2021 Competitor of the Year

Mike Hazel tops competitors in virus-shortened season

Mike Hazel of Mehama, Ore., captured the Northwest's 2021 Competitor of the Year crown by scoring standings points in Combat, Navy Carrier and Racing.

Mike topped the Overall Racing category with winning performances in Northwest Sport Race, Northwest Super Sport Race and Clown Race.

He edged out Robert Smith of Roy, Wash., by a single point. Robert topped the 1/2-A Combat and 80mph Combat standings, bolstered by an apperance in the finals of the 2021 Bladder Grabber 1/2-A preliminary event.

Only a point behind Smith was Bob Welch of Federal Way, Wash., who topped the Overall Stunt standings with points in Old-Time and Classic Stunt and Precision Aerobatics.

This was the third Competitor of the Year title for Hazel, who also topped the field in full-year standings in 2016 and 2018.

The annual Competitor of the Year title recognizes the flier who scored the most points in Northwest control-line competition standings as compiled by Flying Lines.

At right, Mike is seen launching a Combat plane in a 2014 contest. Flying Lines photo.

The number of people or teams scoring points in competition in 2021 was far below normal because the first half of the season was wiped out by COVID-19 restrictions. Only 23 fliers scored points in 2021, compared with 59 in 2019. (No standings points were recorded in 2020 because all contests were canceled becasue of the pademic.)

Note that the number of people scoring standings points is not the total number of competitors, only the number of people placing first through fourth in sanctioned competition.

Thirteen fliers scored Stunt points. Seven scored Racing points, and six each scored Combat points and Navy Carrier points. No points were recorded in Scale or Speed.

Again, these totals reflect only placement, not actual number of competitors. The presence of out-of-region fliers in a contest can result in no points, or fewer points, being scored toward Northwest standings for some events.

The Competitor of the Year recognition has been given since 1980, the second year of Flying Lines newsletter publication. Here is the history, giving the top three finishers each year:

Competitor of the Year, 1980-2021

1980: 1, John Thompson 2, Bill Varner 3, Jim Cameron
1981: Dick Salter, Thompson, Dave Green
1982: Dick Salter, Thompson, Mike Hazel
1983: Green, Thompson, Glenn Salter
1984: Green, Dick Salter, Gary Byerly
1985: Green, John Hall, Mel Lyne
1986: Green, Lyne, Dick Salter
1987: Dick Salter, Glenn Salter, Green
1988: Not available
1989-90: Flying Lines not published
1991: Joe Rice, Rich McConnell, Tom Strom
1992: Rice, Todd Ryan, Hall
1993: Ryan, Rice, McConnell
1994: Ryan, Chris Cox, Nitroholics Racing Team
1995: Ryan, Jeff Rein, Don McClave
1996: Ryan, Stephen Cox, Rick Meadows
1997: Ryan, Paul Gibeault, Stephen Cox
1998: Ryan, Lyne, Dan Rutherford
1999: Ryan, Shawn Parker, Mike Conner
2000: Ryan, Lyne, Scott Riese
2001: Chris Cox, Ryan, Lyne
2002: Jeff Rein, Bruce Hunt, Nils Norling
2003: Dan Rutherford, Keith Varley, Lyne
2004: Rutherford, Paul Walker, Chris Cox
2005: Pat Johnston, Riese, Hunt
2006: Johnston, Hunt, Walker
2007: Johnston, Walker, Rein
2008: Hunt, Walker, Johnston
2009: Rein, Hunt, Robert Smith
2010: Hunt, Rein, Walker
2011: Alan Resinger, Smith, Pete Peterson
2012: Chris Cox, Walker, Smith
2013: Thompson, Walker, Howard Rush
2014: Thompson, Walker, Smith/Buzz Wilson (tie)
2015: Chris Cox/Rush (tie), Dave Royer
2016: Hazel, Smith, Mike Haverly
2017: Thompson, Walker, Mike Rule
2018: Hazel, Chris Cox/Walker (tie)
2019: Russ Hester, Chris Cox, Walker/Rush/Thompson (tie)
2021: Hazel, Smith, Bob Welch

Click here for final 2021 standings

Current standings are on the NW Standings Page

Below are the final 2021 Competitor of the Year rankings, along with the categories in which points were scored.


1. Mike Hazel -- Combat, Carrier Racing -- 28
2. Robert Smith -- Combat -- 27
3. Bob Welch -- Stunt -- 26
4. Fred Underwood -- Stunt -- 23
5. Howard Rush -- Stunt -- 22
6. Mike Haverly -- Stunt -- 20
7. Mark Schluter -- Carrier, Racing, Stunt -- 17
Jim Schneider -- Combat, Carrier, Stunt -- 17
9. John Thompson -- Racing, Stunt -- 14
10. Mike Potter -- Carrier -- 12
11. Jim McCartney-- Carrier, Stunt -- 11
12. Buzz Wilson -- Combat -- 7
13. Leighton Mangels -- Racing -- 6
Jerry Eichten -- Stunt -- 6
Randy Powell -- Stunt -- 6
16. Gene Pape -- Combat -- 5
Rod Claus -- Stunt -- 5
18. Kris Millard -- Carrier -- 4
Bruce Hunt -- Stunt -- 4
20. Russ Hester -- Combat -- 3
Gary Harris -- Combat -- 3
22. Pat Chewning-- Racing -- 2
23. Lynette Lickley -- Stunt -- 1

Flying Lines keeps track of standings in all AMA rulebook and Northwest official events, in all Northwest sanctioned contests.

2021 Final Standings and Competitor of the Year

2019 Final Standings and Competitor of the Year

2018 Final Standings and Competitor of the Year

2017 Final Standings and Competitor of the Year

2016 Final Standings and Competitor of the Year

2015 Final Standings and Competitor of the Year

2014 Final Standings and Competitor of the Year

2013 Final Standings and Competitor of the Year

2012 Final Standings and Competitor of the Year

2011 Final Standings and Competitor of the Year

2010 Final Standings and Competitor of the Year

2009 Final Standings and Competitor of the Year

2008 Final Standings and Competitor of the Year

2007 Final Standings and Competitor of the Year

2006 Final Standings and Competitor of Year

2005 Final Standings and Competitor of Year

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This page was upated Dec. 21, 2021