Ballooning – It’s a Family Affair

I attended the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta this year which has grown greatly from it’s beginnings of only 13 balloons  in 1972 to now over 500 balloons from across the globe.  With so many balloons from so many places what were the odds of my finding two balloons and pilots that I had something in common with?  As I was looking through the balloon fiesta app (there truly is an app for everything) at the names of the balloons, their pilots and where they came from, I was happily surprised to see one listed as being from my home state of Missouri.  It was beyond a done deal to find him and speak with him especially after I was informed that he was from St. Louis, Missouri where I was born!

Scott Wooge is the pilot for the balloon Lindy “An ambassador of ballooning around the world that doesn’t say much but thinks ballooning is cool!”  Once I introduced myself to Scott we had a few laughs about how many other pilots I had to speak with before one called him on his cell phone and was then able to tell me exactly where he was on the launch field.  I learned a few ballooning facts from Scott such as the cost of a new balloon can be around $25,000 (used maybe around $8,000) and that it runs in his family.  His daughter, Kimberly Magee, was also at the fiesta in her balloon Gordo.  Did I happen to mention that each and every balloon has a name?  They do!  I had a great time hanging out with Scott and he even invited me to climb into the basket with him and let me fire up the burner once as it was sitting on the ground for the nights Special Shapes Glowdeo.  A night glow is where all of the participating balloons are inflated but do not fly; their burners are fired to make them glow in the night.  It is an absolutely amazing sight to see.

I was a bit taken aback though when he told me that my weight was appreciated in the basket.  Come again???  Laughing he said “I bet you’ve never been told that before!”  The explanation was that any weight they can use to hold the balloon in place is welcomed.  Balloonist humor…

lindy2821-edit-copy lindyandfriends3753-edit-copy lindyglow3001-edit-copy scottme-copy

The next day I went searching for his daughter and her balloon.  And by search I mean we are talking about hundreds and hundreds of balloons across an 80 acre field that was often very crowded with not only the balloons but also with their crews and vehicles and all of the visitors to the event.  Thank goodness again for that balloon fiesta app!  It took some walking to get from the row I started in to Gordo and Kimberly’s row but I made it.  Kimberly and I did the classic St. Louis greeting of what high school did you go to and had a good chuckle from that.  She not only pilots a hot air balloon but also designs them.  She has been hooked on flying since she was a little girl and first flew in one with her aunt.  Seems ballooning and the love of it runs deep in their family.  Pretty awesome I’d say.

This year the balloon fiesta hosted a new event,  the first U.S. Women’s National Championship.  Kimberly came in fourth place!  Way to go!


gordo3252-edit-copy kimgordo3259-edit-copy gordo-copy


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  1. #1 by rubyr8 on October 15, 2016 - 4:35 pm

    Very cool balloon with cool shades 🙂 .

  2. #4 by milfordstreet on October 15, 2016 - 6:30 pm

    Sounds like a lot of fun. That festival is huge!

    • #5 by imagesbytdashfield on October 15, 2016 - 10:49 pm

      The entire thing takes up 360 acres with parking, stands, etc. It is HUGE!

  3. #6 by Timothy Price on October 15, 2016 - 7:50 pm

    Those are some of the classic balloons that com out every year! Great shots. We crewed for Carol Rhymer-Davis for years. My sister still crews for her son and daughter, but I’m not sure if John is still flying. It’s always been a family adventure for them.

    • #7 by imagesbytdashfield on October 15, 2016 - 10:50 pm

      Thanks! What balloons did/do they fly? Wonder if I saw them. It was so cool to have a “connection” of sorts for me.

      • #8 by Timothy Price on October 15, 2016 - 11:00 pm

        I don’t know what the kids fly. Back when I was helping, Coral flew Raggedy Ann, a patchwork balloon. You can probably look it up. Coral and Richard Abbruzzo where killed competing in the Gordon Bennett Gas Balloon Race in 2010.

      • #9 by imagesbytdashfield on October 15, 2016 - 11:07 pm

        I bet that balloon was cool looking and yeah I looked it up. Sorry about them being killed.

      • #10 by Timothy Price on October 15, 2016 - 11:09 pm

        It was tragic. Almost all the Abbruzzo family have died in balloon and air-plane crashes over the years.

  4. #11 by etomczyk on October 16, 2016 - 7:50 pm

    Great pics Teri. These looked like so much fun. I’ve done a couple balloon rides, but the last one had to crash land, and that did it for me. I’ll stay on the ground from now on.

    • #12 by imagesbytdashfield on October 16, 2016 - 8:46 pm

      Thanks. I’ve done two now and while the first was a bit of a rough landing the second was perfect!

  5. #13 by Tuxedo Sophisticated Cat on October 17, 2016 - 10:30 am

    I’ve always wanted to go to the balloon festival in Albuquerque. It’s on my bucket list. I’ve enjoyed your photos of it..

    • #14 by imagesbytdashfield on October 17, 2016 - 11:18 am

      Go! Just decide to do it and go! It’s amazing and I’ve got so much more of it to share 🙂

  6. #15 by Nancy on October 21, 2016 - 9:16 am

    I am sooooo happy you got to experience this!

    • #16 by imagesbytdashfield on October 21, 2016 - 11:10 am

      Thanks and let me tell you, balloonists have a wild sense of humor!

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