Collected by
Jacqui Paul
jacqui@verio.net

MOST UNUSUAL TASKS FOR BALLOON RACES

A COMPILATION OF RESPONSES FROM THE BALLOON REFLECTOR

The two most common balloon competition races are Hare and Hound and CNTE -- right? I asked folks to write about the most unusual balloon races they ever participated in regardless of how well they did or did not work out! Following are all the responses to my query – from all over the world! I'm told by several event organizers that I really started something this time! From all the responses -- some organizers are going to combine, expound upon or expand some of these ideas for races in the future!! See what we started? What will they think of next? Or is it -- what will we have to do at the next rally?
Clayton,
New Mexico 1989
Jacqui Paul
Pony Express Race.
Balloon Pilot is paired up with "Pony Express Rider". Object of race is to have balloon pilot carry mail -- fly for a designated period of time -- land. Pony express person waits for same period of time then rides horse to location of where the partnered balloon landed, picks up the mail and races back to the original launch site. Lots of fun with plenty of experienced horsemen and balloon pilots! OH, for your edification - 1st place won $500.00 (for the balloon pilot!) By now you figured out we won 1st place? Skeeter split it with the Pony Express rider. Well, no one thought about the poor horse and rider!

Don Boyer
(occasional submariner)
Jacqui, I know you know about Elephant Butt (er...Butte) but thought I'd write this for them foreigners. You may post it to the reflector with any embellishments you care to add. Well there's the famous (or it that infamous) Elephant Butte Balloon "Regatta" in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. Yes, that is the name of the town (it's a long story). The balloons are paired up with a boat from the local boating club and a baton is given to the boat captain. The balloon inflates on the shore and attempts to fly out over this quite large, and COLD lake. The balloon then "lands" on the water, trying not to get the COLD water up to his or her fanny (been there - done that!) and meet up with his assigned boat to receive the baton. The balloon is to then fly on across the lake to a target upon which the baton is deposited. If the pilot cannot, or chooses not to, land on the water, he may throw a baggie at the target but incurs a double the distance penalty. Lots of fun, lots of challenge, lots of COLD water.


Here's LOOK'n UP...
Carson & Martha
in South Louisiana
Where you can find
Mardi Gras Magic
"Lady Jester" and
Kustom Kards USA
When our club was having monthly races, one race was designated a balloon drop. Six (pre-filled) water balloons were given to the balloon pilot to take in his balloon. A designated crew member has a laundry basket and can move the basket around to catch the balloons. But, the crew must be laying on their back on the ground when the balloon is caught. The object was to drop the balloons into the laundry basket at three different locations. One location was a judge declared location. The other two locations are pilot declared and must be at least 1 mile from any other locations. You must drop at least one balloon at each of the three locations. Scoring: First balloon in the basket 5 points; Second balloon 3 points; Third balloon 2 points; Forth balloon 1 point. Requires observers or a crew member from another balloon team. At our race the winning score was 13 points and a lot of laughs. Later...

Hamilton
New Zealand
From: Bruce McLean
hotairnz@hn.pl.net
You tie the balloons into pairs with a ribbon of paper e.g., toilet paper and the balloons have to fly for as long as possible with out braking away from each other..

Fred Gorrell Aspen,
Co. and
Scottsdale, Az.
In Snowmass, Colorado during the Winterskol festivities the object of the race was to have the shortest elapsed time between balloon and a cross country skier. The balloon launch was about 3/4 of a mile from the start of the cross country ski race. The balloon has to fly a minimum of 45 minutes and a maximum of one hour and then land and let the skier out to make their way to the start of their race which consists of about 6 km to the finish line. Generally, most of the balloons fly closer to the start of the ski race and many of the skiers were Olympic wannabes. Some good times were turned in. Occasionally, as we know, the wind does not cooperate and sometimes the skiers have a lot of "real" cross country skiing in order to get to the start of their race.

Soft and Friendly
Landings,
Bob
BlueSkyBob
@balloonist.com
Out a rally in NJ where the town actually change their name for the rally. (From Bloomsbury to Balloonsbury) we had a bike race. Each pilot carried up one bike and bicyclist. It was a normal Hare and Hound at the start. When the Hare landed you had to fly past him and then put down. It was then a bike race back to the finish.

