Grass-root Drone Races Attract All Walks of Life!
Drone racing is on it’s way to becoming a big sport on a professional scale, but is strongest on the local level. Grassroots races like the recent Daisy Cutter Classic in Minnesota prove that drone racing continues to attract people from all walks of life.
“Unmanned systems, UAS, it’s a really challenging landscape right now, and it’s really fun to have events like this and have communities like this where professional athletes or engineers or high school students, you name it, can come together to connect and start to actually create a real community of responsible, safe users.”
Yes, even professional athletes are getting into drone racing. Cleveland Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer recently competed in his first drone race while in Minneapolis to play the Minnesota Twins.
Bauer’s been flying quads for about a year- but never found an opportunity to race. So MAV Meetup, a Minneapolis-based group of drone pilots, stepped in and created the 2016 Daisy Cutter Classic.
While Bauer is used to pitching in front of thousands of fans, flying in a race was a new experience.
“It’s been fun. My last race, I was in a pretty close little battle. I could see the guy right in front of me. I was trying to chase him down. It’s a lot of fun competing any time. Everyone out here is super nice. It makes it a lot of fun to fly with them.”
Bauer often brings his drones with him on road trips and enjoys finding local parks to fly. He’s a rarity in Major League Baseball... he thinks he’s the only pro baseball player who flies FPV drones.
“I know a couple of my teammates have the DJI Phantoms. A lot of them try to use it for hunting or scouting land or whatever. To my knowledge, I’m the only one who flies mini quads. If someone else does fly mini quads I’d love to fly with them. Hopefully there will be more of them as time goes along.”
At Saturday’s race, other pilots knew Bauer was a Major League pitcher. But they still treated him just like another pilot.
“It’s been really neat to see the reception that he’s gotten today. He’s one of the guys. He’s a professional athlete in other walks of his life, but he comes to a community like ours and just enjoy himself and have fun. It’s been really rewarding to see.”
It was clear that Bauer enjoyed taking a break from the world of baseball to immerse himself in the world of drone racing.
“I’d much rather talk about technology and stuff like this than baseball. I’d rather be known as a nerd than an athlete.”
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