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The Utah Cup

The Utah Cup is a year-long cross-country soaring competition sponsored by the Utah Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (UHGPGA). All current members of UHGPGA are entered in the Cup. Pilots must be current members of the UHGPGA at the time of the flight to be eligible. Temporary or short-term membership, as well as annual membership, qualifies.

The purpose of the Cup is to recognize outstanding cross-country accomplishments, and to share the experiences and the knowledge gained. The format is unstructured and low-key. Winners receive no money or prizes, only a plaque and the respect of their peers. Actually, the real prize is the flying.

The Birth of the Cup

In the summer of '83, Larry Tudor, a local Utah pilot at the time, flew 221 miles from Walt's Point (in the Owens Valley of California) to Austin, Nevada, thereby setting a new official world's open distance record. He also won the Owens Valley Classic that year, which was one of the most prestigious and competitive XC contests being held at that time. Cross Country flying was rapidly catching on everywhere as the ultimate Hang Gliding experience. It was in '80 or '81 (the records are quite fuzzy prior to 1983) when the first long flights were being made here in Utah. Mike Tingey, Chuck Simms, and Tony Sanders had all made flights exceeding 100 miles from Graff Peak near Cedar City. In 1982, Larry Tudor and Gordon Boyce privately formulated and sponsored a year long local Utah XC contest which was called the "Utah Cross Country Odyssey" which would bring cash and/or prizes to the pilots entered who recorded the longest flights of the year. Additionally, all those entered received a custom Tee-shirt. As it turned out, 1982 was not a very good year in Utah (there were no flights over 100 miles), but the idea of a local XC competition did appeal to many members of the club (Utah Hang Gliding Association). Then in 1983, two avid local XC pilots (Ray Attig and Tony Sanders), came up with an extension to the idea and presented it to the club. The idea was for the club to sponsor an ongoing contest which would stimulate more local pilots to experience the joys of flying XC. This idea was adopted in 1983 by the club and was christened: "The Utah Cup". It is still going today.

"The Utah Cup"

The purpose of the Cup is to act as a simple catalyst to get the typical "point rats" (you know who you are!) to go fly somewhere else for a change, cut the umbilical cord connected to the primary LZ, and then fly away! The Cup rules were designed to make it as safe and simple as possible. The format was to be "low-key" where you could launch from any site on any day. The only requirement was that you must launch from within the state of Utah. There will be no cash or prizes awarded to the winners. (Cash reward could push some pilots to take unnecessary risks, or might lure in outside professional killer XC pilots. Remember, this is an event by and for local pilots.)  Then, if you were lucky enough to have made the longest flight overall, you would be given the prestigious honor of possessing the Utah Cup Trophy for the entire following year. The trophy was to be passed on from year to year (forever in theory). There were two classes established, "A" and "B". To give less experienced pilots a fighting chance to win a plaque, "B" class could only be entered if you never had a flight over 50 miles. Anyone could enter "A" class. In 1995 a "C" was added for Paragliders. From 1995 to about 2006, there were two Utah Cups awarded each year, one for HG and one for PG.  Since that time, it has reverted back to a single cup for the longest flight by either HG or PG.  In 2015, three additional classes were added (Serial, Sport and Basic) to include both HG and PG flights.

Everything changes

It is actually amazing how little the Cup has changed over the years. Except for some minor tweaks to the rules, it is the same now as it was back in '83. The only changes were as follows:

  • When towing started to become popular, tow flights were made acceptable.

  • When the F.A.A designated the airspace around the Salt Lake City Airport to be a terminal control area (TCA, now called "Class B" airspace), a rule was added that flights within this airspace would not be allowed as valid Cup flights.

  • About 2017, three additional categories were added for D, C (sport), and A/B (recreation) and comparable HG, based on wing rating and aspect ratio.

  • In 2019, Senior and Women's Cup categories were added.

The Utah cup is comprised of the following classes:

  • Open Class - any paraglider or hang glider (including rigid)

  • X Class – Paragliders: EN-C. Hang gliders: topless

  • Sport Class – Paragliders:  EN-B. Hang gliders: double-surface with king post.

  • Recreation Class – Paragliders: EN-A. Hang gliders: single-surface.  The Recreation Class is intended to give  newer pilots, as well as pilots who prefer to fly more stable gliders, a chance to compete in XC at a more basic level.

  • Women's Class - All female PG and HG pilots, any wing.

  • Senior Class - Flights by pilots 55 and older, any wing.

The Utah Cup trophy is awarded at the year-end club meeting to the UHGPGA hang glider or paraglider pilot who completes the longest Utah flight during the year. The Open Class pilot keeps the trophy for one year and then passes it on to the next winner. The winning pilot's name, year, and flight mileage are engraved on the trophy.