Bill M. I flew one in Albq. about 1974 from the Fairgrounds where I carried a bicycle and rider. We had to land outside a 1 mile circle and the crewman had to ride the bike back to the Fairgrounds. These were the worst bicycles I ever saw. We didn't win. I flew a Hare n Hound in Anaheim, CA in the early 70's. A really congested area. We had to land near the hare. Wilma Piccard was the pilot. Then we had to run to her basket and give her a kiss. I was about 4th. One more. In Memphis Bill Meadow's had a race against time. We had a stop watch that we pinned to the outside top of the balloon. During cold inflation we started the watch. We flew for about an hour, deflated and ran around to stop the watch before the hour was up. Farthest distance won. I didn't.

Jon Radowski
Rat6666@juno.com
In Natchez, Mississippi, one year, they had a bike race - each balloon carried a bicycle and a rider, and when they landed after tossing the baggie, they dropped the rider off and the first one back to the launch site wins the race. Here's some other "events" I have heard or seen of: 1. Tossing tennis balls into inner tubes in a river 2. Popping tethered pibals with a pole (with a needle) around a valley 3. Well, that's it for now...

Soft landings ...
from Sam Who?!
Back in the mid 1970's I attended the Irish National Championships and my somewhat hazy recollections of a few of the tasks are as follows :
1) Reverse Hare and Hounds. Hounds launch first and then hare is allowed to launch five minutes after last hound has left the launch site. [Hounds may have had signed toy balloons tied under bottoms of baskets to prevent ground contact or other means of slowing down, I don't recall.] Scoring as for regular Hare and Hounds.

2) Slow Race. [Light wind conditions.] Shortest distance in one hour. [Toy balloons were used under baskets for this one!]

3) Bucket of Water Race. [Best on windy days!] Each team receives a plastic bucket and three meters of rope [or maybe it was ten feet back then.] Balloons take off and attempt to collect water in flight from one of the numerous lakes in the area. An official with each crew measures amount of water remaining in bucket [if any] upon landing. This turned out to be a wonderfully "hairy" task as, at 12 knots, the bucket became an instant "sea anchor" upon being dropped from basket at just a few feet above the water. Some "clever" pilots, not wanting to chance losing their bucket, had [unwisely] tied the other end of the rope to the basket handles! If I recall correctly, several competitors received severe dunkings that morning and those that did manage to collect water lost it during the ensuing drag landings ...... a real hoot of a task!!!

4) Guinness Race. Each balloon is given a bottle of Irelands finest at launch and the task is simply to land near to a pub, take the unopened bottle in and ask the publican to sign the label before returning as quickly as possible to competition headquarters. Sounds simple doesn't it? Try walking into an Irish country pub WITH THE BEER IN YOUR HAND AND WALKING OUT AGAIN WITH A SIGNATURE AND WITHOUT BUYING ANYTHING!

5} Egg Race. [Another good one for windy days.] Each balloon receives half a dozen signed eggs [NOT IN EGG BOXES!] and are scored on how many eggs are returned intact. If memory serves me, there used to be a "fishing contest" on the St. Croix River near Lakeland, MN. The hare & Hound race was augmented by the participants trolling for fish as they flew across the river. Anyone who caught fish, got extra points. Needless to say most of the fish entered were "suspiciously cold and stiff". Jeez, when it comes to fishing, even BALLOONISTS lie about it!!!

David Barker. Gary Palmer mentions some tasks in the Irish Balloon Championships in the mid 70's. Another one they had around this time was for the maximum number of different varieties of tree leaves picked during the flight. I've already mentioned in a previous post the year when anyone catching a fish from the basket on any flight would be Irish Champion. But funniest I think was in Chateau d'Oex around 1980. The task was to carry a skier, fly a certain minimum time, and drop the skier who would ski back to the launch site. Not especially unusual except the year that one of the contestants was Piero Porati, a super Italian, who spoke virtually no English. During the briefing it was checked if Piero understood. Yes, yes, he said. At dinner that evening Piero's pal and co pilot stood up to tell about his flight. He spoke even less English than Piero but with a combination of his rapid Italian and sign language the message was very clear. After 40 minutes or whatever, Piero had touched down and demanded his co pilot run back to the launch field, about 3 km. After the turmoil had died down he was asked, did he actually run back? Yes of course he said. Piero was the commander ! At the first ever Chateau d'Oex it was Piero who was secretly declared the winner by popular vote BEFORE the meeting started so that we could all go out and enjoy ourselves without having to bother about who was going to win. I just got the regulations for the meeting this year, I think it safe to say it is not quite so relaxed nowadays as it used to be.

