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Hill AFB readies for Warriors Over Wasatch air show (with video)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE -- Organizers of this year's air show at Hill Air Force Base say the cost of the event is not only offset by the amount of money it brings to the local economy -- it's overwhelmed by it.

This year's Warriors Over the Wasatch Open House and Air Show show is set for June 28 and 29. Times are still being determined for the two-day show, but Lt. Joe Rojas, commander of Hill's 75th Operations Support Squadron, said organizers expect it to run from about 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.

Rojas and Kevin Ireland, who works with the Top of Utah Military Affairs Committee as air show organizer, said the budget for this year's show is about $500,000.

Of that total, Hill is only on the line for about $120,000, which comes from the base's Operations and Maintenance Budget, Rojas said.

In last year's legislative session, Utah state lawmakers voted to give the show $100,000 in one-time state funds. The rest of the $500,000 total comes from private donations.

The show's half-million-dollar budget pales in comparison to the amount of money it brings to the Top of Utah and the state as a whole, Ireland said.

"We figure the economic impact to the state is about $30 million," said Ireland, who also serves as development director at the Ogden-Weber Chamber of Commerce.

Ireland said organizers are anticipating 500,000 spectators to attend the air show over two days.
"We pull quite a few people from about a five or six state area here in the Intermountain West," he said. "And those people are staying in our hotels, eating at our restaurants and spending money at our retail stores. It's great for the economy."

Rojas said this year's show will likely be free, as it has been in years past, but the idea of charging patrons a small fee has been floated around.

"We are looking at some options that could defray the cost," Rojas said. "But as of right now, we don't anticipate that we'll have to go that route."

The last air show was held at Hill in 2012 and featured nearly 400,000 spectators, but was plagued by two days of rainfall.

"Last time, we held it in May and the rain was an issue," Ireland said. "We hope this year, by having it in late June, we can avoid that."

Ireland said that ideally, organizers would like to hold the show in late June every year, but the calendar of the U.S. Air Force's Thunderbirds aerial demonstration team usually dictates when the show is held.

"But we're kind of at the mercy of the Thunderbirds and their availability," he said. "We take them whenever we can get them."

Rojas said the air show line-up is packed with other gravity-defying acts as well.

"The skies will be filled from start to finish," Rojas said. "We don't expect any dead space at all."

A complete list of all of the performers can be found at

Those interested in attending the show can also visit Hill's official air show site at As the event nears, the site will feature a parking plan for the show, directions, the show's layout, and other details.

Story, video, comments/reaction:

PHOTO BY BRIAN NICHOLSON --- One of the Thunderbirds f-16 team flies past a formation of four others during the Hill Air Force Base Air Show Saturday, June 12, 2004.