Utah Cup Winners
Year
Winner
Wing
Miles
Route
2022
Bill Belcourt
Zeno 2
219
Jupiter to past Wamsutter, WY
2021
Bill Belcourt
PG
206
Wales to Colorado City AZ
2020
Bill Belcourt
PG
174
Monroe Peak to Bedrock CO
2019
Chris Galli
PG
227
Jupiter to Riner WY
2018
Bill Belcourt
PG
194
Porcupine Mountain to Wamsutter WY
2017
Cody Mittanck and Chris Galli
PG
204
Chalk Creek to Sheep Mountain CO
2016
Cody Mittanck
PG
195
2015
Cody Mittanck
PG
182
2014
Bill Belcourt
PG
174
2013
Chris Galli
PG
192
2012
Chris Galli
PG
199
2011
Bill Belcourt and Chris Galli
PG
173
2010
Bill Belcourt
PG
159
2009
Bill Belcourt
PG
134
2008
Bill Belcourt
PG
114
2007
Jeff O'Brien
219
2006
Lisa Verzella
HG
107
Ken Hudonjorgensen (PG) 73 mi.
2005
Steve Rathbun
160
2004
Steve Rathbun
183
2003
Lisa Verzella
HG
128
Ken Hudonjorgensen (PG) 51 mi.
2002
Steve Rathbun
135
2001
Lisa Verzella
156
2000
Heiner Biesel
153
1999
Lisa Verzella
HG
151
Ken Hudonjorgensen (PG) 30 mi.
1998
David Taylor
HG
81
Ken Hudonjorgensen (PG) 54 mi.
1997
David Sharp
HG
135
Ken Hudonjorgensen (PG) 35 mi.
1996
Bill Scott
HG
169
Hal Franklin (PG) 60 mi.
1995
David Taylor
HG
178
Ken Hudonjorgensen (PG) 67 mi.
1994
Charlie Baughman
162
1993
Charlie Baughman
178
1992
Charlie Baughman
147
1991
Steve Rathbun
111
1990
Bob Schick
101
1989
Michael Boyle
153
1988
Steve Rathbun
139
1987
Tom Gardner
122
1986
Jeff Roberson
126
1985
Val Stephens
112
1984
Jeff Roberson
57
1983
Ray Attig
88
2022 Leader Board
Class
Pilot
Wing
Miles
Date
Route
Track Log
Open
Bill Belcourt
219
07/09/2022
http://Track Log
Cody Mittanck
216
21/05/2022
Bill Belcourt
193
15/05/2022
http://Track Log
Arash Farhang
176
07/09/2022
Arash Farhang
165
21/08/2022
Joey Jarrell
163
07/08/2022
Josh Ellison
161
07/09/2022
Josh Ellison
148
21/08/2022
Lisa Verzella
147
07/09/2022
Jordan Newton
126
02/06/2022
Alec Page
122
19/05/2022
X-Class
Lisa Verzella
147
22/07/2022
Lisa Verzella
81
31/08/2022
Korey Curtis
18
16/07/2022
Sport Class
Josh Ellison
161
07/09/2022
http://Track Log
Josh Ellison
148
31/08/2022
http://Track Log
Jordan Newton
126
02/06/2022
http://Track Log
Josh Ellison
120
24/04/2022
http://Track Log
Recreation Class
Alec Page
122
18/05/2022
http://Track Log
Bob McRae
117
31/08/2022
http://Track Log
David Elliott
58
16/07/2022
Todd Crowley
57
18/03/2022
http://Track Log
Senior (55+)
Korey Curtis
113
27/09/2022
http://Track Log

Utah Cup Rules
1. The Utah Cup is a year-long cross-country soaring competition sponsored by the Utah
Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (UHGPGA). All current members of UHGPGA
are entered in the Cup. Pilots must be current members of the UHGPGAat the time of the
flight to be eligible. Temporary or short-term membership, as well as annual membership,
qualifies.
2. The purpose of the Cup is to recognize outstanding cross-country accomplishments, and
to share the experiences and the knowledge gained. The format is unstructured and low-key. Winners receive no money or prizes, only a plaque and the respect of their peers.
Actually, the real prize is the flying.
3. The Utah cup is composed of the following classes:

  • Open Class - any paraglider or hang glider (including rigid)

  • X Class – Paragliders:  EN-C. Hang gliders: topless

  • Sport Class – Paragliders: EN-B. Hang gliders: double-surface with king post.

  • Recreation Class – Paragliders: EN-A. Hang gliders: single-surface.  The Recreation Class is intended to give  newer pilots, as well as pilots who prefer to fly more stable gliders, a chance to compete in XC at a more basic level.

  • Women's Class - All female PG and HG pilots, any wing.

  • Senior Class - Flights by pilots 55 and older, any wing.


4. The Utah Cup Trophies will be awarded at a club meeting to the UHGPGA hang glideror
paraglider pilot who has had the longest Utah flight this year. It will remain in his or her
possession for one year and will then be passed on to the next winner, and so on ... The
winning pilot's name with the year and mileage are engraved onto the trophy. Each pilot
can win only one competition class. Separate awards may also be given for the longest
qualifying flights of: Rigid Wing Hang Glider; Flex Wing Hang Glider; and Paraglider.
5. The flight must start in Utah but may end anywhere.
6. The flight must not violate Class B airspace.
7. Flight details are sent to the UHGPGA Secretary, who will score the Utah Cup. The Utah
Cup is informal and run on the honor system. Flight verification is not required, but if you
have it, it will help dispel any doubt cast upon your claim.
8. Flight distance is measured in a straight line from launch to landing, rounded down to the
nearest mile.

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