TOM RATHKE,
aeronaut@juno.com
P.O. Box 3312,
Fayetteville, AR
72702 501-444-0966
Years ago (actually, it may still be going on) in the town of Coalville, UT. they had a balloon event during the annual fishing derby for local anglers. They had a competition like this and to this day no one has caught a fish. I'm no fisherman, but there were a few pilots who were avid fishermen. I believe it's the balloons that drive the fish deeper or away.

Alan Brown,
P.O. Box 6020
Santa Fe, NM 87502
and
Don Piccard,
1445 East River Parkway
Minneapolis, MN
Regarding unusual types of competition: A good number of years ago, the late (and, in many minds, great) Nikki Caplan ran a rally in Keokuk, Iowa. For those not acquainted with this town, it's a small town near the intersection of the Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri borders, overlooking the Mississippi River. The launch site was the airport, which was about a mile from the river. One year, as the winds were blowing to the east, and it was apparent that the balloons would pass over the river, Nikki decided to hold a variation on the normal Hare and Hound. The first variation, decided upon well before anyone knew which way the wind would be blowing, involved having a person, carried on board the hound balloon, making his or her way by any means EXCEPT a chase vehicle over to the hare (Nikki's Unicorn) balloon and touching the basket. Grab a horse out of a field, flag down a passing motorist, run like hell, arrange for a taxicab (practically non-existent in Keokuk) to meet the landing balloon -- anyway you could try to get over to Nikki's balloon. The second variation, decided upon when it became apparent the balloons WERE going to cross the river, involved doing a touch-and-go in the river. At the time I was flying for Garcia's Pizza-in-a-Pan with the Flying Tomato (one of the first special shapes in the U.S.) and Ralph and Joe Tomato, the Flying Tomato Brothers. (How's that for an advertising motif.) They were flying this flight and were one of the first hound balloons to approach the Mississippi. See if you can picture this: they were moving East-Northeast at about 8 knots, and the river was flowing South at about 5 knots. They hit the water with a very slight rate of descent, but, as the front edge of the basket floor caught in the current, were immediately dragged downstream, water up to their hips and over the basket. The balloon lay over the water like it was cold inflated, slowly being dragged against the wind. This was a Piccard balloon, with the twin 7 - inch burner cans, which, as many of the old timers may remember, were NOT gimbaled in any way. Carefully aiming (Right - "carefully aiming." How about manhandling, wrenching, or muscling?) the burners into the mouth of the balloon, they were able to slowly heat up the balloon until it slowly pulled the basket out of the water, water streaming through the wicker as they rose. The final touch to the story is that they sat the balloon down just a short distance from Nikki's balloon, Ralph ran across the field, and they won the competition. Alan And I'll bet Ralph had a comment about the rules variation from the City of Orange hare and hound which Bill reported earlier when Willie was the hare. No timid 'Basket Touching" in California. Never saw Bill run so fast. He ran so fast, they say, that you couldn't catch him all day. Wilf Woollett came in last and never got to the hare's landing and never forgave himself, but he still did get a Georgian Sterling spoon warmer.

Chsecat@aol.com
( Michael Scott )
My most unusual competition: I flew in a rally years ago ( somewhere in Kansas ) where one morning we had four targets, at each of the targets we had a different item to collect and the first person the get back to the officials with all the items was declared the winner. Needless to say there were no official winners, but there were awards for creative cheating --- i mean creative competing ---.

