Many thanks to BOD member Jason Markel for organizing our award banquet and to everyone who came out on Wednesday night to celebrate the SSB Award Winners for 2019 and 2020.  I hope a nice evening in great company was had by all!


For those who missed it, here are the special accomplishments that we celebrated:





Collective Accomplishments of Team SSB on OLC

3rd place in OLC U.S. Gold League  behind Moriarty and Minden – out of 18 participating teams in the Gold League.
15th place in the OLC World League – one of 3 US teams who made it into the top 30.  1077 Soaring Clubs participated.
53 Club Members contributed to our results.
Total XC distance flown: 173,000 km (more than 4x around the world)

2nd place in OLC U.S. Gold League  behind Minden – out of 18 participating teams in the Gold League.

2nd place in the OLC World League out of 1029 participating Soaring Clubs.

41 Pilots contributed to SSB’s result.

Total XC distance flown 207,735 km (more than 5x around the world).


Contest Accomplishments

John Seaborn – National Champion in 18m Class in Hobbs, NM

John Seaborn – Open Class Champion at the Pre Pre Pre Worlds Contests in Uvalde, TX

Chi Pickett-Heaps

The Board of Directors has awarded this Award annually since 1973 to the member or members who have contributed to the operation of the society or to the sport of soaring.

Jack Knopinski (for Discus panel rebuild and many years of service as ship manager, parachute manager, and camp commander).  Also instrumental in the Super Cub rebuild.

Gary Steube (for Super Cub rebuild, turning the Cub into the club's most valuable asset.)  Gary delivered a special thank you to John Pafford for his contributions.

Summer Soaring Series Bronze

Armand Charbonneau 1925 pts

Runner Up:

Allistair Moses 1831 pts

Elliot Dickerson 1147 pts

Gary Steube 987 pts

Elliot Dickerson 1278 pts

Runner Up:

Steven van Buskirk 1267 pts

Ryan Courreges 1040 pts

Summer Soaring Series


Scott VanInwagen 3027 pts

Runner Up:

Peter Baur 1379 pts

Armand Charbonneau 2126pts

Runner Up:

Scott VanInwagen 1941 pts

Summer Soaring Series


Pedja Bogdanovich 5830 pts (4 flights exceeding 1000 km)

Runners Up:

Bob Faris 4299 pts

Bob Caldwell 3864 pts

Bob Caldwell 4765 pts

Runners Up:

Bob Faris 4448 pts

Clemens Ceipek 4312 pts

Tom Zoellner 4244 pts

Longest Flight of the Year from Boulder

Pedja Bogdanovich 1273 km (longest flight from Boulder to date per OLC rules) 1340 OLC plus points. South to Blanca Peak, west to Crested Butte, north to the Co/Wy border.

Clemens Ceipek 913 km (northwest to Crestone Junction WY)

Runner up:

Bob Caldwell 906 km (most OLC points from Boulder: 926 pts)

Longest flight from any location: John Seaborn 1098 km (from Nephi south to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, then north along the Wasatch Plateau to the High Uintas)

Instructor of the Year

Armand Charbonneau

Other Nominees:

Bob Faris

Mark Terry

Phil Ecklund

Armand Charbonneau

Other Nominees:

Bob Faris

Tow Pilot of the Year

This award is given to the towpilot who has contributed the most to SSB tow operations.

Lyle Hatridge (174 tows)

Other nominees:

Gary Steube (149 tows)

John Lewis (142 tows)

Rob Calkins (113 tows)

Rob Calkins (238 tows)

Other nominees:

Mark Terry (138 tows)



Rob Calkins (tow pilot) and Everest Finn (glider pilot)

PTT during take off run due to carburetor icing. Both pilots delivered a textbook reaction to a potentially dangerous emergency situation.

Most Improved

Allistair Moses 1831 pts (active glider pilot at SSB since 2016) – prior year 256 pts.  (increase of 1575 pts). 

Runners Up:

Scott VanInwagen 3027 pts (active glider pilot since 2015) – prior year 1753 pts. (increase of 1274 pts)

Elliot Dickerson 1147 pts  (license in 2018)

Gregg Davis 1281 pts (license in 2017)

Steven van Buskirk 1267 pts (license in 2019) – 2020 was his first year of posting flights in OLC.

