The Willi Muller Memorial Competition has come and gone for another year in Golden. This year, 40 participants took to the sky in hopes to be named number one. The competition included 26 paragliders and 17 hang gliders, a number larger than 40 because three participants competed in both.
“This year the forecast was not so great,” Serge Lamarche, organizer and director explained, “so we had less participants than we would otherwise.
“The Willi spans a whole week including both weekends, July 23-31 this year. It is a popular event that attracts participants from all over the country, the USA and some other countries as well.”
This year those other countries included a man from Germany who is now living in B.C.
“The formula is more congenial than most other competitions. The Willi leaves the task to accomplish at the participants leisure and at the end only the best three flights are counted towards the total.”
This year’s flights included an impressive 57 km by Stuart Cobbledick, as well as two competitors who made it to Parson and back to Nicholson.
But as much fun as the competition is, competitors also know of the risk. “This year one participant was scratching closer to the mountain with a paraglider. He had a collapse of the wing and fell in the trees on the spine of the mountain south of the takeoff. He and several friends went a few days later but were not able to recuperate the paraglider. He went again with chainsaw but the wing got torn and ended up being a write off. Common in tree ‘landings”.
High winds also caused two competitors to opt for water landings.
“One was rescued by a helicopter, the other by a passing french couple in a canoe then by a SAR motor boat.”
Placings for paragliding this year included Igor Bogdanov placing first in the Paraglider advanced category, Stuart Cobbledick winning first in the intermediate category and first in novice was won by Michael Goergens.
The hang glider portion brought Serge Lamarche winning first in the advanced category, Beverly Johns winning first in the intermediate category, Roger Winger winning in the novice category and Doug Litzenberger winning first in the topless hang glider advanced category.
Lamarche would like to thank Muller Windsports, GEAR, Golden Gear Exchange, Bacchus Books and Café, The Dollar Store and Southside for sponsoring the competition.