Mike Cleaver
Canberra, Australia
At Marti's Balloon fiesta in Canowindra (New South Wales, Australia - the "i" is silent!) they also regularly run a fishing contest. The fish are inflated helium balloon fish tied off on 30 meter strings at various locations close to the flying area, and the task is to collect one or more by flying down and picking them - a bit like a key grab. At the April 1997 Festival they also had a task where balloons were paired up - one took off away from the launch area to drop a parachutist from at least 2500 ft (some went to 10,000 ft) to land on the main launch field, while the other member of the pair took off from the launch field (they had to be away early so the parachutists could land). The aim was for the two balloons to land as close together as possible. Winning score was 8 meters basket to basket - the first balloon deflated when the second of the pair could guarantee landing fairly close! (in fact this was a bit of a "put up" job as the second balloon landed on its trailer and was then driven across the field close to the first one to deflate - a BIT OF CREATIVE CREWING HERE! However, this pair were still the closest, as the trailer was only 75 m from the first balloon when its balloon landed on. From memory the second pair scored 150 meters and the third pair 200 meters. Another unusual one we do occasionally at the Canberra Festival Balloon Fiesta is para-ballooning. Balloons launch upwind of a fly-in target carrying a parachutist and climb to 3000 ft to drop the jumper, who heads for the same target as the balloon. Score is the sum of parachutist's and balloon's landing distance from the goal. Winner last year was Paul Gibbs with a combined distance of about 6 meters! Then there's the fly-out with a cyclist on board the balloon and his bicycle in the retrieve vehicle. Balloon must fly a minimum distance and land, then cyclist rides back to start point. First home wins. Needs good co-operation between pilot and crew, as sometimes the closest balloon distance out is not the shortest bike ride home.

Jean Klein
Luxembourg
On a meeting here in Luxembourg I changed a the FIN task a little bit, giving the pilots plastic ducks to throw into children's water basins on the launch field. The children loved it.... What I didn't like was that some pilots had the really STUPID idea to fill the ducks with water (!) and to throw them from a height of several hundred feet. Just imagine one of these heavy ducks hitting a spectator.... Even pilots some time lack Common Sense....

TOM RATHKE
aeronaut@juno.com
P.O. Box 3312,
Fayetteville, AR
72702 501-444-0966
Park City, UT did something similar. No fish. Just helium balloons 30 feet off the surface of the golf course. Each pilot was given a broom handle with a nail at the end of it. A little sadistic really. That pole became a liability to those who stayed up too long and had to do some high wind landings! :-) Then there's the fly-out with a cyclist on board the balloon and his bicycle in the retrieve vehicle. Balloon must fly a minimum distance and land, then cyclist rides back to start point. First home wins. Needs good co-operation between pilot and crew, as sometimes the closest balloon distance out is not the shortest bike ride home. Actually like to see this as a competition. I did it once for money. I was flying about 8 passengers in the Southern Utah desert (near Moab - Mountain Biking Capital of the World) on a day that my crew forgot to set the alarm (they lived out in the boonies without a phone). I had a bike rack on my chase truck that still had my mountain bike on it from doing a tour the day before. So I put the passengers to use inflating the balloon and slung the bike on the side of the basket before take-off with some tie-downs. When I landed, I hopped on th bike and went to retrieve the chase truck (only 3 miles away as th lizard scurries). I got back about the time the passengers had the balloon packed and had taken all the "we're-stranded-out-in-the-desert-without-a-pilot" photos for laughs back home. We made brunch at the landing site (my famous campfire breakfast burritos) and got back to town about noon. It was a fun experience (like flap inflating my 90,000cf Balloon Works -- but that's another story) hopefully never to be repeated again. :-)

Bill M. I went to 10 balloon rally some years ago. One of the races was a hare n' hound. Every balloon was a hare and every one a hound. As each pilot left the ground he was given an envelope of which balloon he was supposed to land closest to. The person handing out the envelopes made sure that no pilot got his own balloon. Once in the air, the pilot opened the envelope and looked for his hare. It was interesting, because some of the hares were still on the ground.

Soft landings ....
from Sam Who?!
Hi all, Here's an unusual one. About 10 yrs ago at the Rochesterfest Mayor's Cup Balloon Race in Rochester, MN we flew over a local lake which was created by a power dam. Most of the pilots were doing dips and skims on the water as there was plenty of room. One of the pilots wanted as much "water time" as possible and came in a little too steep just over the trees on the shoreline. All of us watching figured on witnessing a splash-n-sink.....up to the burners! The pilot later related the same expectation. Well, when he hit the water, the gondola landed squarely on top of a submerged treestump!! Though he and his passengers were braced for a DEEP one, they barely got their feet wet and the flight continued on to a gentle conclusion! We later discovered that even though this took place pretty close to shore, the water all around the stump was 12 to 15 ft. deep! Talk about luck!!!