Runners Up:

Elliot Dickerson 1278 pts (license in 2018)

Ryan Courreges 1040 pts

Blake Poe 1612 pts (flying a Dimona motor glider)


Longest Retrieve

Colin Barry @ Sandy Ranch, Utah (flying from Parowan) 3:30 hour drive; 100 miles as the crow flies).

Charlie Gillespie @Waverly West Soaring Ranch in northern Colorado (retrieved by Armand Charbonneau and Scott VanInwagen).  1:15 hour drive; 50 miles as the crow flies)

Longest Flight in Club Ship

Clemens Ceipek 593km. August 18 from Boulder. Discus SG.

Andrew Wereley 600km.  June 27 from Nephi. Discus SG.

Most Hours in Club Ships during the year

Clemens Ceipek 112.8 hours.

Elliot Dickerson 61.2 hours



In addition to these SSB Awards, Colin Barry announced two new winners of the prestigious 14er Challenge that is open to all soaring pilots around the world. The 14er Challenge requires pilots to fly above 55 Colorado mountains with peaks over 14,000 feet.  The challenge started on May 1 2008 with an initial deadline by Sep 30, 2021.


In the first 10 years only three pilots had completed the challenge, all members of the Soaring Society of Boulder: Bob Faris, Alfonso Ossorio, and Tom Zoellner.  Tom accomplished it with the distinction that all his flights originated and ended in Boulder.


These three winners are now joined by two additional winners: Colin Barry, the original sponsor of the challenge, completed it in 2020.  And in 2021 he is now also joined by Ben Pinnel who had made the completion of the 14er challenge a major focus of his soaring season.  Colin presented the trophy to Ben, and Colin's son presented the trophy to Colin.  Ben has also graciously offered to officially extend the challenge by sponsoring the next five winners.  We'll have to see if it takes another 13 years for these trophies to be claimed!


Many thanks to Colin and Ben for sponsoring one of the most meaningful awards in soaring.


Special thanks also to everyone who keeps our club running and makes it one of the premier soaring clubs in the nation and around the world.  This includes my colleagues on the BOD, especially our officers Gary Steube (vp) Wiebe Gortmaker (treasurer) and Armand Charbonneau (secretary); our ship managers Al Godman and Elliot Dickerson (PB), Sharif Abdallah and Bill Kaewert (EF), Alfonso Ossorio (TR), and Jack Knopinski (SG); our facilities manager Reed von Gal; our chief flight instructor Bob Faris; our chief towpilot John Stewart; all our towpilots who help us get in the air; Lyle Hatridge, our new member coordinator; Mike Exner for keeping us safe by championing the most scientific approach to tow rope strength testing; and Ryan Courreges, our Proving Grounds Coordinator.  Also special thanks to the team led by Colin Barry who put the OGN system in place allowing us to track Flarm-equipped gliders flying along the Front Range; and to the team led by Joe Brack for installing a ground station radio at the shack and to Bill Kaewert for donating such high-quality equipment. Plus, special thanks to Armand Charbonneau for championing the SSB Ground School series and the SSB YouTube Channel and to all the presenters that have participated and continue to participate in the ground school series.  And thank you to everyone who does the many "little things" around the field all year round such as mowing the lawn, taking out the trash, replacing the tow rope hooks, swapping out oxygen cylinders in the cart, cleaning the shack, etc, etc.  These things often go unnoticed but are critical to everyone's safety and enjoyment. Thank you!


Finally, I would also like to congratulate John Barry for the most Proving Ground Task completions to date.  John completed the Boulder Dash, Hill Rambler, and Niwot's Challenge in his LS4.  I hope to see more up and coming pilots take on the Proving Grounds tasks and develop into competent XC mountain soaring pilots!


Here is a link with some pictures from the banquet:

(Sorry, we don't have pics of all the award winners)


The 2021 OLC season has just ended as well and there is no shortage of accomplishments to celebrate at our next year's banquet.


I wish everyone a safe, rewarding, and fun 2022 season.


See you at the field,