a lot of them are going up to the Edmonton airshow.”

The society’s release thanked all those who had been involved up to that point.

“We would like to thank the individuals and organizations that did step forward as we tried to bring this event to fruition, and we hope that in the future, in a better economic climate we can come back and bring the City of Cranbrook and the Kootenay Region the Airshow that we had intended.”

As recently as November, 2015, optimism was still running high.

Thomas Murphy, one of the society’s directors, told Cranbrook City Council there had been a lot of success so far securing sponsorship on the local, regional and provincial levels. Murphy told Council  it was estimated the event would “generate up to $1 million in revenue for local businesses and raise awareness of the East Kootenay region as a destination for travel and tourism.”