|START HERE||NMPRA Hall Of Fame Inductee - 1999|
Gil Hortsman and Jerry Nelson were good friends for several years before the beginning of the Goodyear Racing events. When Goodyear started in 1965, Gil got interested. Here was a scale-like model doing something exciting, Racing! Jerry encouraged him to join a new racing group called NMPRA.
Gil’s interest grew into racing, but the NMPRA was not organized. Don Dewey, the editor of RCM started writing columns in the magazine promoting the racing group. Gil offered to help with the membership applications. Bob Durnham and Jerry Nelson called Gil and convinced him that he should take the job of Executive director and organize the NMPRA. The NMPRA then became his personal challenge.
Cliff Weirick was the president of the NMPRA in 1966, Ed Shipe was Vice President, Gil Hortsman was secretary/treasurer. The following year, they organized the country and started enlisting the District VPs. It is the same system that the NMPRA uses today. This was the beginning of the national organization as we know it today. After the organization was operating, they all concentrated upon AMA affiliation, getting the racing rules accepted by the AMA and promoting Goodyear Racing and the NMPRA. A monthly newsletter was the next important item. Gil was editor and did a lot of work to get the newsletter out. With the help of his wife and daughters, they put out 600-700 newsletters each month and on time.
Gil enjoyed racing and qualified in the top 20 to fly at the 1967 Los Angeles Nationals. He repeated the qualification for the 1968 Olathe, Kansas NATS. For several years he did well in the NMPRA National Points, but was never number one. That was not his goal. His goal was to promote racing and have a good time racing. Gil did race a lot and worked for the NMPRA for many years. In 1974 Gil was transferred to Spokane, WA. He then asked to be replaced in his duties for the NMPRA. He felt that the hub of racing was in California, and he would be too far out of the mainstream to be effective for his responsibilities. Glenn Spickler, then president, replaced him with another NMPRA Hall of Famer, Ron Schorr. Our roots in the NMPRA came from great stock.
Over the years, Gil has always been involved in some kind of modeling, and has built and flown everything from profile peanuts to 1/3 size Radio Controlled models and control line airplanes. His first NATS competition was in 1954 at Glenview Naval Air Station. Gil is IMAC #4 and was on the ground floor of that organization as well. Gil Hortsman was Associate VP for the AMA in District 11 for many years.
When Gil reflects on the past, he states that the “NMPRA was a very big part of our life for many years. I say our life, because my partner and wife Clara was also there to help out. She was marvelous for me. We made many friends because of the NMPRA! It was worth all the work”.