National Balloon Classic



Marjorie Walters


One of the launch directors walked over and asked me to let her know ten seconds before I was going to launch, so she could radio the announcer. I told her that I was thinking about waiting to see a few of the hot-air balloons take off, to see how fast the wind was. She told me that the balloonmeister had put all the other balloons on hold until I launched.


Lois Lodola


I pondered the logic of that for a moment, then gave it up with a shrug. The general trend was that the wind was slowing down enough for me to do a reasonable landing by sunset... and if it didn't, the worst case was that there were huge fields of corn in which I could drag to a humiliating, expensive (after paying the farmer) but probably non-fatal stop.


Dennis D. Nicholson


Waiting for a lull in the wind, I told the crew to get ready and told the launch director "ten seconds". I unhooked one of my ballast bags and counted slowly to ten. At ten, I handed the ballast bag to Ernie and told crew to release me. The wind pulled me forward. Ernie ran alongside me, ready if I should need to drop a second ballast bag. I rose slowly at first, my feet coming just a few feet off the ground. Then I began to ascend more rapidly. The crowd began to cheer, and I waved to them as my balloons and I blew away on the afternoon breeze


Angie Kufner


Jeffrey Billings


Lois Lodola


Jason Cross


Daniel Roulston Photography


Paul Lodola


Angie Kufner