Collins said MVN was able to secure the spot as the starting point for this year’s race through the efforts of the Plane and Pilot Light Sport Expo held at the airport in the fall.
“After last year’s race some of the race staffers were considering a new location and it was suggested by Pete Johnson of Waupaca, Wisc., we host the race. The things that impressed them was our hospitality industry with all the motels located in close proximity and to the airport, and the thing that sold them was our shuttle service,” Collins said.
Rene Dugas of Monroe, La., has been a strong finisher in the race the last three of four years, disqualified one year for “navigational issues,” but winning it one year and placing second in another.
Dugas, a retired ear, nose and throat surgeon, said he’s always had an interest in flying.
“I had an interest in the Air Force as a young man, but I’m now retired, and taking up my aviation career and have been flying contract charter service as a commercial pilot,” he said.
Living near West Monroe, La. — the hometown of the Robertsons from the popular Duck Dynasty syndicated television program — Dugas said he knows the family well.
“They are at our FBO often and flown by our charter service often. They are wonderful folks from our hometown and we’re proud of their success and their popularity nationwide.”