SSA Youth Bob Barber bronze eagle


Rudy Mozer Awards

Best score at any Nationals for pilots under 26

Junior National Champion

From its inception, SSA recognized youth or “Junior” National Champions. 1932's Junior Champion, SSA's first, was Stan Smith, overall Champion the following year in a University of Michigan Franklin PS-2 with 12:1 glide ratio. Other early winners of "outstanding Junior pilot" titles included fellow UM pilots Henry Wightman, later SSA's first full-time Executive Director, and Elmira native Floyd Sweet, later SSA's awards chairman. This was when all SSA members were young and a third of all clubs were based at colleges like UM and MIT.

Switch scenes to the 1990s with an aging pilot population, and the SSA Youth Committee sought to again recognize a “Junior Champion” to motivate youth participation. We dubbed several "Junior Champions" in Soaring (Sean Franke, Tim Hanke, Joe Walter), based on landmark performance in SSA sanctioned contests, and sought a forum for a "Junior Nationals" (stand-alone? with one or more Regionals? within the Sports Class Nationals?), while recognizing best youth performance at Nationals with an SSA Bronze medallion. The SSA Contest Committee raised the stakes in 2001 by establishing a Junior Team selection ranking from best percentage of winner's score at a "pseudo-Nationals" consisting simply of any and all SSA sanctioned Nationals.

We then adopted this pragmatic venue solution as the basis for the annual Junior Champion title, together with the FAI definition of "Junior" (essentially through age 25). In 2003, several past US Team members (and former youth prodigies) came through to add a trophy to the title, with Richard Hall donating Bob Barber art, and Eric Mozer arranging a maintenenace endowment. Thus the addition of the perpetual Rudy Mozer trophy for Junior National Champion to the SSA Contest Rules and SSA awards banquet.

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RULES for the JUNIOR CHAMPION title and trophy


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Year Junior National Champion, Age WJGC Junior grant, Age
2001 Dan Sorenson 20
2002 Chris Saunders 16
2003 Liz Schwenkler 25
2004 Chris Saunders 18
2005 Garret Willat 24
2006 Chris Saunders 20
2007 Corey Sullivan 18
2008 Corey Sullivan 19
2009 Boyd Willat 18

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Liz Schwenkler, Chris Saunders, and Garret Willat were all invited to join the US Junior Team to the World Gliding Championships. Post Junior eligibility, at the ripe old age of 27, Liz Schwenkler acted as a mentor to Juniors at the 2005 Region 3 contest, flying with them in the Harris Hill Duo Discus, winning the Sports Class in the process.

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In 2003, the Mozer family of soaring sons (Eric, Peter, Richard, and Norman all active glider pilots) stepped up to endow a Junior National Trophy in honor of their father, Rudolf Mozer. He is a true icon of soaring, winner of the Eaton Award (SSA's highest honor), sailplane dealer, engineer, perennial competitor. Born in New York, he was migrated to Germany by his parents in 1932 due to the Great Depression, which put him in soaring's home country in time to learn to fly sailplanes very young. He has had seven decades involvement in soaring, bridging the pioneer era with today's modern sport : 1943 first solo flight in SG38 primary with approx. L/D of 6:1 all the way to ASW 22BL in 2002 with L/D of over 60:1 .

In 2005, Mr. Rudolf Mozer himself decided to establish and endow a trust that will be known as the ‘Mozer US Junior Champion Trust’. Mr. Mozer, a life long sailplane pilot, accomplished competition pilot and a long time supporter and benefactor of youth in soaring, has made the initial endowment of the Trust with a $50,000 donation. Mr. Mozer believes that the recent establishment of the World Junior Gliding Championships by the International Gliding Commission (IGC) is a positive step in hopefully attracting competitive youngsters to the sport of soaring in this country. He believes that finances for those qualifying for and choosing to compete may be a deterrence in deciding to compete in the World Junior Championships. The annual monies earned by the Trust shall be used for providing financial assistance in defraying the costs of the winner of the Mozer Trophy in competing in the next World Junior Gliding Championships.

Ref.: Article in SOARING, March 2006, p. 20, by Jim Short, "Endowing America's Junior Champions".

Tax-deductible donations to "SSA Foundation" for the "Mozer US Junior Champion Trust"
may still be sent at any time to the Soaring Society of America, Inc.

PO Box 2100, Hobbs NM 88241-2100. (505)392-1177,-8154(FAX)
Credit Cards are welcome

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Please feel free to visit these other Youth-in-Soaring Links

 | SSA Youth Programs Kolstad College Scholarship |  Bultman Flight Scholarship | 
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 | CAP National Flight Academy-Glider | Sailplanes & Youth | 

John H. Campbell
SSA Youth Chairman

Last revised: 25-Dec-09