P.Woessner To all that care, First of all there was alot more that just 3 or 4 beer trucks and a few unlucky chickens. In all there were 14 beer trucks and 250 chickens, 250 balloon pilot chicken launchers and approximately another 500-700 ground crew chicken catchers. The event started innocently enough as we only attempted to copy a similar event witnessed by yours truly in San Antonio. The World Championship Chicken flying contest. It went over great and was fun to watch. The problem that we ran into in ABQ was that we had far more response than we expected. This caused a big problem in trying to find so many chickens. The only source we could find was a local egg farm. The farmer assured us that these would all be healthy chickens and suitable for the event. The next problem we encountered was that with so many pilots wanting to participate in both the Chicken Costume Contest ( dressing their chickens up ) and the actual flying event we faced a long time delay from the time we issued the chickens out to each pilot and the time we finally got them all launched in the flying contest. It was very hot on that fateful day and the chickens began to show a little fatigue, many of the pilots quenched their thirst on a cold beer and offered the same to their chickens which had the expected effect. In the end we were very lucky in that no media showed up, no sponsors were present and no public showed up. The entire crowd was just the balloonists and their crews. Despite all the stories to the contrary we only lost a very few chickens to that great coup in the sky with the bulk of the chickens donated to the Boys Ranch where lived out their natural lives and never saw the slaughter house that they would have seen had I not rescued them from the egg farm. The story of this event has evolved so many times to suit the teller that I always marvel to hear yet another version much the same way a joke gets distorted and changed as it goes around a room. The only ones who really know what happened that day were those that were there and as I remember it most everyone had a great time.

Dick Waggoner Oh yes, I remember that day. Our chicken had a special orange feather arrangement of some kind, and also a sequined necklace. If I remember right the contest was to see which chicken would fly the farthest, right? Well, some of the well oiled pilots and crew assisted the chickens take off with a hand launch that would make an Olympic shot putter proud. I am sure somewhere some body has pictures of the "Great Chicken Flying Contest" I'll look around in my archives. Soft Landings----

Best regards, Kim Hi guys! To some, Jacquis' recent post may not make any sense. To those of us that have flown there so many times, she said all that needs to be said! AMEN for "creativeness" in Gallup!!! whit landvater gardnerville (the perfect place to hold the Coupe de Gordon Bennett), Nevada Meantime, Skeeter said I would be remiss if I left out the rally in Gallup, New Mexico called the Multiple Movable 3D CNTE! So here's the details, as best remembered! There were two fellows named Harvey and Jeff back a few years ago (we don't remember the year). They were wearing aprons complete with Helium tanks, 20" pieces of string which were wrapped around a card and a washer was wrapped in the card -- all this was ultimately attached to the helium filled toy balloon, otherwise known to balloonists as a pi ball. They, Harvey and Jeff, were afoot and went about the Red Rocks releasing these helium filled, washer/card tied onto string balloons. They were instructed to do "balloon droppings" (since they were the "hares) to show the path the hares took -- so the hound balloons could find and follow them. Are you with me so far? (Whew!) Balloonists could pickup the floating pi balls as they flew among the Red Rocks. If a pilot landed close to Harvey or Jeff they could pick him up - give him a balloon ride -- Then he, the balloon & pilot, became the X (note here is the mobile movable 3D X). Then the pilot could land anywhere he/she wanted and set the helium guy (Harvey or Jeff) down - let him out of the basket and then they were no longer the (mobile, movable x) and Harvey or Jeff became the target again. -- however you could bribe Harvey or Jeff for as many washers as you could get! Skeeter took Harvey for a ride and landed him in one of the canyons, another balloonist picked Harvey up and landed him on top of one of the cliffs! Thank goodness, another balloon pilot landed picked him up and got him off! Creative cheating was encouraged - whether it was to move the target or to change who was the target. You could capture what was left -- When he (Harvey or Jeff) finally ran out of washers and or pi balls wherever he was -- he became the final X . The race was limited to 100 targets (pi balls) so there was some control over the outcome. You tried to get as many washers and cards or balloons (pi balls) as possible to win the prizes. Colleen actually collected 7 pi balls on her own. When she was in the propane line all these people came in bragging about collecting 3 or 4. She showed the 7 she had collected legit so, lots of other pilots and crew gave her theirs. She ultimately turned in 21 washers to win first prize! Fond Gallup memories! I remember the balloons and the washers, but not the movable guys -- that must have come after my time . . . Actually, as you know, I never took all that seriously anyway. The object of my game was to have fun flying among the beautiful Red Rocks and give rides to as many folks as we could. The one year I got serious, Sharon Tiano was the hare and headed off to the northeast into what looked to me like no man's land. I swallowed hard, told myself, I sure hope there's someplace to land over there, and followed. Then up a bit ahead of me, I saw Bill Dickey. Immediately restored my confidence. Bill, I knew, had flown the terrain extensively and I'd trust him with my life. Sure enough, we presently dropped over a ridge into this nice little valley with houses and a lovely little road. That night at the party, I ran into Bill and thanked him for restoring my confidence -- "I knew if I followed you, you wouldn't get me into trouble." His response was vintage Bill. "Hell, I didn't know where I was going. I've never been that direction in my life!" Gulp. He then continued, "You know what the name of that valley is." "No," I said. "It's Happy Valley. And you know why it's called Happy Valley." "No." "It's because you're so happy to see it!" Yeah, I was.

