Aero Meet Decision Delay - 1910

This article first appeared in the January 20, 1910 Indianapolis Star. This article concerns the machinations of the extended decision-making process over an American venue for the 1910 international air show. The inaugural held in 1909 at Rheims, France featured Glenn Curtiss' convincing victory in the James Gordon Bennett Trophy competition. By virtue of this success his home country - the United States - won the right to stage the 1910 contest and cities throughout America sought to attract it to their confines.
In this development Albert Bond Lambert, the general secretary of the Aero Club of America communicated to Indianapolis Motor Speedway Director of Contests Ernie Moross that a meeting of delegates of the international aero clubs has been postponed until January 29 instead of the planned Monday, January 18. Lambert had been a competitior in the 1909 National Balloon Competition at the Speedway. Management at the Speedway believed they could position the track as the capital of America's nascent aviation industry. A follow-up Indianapolis Star article on the meeting eventually took place is provided elsewhere on First Super Speedway. The Speedway's commitment to realizing the dream of the international aviation show compelled Moross to visit Europe on a recruitment mission.
At least 10 cities were expected to file bids to host what was expected to be a major event. The big issue was the ability of cities to raise financial guarantees to insure a quality presentation. The minimum bid requirement was $50,000. Moross and his Speedway colleagues believed the city could muster the $50,000 and while other competitors were likely to raise more they believed the advantages of the Brickyard would win out. Those were, they felt: the only enclosed aviation grounds in America; the best facilities (including gas piping lines on the grounds) for inflating balloons; the best parking space and the most convenient location to downtown hotels and restaurants.
Part of the Speedway strategy involved selling tickets to city merchants for $1.00 and then allowing them to re-market them at a marked-up rate. The merchants could print advertisements on the back of the tickets. The Speedway said they were not looking to raise a profit, only cover expenses. Moross also led the charge to secure agreements from Indianapolis hotels that they would not gouge tourists. Booklets were planned to list hotels complete with regular prices and a statement from each that they would hold the line on rates.
Moross is quoted: "We are doing this because at Atlanta and other cities the prices were raised so hight that the crowds were killed. I know of four Indianapolis men who paid $30 a day at Atlanta during the races. We do not want that condition in Indianapolis, and I am glad to say that the only hotel men I have seen thus far have agreed with me. Fifty thousand of these booklets are to be printed and distributed."
Moross was optimistic about attendance for the aviation meet: "I am certain that we can easily have 100,000 people at the Speedway on any day of the meet. There is not one chance in one hundred to lose money, and I believe that since the Speedway does not ask one red cent of profit the merchant will realize the great boosting value of this event and raise this guarantee of their own accord."
The article calls out Baltimore and an alliance with Washington D.C. as one of the competitive efforts for the international event. The Baltimore side of the equation was struggling to raise $50,000 but the Washington end had it covered. Together they hoped to combine for an unbeatable $100,000.
Interestingly the article notes the National Aero Club's event in Los Angeles which was underway at the time of this report. I note this as people searching the Web for info about international aviation shows in 1910 could confuse the Los Angeles event with the official international air show that is the topic of this attachment.

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