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Did You Know...

... that attendance is down and quality is up?

posted Oct 24th, 2008 - Back to the USPA Nationals 2008 where the event week continues with the traditional 16-way and 10-way competitions. The NSL News took a closer look at the participation records at USPA Nationals for the time period between 1997 and 2008. The results are interesting and surely reveal a declining attendance in 4-way, especially in the Advanced and Intermediate Class.
4-way participation at USPA Nationals between 1997 and 2008
This year's 4-way numbers are still even supported by a significant number of guest teams in the Open Class (9), which brought the total number of 4-way teams to 55. Four lineups from France and three from Russia gave the USPA Nationals 2008 a very international atmosphere.

However, the declining number of teams over the years has neither hurt the quality of the competition nor the quality of the meet management. In fact, the decreasing work load seems to be a relief for at least some of the judges and other officials, as the NSL News heard here and there in Eloy.

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The competition has been on a higher performance level every year, at least in the Open and the Advanced Class, and the competition classes have been offering exciting races. Perris Fury and the Golden Knights fought for the USPA silver medals in the Open Class, Perris Katalyst won the bronze medals in the Advanced Class by one single point over Butta Bing. Air Force Encore and Slipstream battled for the silver medals in the Intermediate Class.

The situation is different in the 8-way event. Participation has increased since 2006 and is back up to the level of 2005. The Perris Fury 8-way project is surely one reason for the upswing, as the NSL News mentioned on 23 October 2008. The Fury member managed 35 % of the 8-way teams in Eloy this week.

8-way participation at USPA Nationals between 1997 and 2008
The strongest one of the six Fury 8-way teams, Perris Alpha (Josh Hall, Jim Rees, Glenn Frank, William Morrison, Robert Byrne, Piya Navanugraha, Christopher Irwin, Tammi Rettig, Steven Salomon, with Niklas Daniel on camera) even made it up to the medal rankings of the USPA Nationals 2008. Alpha had an exciting 10-round battle with Paraclete Directe XP, a combination of the 4-way teams Paraclete XP and Spaceland Directe XP.

The Perris teams won the USPA bronze medals by two points with an 11.4 average. Round 6 of both teams can still be viewed on NSL-TV. It was one of the four rounds that Paraclete won. Alpha outscored Paraclete in five rounds, both teams tied their scores only in Round 9.

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An interesting aspect is the fact that each competiton class in 4-way and in 8-way had a winning team that was running away from the rest of the field. Airspeed Odyssey, CSC Rhythm and R4 won the gold medals with dominating performances in their respective categories. These three teams altogether lost only six out of 30 rounds, each of them two.

Arizona Airspeed easily won the 8-way Open Class and did not give up one single round to the team USA 8. The same counts for the competition between the French 8-way team and Airspeed, by the way. Carolina Black Ice was 11 points ahead of the team in second place in the 8-way Intermediate Class.

The NSL News will follow up with more intersting aspects of the USPA Nationals 2008.

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