Terre Haute furthers its legacy as Hover Haute
11 Sept. 2003
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||High quality picture|
The city of Terre Haute, Indiana, long known for innovation in hovercraft technology, is fast becoming an international center for hovercraft activity. Last September the city opened its doors to participants from 17 nations for World Hovercraft Week 2002, during which Mayor Judy Anderson officially dubbed her city Hover Haute for the week.
This September, Terre Haute will host participants from throughout the United States and Canada for the Hoosier Hovercraft Championship, Saturday and Sunday, September 13-14. Racing begins at noon on Saturday at the Wabash Valley Sports Center at 500 South Tabor Town Road, the site of last year's World Championship. On Sunday at 10:00 a.m., hovercrafters will embark from the Fairbanks Park boat ramp to cruise north on the Wabash River. Both events are free and open to the public.
The Terre Haute Convention and Visitors' Bureau is continuing its dedicated support of the city's growing reputation as Hover Haute. Executive Director David Patterson, who played a vital role in the success of World Hovercraft Week 2002 and served on its Board of Directors, is once again offering tremendous support for this weekend's event.
Although the Hoosier Championship will be smaller in scale than the Championship, it will mark another Terre Haute-based first for the hovercraft world. A new form of hovercraft racing - endurance racing - will be tested for the first time this weekend. The new endurance racing system is designed to further advance hovercraft technology. As endurance racing evolves, participating hovercraft will have to be modified to endure long-distance racing, which involves pit stops, skirt changes and refueling.
This racing concept, if proven successful, will culminate at the first HoverWorld Expo in Canberra, Australia in December 2004. HoverWorld Expo, for which Terre Haute's World Hovercraft Week 2002 served as the prototype, is a function of the newly formed World Hovercraft Organization, headquartered here in Terre Haute. The World Hovercraft Organization was founded by local resident Chris Fitzgerald, President of Neoteric Hovercraft, Inc. and Chairman of World Hovercraft Week 2002.
Says Fitzgerald, "HoverWorld Expo 2004 will take place on Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra, Australia, in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the World's First Hovercraft Race, which took place there on March 14, 1964." Fitzgerald, an Australian native, was a participant in the World's First Hovercraft Race.
Fitzgerald, considered a major force in the worldwide hovercraft industry, plans to put Terre Haute on the map through the World Hovercraft Organization. Projects to be unveiled in the near future are a Terre Haute-based worldwide Hovercraft Training Center, and DiscoverHover! - a national/international school hovercraft program. The Hovercraft Training Center will provide recreational opportunities as well as certified training for rescue agencies utilizing hovercraft for water, swiftwater and ice rescue operations.
DiscoverHover! school hovercraft projects will be similar to projects that are currently underway at both Terre Haute North and South Vigo High Schools. The North Vigo project is under the direction of faculty member Mike Dason, and Marquis Songer implements the South Vigo program. A Terre Haute native and lifelong hovercrafter, Songer was a participant in the 2002 World Hovercraft Championship and will also participate in this weekend's events.
Terre Haute North and South Vigo students involved in these projects, as well as future DiscoverHover! students, will have the opportunity to travel with their hovercraft to Australia to participate in HoverWorld Expo 2004.
But the hovering does not stop here. One of the most successful hovercraft sites in Hover Haute is the interactive exhibit created in August 2002 at the Children's Science and Technology Museum of Terre Haute by local resident James C. Wallace II. Wallace is employed by Neoteric Hovercraft, Inc.
According to Jerry Mansfied, the museum's Director, "The exhibit - especially the Hoverchair - is the most popular exhibit in the museum. The Hoverchair has become the focal point of almost every visitor's experience, especially when parents become actively involved in its operation ... it elicits amazement. Kids just love to be on it!"
From kids on Hoverchairs and high schools manufacturing hovercraft, to international events and new hovercraft ventures all over town . Terre Haute has truly become Hover Haute!
Chris Fitzgerald, President
Neoteric Hovercraft, Inc.
Hoverclub of America, Inc.