dave We were flying at a Fallon (Town a bit outside of Reno) fair. This was just after the cold war was over (actually it was just thawing a bit) and we all had special guests to fly, performers from the Moscow Circus. We were told they were a bit timid and unsure of themselves, being in America and all. When Hank introduced Sasha to all the balloonists, Sasha turned around and ran the long front zipper of Hank's flight suit up and down and said "Everything is bigger in America!). It was the first time i had ever seen Hank speechless. A bit later, as our passenger was getting into the basket, Koh started his usual "All the grace & beauty comes while we are flying, not while getting into the basket" speech when the passenger just barely touched the upright cross bar, ....floated.... into the basket with the grace and beauty of a gazelle and stood there. Koh just stopped mid sentence and said "never mind" and we all busted up laughing. This poor guy, who was one of the Flying Crane trapezes artists was looking horrified because we all started laughing at him. A quick explanation/translation cleared things up. Now, everybody is in the air, taking care not to fly too far out and get into the Fallon Naval Air Station (northern end of the Navy's Top Gun range) airspace when one of the Russians started talking (in Russian) over the aircraft radios to another Russian. Then they were all taking over the radio's all at once! We could just imagine what the Naval Air Station Tower guy was thinking hearing all this Russian language over the airwaves and all VERY CLOSE to his air base. When the flying was over & the partying started, the timid and shy Russians were teaching us all kinds of new ways to party and dance. When they all had to leave, their driver was making lots of long, crazy circles around all the various party groups and not really leaving. A bunch of us decided to do what we could for American/Russian relations and about thirty of us mooned the Russian car on it's last circle round! They headed off, taking a rather curious course to the gate, turned around and headed back to us. As they circled again, all the Russians in the car mooned us back! This was the start of a lot of fun parties and flights and friendships that all who were there cherish to this day. What a great sport!

Mike Cleaver
Canberra, Australia
Was going to send this privately till I was reminded of another good one we did a few years ago which, like the one you described at Gallup, involved collecting things and creative crewing - in this case the event was called trailer-tossing and the idea was for pilot and crew to work together to throw markers (baggies in US parlance) into balloon retrieve trailers. Pilots scored for getting markers into any trailer. Crew scored for markers thrown from a balloon basket into their trailer. Crew could return markers to pilots (not necessarily their own!) and re-cycle them, provided they had observers to witness them. Needless to say there was a lot of poaching of markers, and some bribing of pilots and observers. Lots of unofficial markers and some thrown from a balloon on the ground, as the trailer drove past. Became an annual event at the Barossa Balloon Regatta for a few years - one of the best fun events for smallish meets - between 8 and 20 balloons - held near Adelaide, South Australia in May and the longest-running balloon event in Australia having run 22 consecutive years so far. Seems to show the hallmarks - fun, pilot-crew co-operation, creative thinking and cheating - of a fun task.

Bill M. Possibly you have this one. It was several years ago at a Miss Nude Texas pageant. I did not go, but knew all the pilots that did. Each balloon flew a naked woman. All the pilots were men. You got points for things you did. If the pilot flew nude, he got points and so on. Yes, some of the pilots got a lot of points. TEXAS GIRL magazine printed the story with pictures. One pilot landed on I-10 with the nude woman in his basket. She had not brought her clothes and it was a traffic stopper.

Name withheld
by request!
These can only be used if you eliminate my name. And please understand that the following is a joke - these folks are not unkind to animals!
Poodle races--a Maine tradition. 1. Tie a poodle to the center of the X, then send all the balloons at least 10 yards away to launch. The first balloon to land on the poodle wins. 2. Poodle splash-n-dash. Every balloon gets a poodle tied to the bottom of the basket. The first balloon to do an extended (like a half-hour or more) splash-n-dash wins. 3. Poodle toss. Balloons are divided into teams, each assigned a poodle to toss between them at altitude. The first team to drop the poodle wins. 4. Poodle crown line Lemans. Every balloon has a poodle attached by choke chain to the crown line. First balloon to launch wins.

-- Pete The Irish Championships are still an exceedingly fun week every year. A couple of years ago we tried an event which allocated balloons in pairs, one tasked to land as close as possible to the second which had to try to land as far as possible from the first! We never did manage to sort out how to actually score it after the flight but it seemed a good idea through the Guinness fog in which it was dreamed up. (Offerings on a suitable scoring method received gratefully so that we could try it again...) Leaf picking has been around in recent years but with the venues used there has not been much opportunity to collect frogs while flying across bogs.

Sheelagh Taylor
SKY2HY@AOL.COM
I live in Danville, Illinois. We have holding the Oldsmobile Balloon Classic for 11 years. We held the first ever Dawn Patrol and also the Night Riders competition for 2 years. For the NightRiders, you had to go at least a mile out from the airport (where the event is held) and do a fly in at about 10:00 at night. I haven't crewed for a Nightriders, but did crew for Amo Judd and "Mr. Peanut" for a Dawn Patrol (lift off 3:30 am) and he had an electrical short in his chase commander and we the crew assembled the balloon in the dark...
This was our very first introduction to Amo and Mr. Peanut. I think I would be safe in saying that Amo was not happy.
Also to officially start the event ( though I am not sure if it comes under "unusual") we hold a "Splash and Dash" event at one of our local boat clubs. About 15 pilots participate (usually corporate or special shapes) and after dinner, (which includes in some cases large quantities of alcohol for the spectators) the pilots are taken up on stage one at a time, paraded like Miss America, a little bio is read, and they are auctioned off. The target is an X on a boat in the middle of the lake. The catch is, that the lake sits in a basin, so you have to launch then descend to the lake area, AND not get stranded in one of the coves. One year, a balloon was stranded in one of these coves.....and basically just sat there until someone in a boat took pity on him and towed him out into the open.....and then of course he was disqualified for getting help....if I remember he almost landed on the boat that held the X. After dropping your baggy, you then have to climb out of this "basin" to find a landing spot. It draws a large crowd, people get to mingle with the pilots....and usually the weather does not co-operate. Great event!!!!!!!!
This will be our 12th year, and STILL NO RED ZONES. And I almost forgot. In 1994, we had the largest display of Charlie Market balloons ever assembled....

Stanislav Fuodoroff
vozduh@com2com.ru
In Memorial of Alexey Pavloff (Russia) (Alex Pavloff is very famous pilot in Russia, but one day he tried to be a driver for his friend and search for friend's balloon in Leningrad for 9 hours)
All balloons starts frome one place in one time. After the start of balloons their supporting cars (chase vehikles?) go in absolutely opposite direction. Wining team is a team that have a maxium distance between the point of landing of balloon, that used three gas tanks, and a supporting car, that used 40 litres of petrol.
Sorry for bad English
Soft Landings Stanislav Fuodorov > >

Do you have another
one ??? Please let me have it!

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