|Paper||Ogden Valley News|
|Rights||In Copyright (InC)|
|Rights Holder||SR Communications DBA, Eden, Utah|
|Publisher||Digitized by J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah|
|Paper||Ogden Valley News|
Volume I , Issue XI Page 7 The OGDEN VALLEY NEWS August 1999 Traditions in Ogden Valley Ballooning By Wendy Hill Last month you learned about the beginnings of Hot Air Ballooning. What a wonderful sport the Montgolfier brothers brought to us, and what a worldwide tradition it has become since that first flight in 1783. Men and women alike have set their hearts on this adventurous sport, bringing old and new traditions together. The Balloon Event Tradition Back in January of 1962 Don Piccard organized a hot air balloon race, held at the St. Paul Winter Carnival in Minnesota. The event awarded first, second, and third place trophy’s to Tracy Barnes who later went on to develop “The Balloon Works,” Ed Yost, who also developed a hot air balloon, and Don Piccard who started Don Piccard Balloons. Don Piccard loved the sport of ballooning and wanted to share it with the world, as well as legitimize the sport. He knew a race was the way to do it! Since 1962 hot air balloon events have been held all around the U.S. and the world, introducing spectators to this “gentle giant” called a balloon! Events will host anywhere from a couple of dozen balloons, to hundreds! A balloon event is open to anyone with a will to rise before dawn, and a desire for some relaxing and joyful moments with friends and family! The Competition Tradition When Don Piccard organized the first ever balloon race, his goal was to introduce others to the sport. As we can witness today, he certainly accomplished his goal! The tradition of competition has carried on and developed further over the years. Many types of competition now exist. The “CNTE” or Convergent Navigational Target Event requires pilots to fly their balloon to a marked “X” and drop a bean bag (baggie) with their name on it as close to the center of the “X” as possible. The “Hare and Hound” competition has a hare balloon launch and fly to a safe landing spot. The hare then lays out an “X” for the target and the other balloons must try to get to the marked point and drop their baggie to the target. At some balloon races a “Key Grab” is the task where keys for new cars are placed upon 30-foot poles. Pilots are required to launch from at least one mile away from the pole and then navigate their flight to the pole and obtain the keys to a new car! “Fly In, Fly On” is another competition that is similar to the CNTE task, but in this case, two targets are used. For instance, at a lake event the pilot might be required to fly over the lake and descend down to a designated boat and hand off a baton to the captain of the boat, as well as drop a marker on a target on dry land, or in the water. Competitions are as creative as one wants to be! At these competitions pilots are awarded money, trophies, plaques, or other types of gifts, such as a new car! This keeps the flying challenging for the pilot, and interesting for the spectators. In the Balloon Federation of America (BFA), pilots attend competition events monthly for serious points that may allow them into the National Hot Air Balloon Championships held yearly. The winners in the Nationals then go on to the World Championships. Pilots use aviation maps and compasses to chart which direction the winds are blowing and where they must launch from to make it to their target. The BFA has established strict rules for competition flying under BFA sanctioned flying events, adding to the challenge of concise flying! The BFA events are very demanding and take a great deal of commitment in both time and money from the pilots and crew. Outside of organized competition, man has competed with himself for distance records, both in a local sense, and around the world, literally! Over the last 20 years many pilots have attempted the great adventure to circumnavigate Mother Earth. This is truly a tradition in ballooning! The Pin Tradition Where balloon pins originally got their start is a bit of a mystery. The tradition of pin collecting may have originated with military flight pins years ago. And because many pilots are people who are naturally drawn to flight, aircraft pilots are drawn to ballooning as well. It is assumed that the pilots carried on their love of pin collecting in the sport of ballooning, making bright and colorful pins to share with other pilots and friends. The pin collecting and trading, once popular only among military pilots, has now saturated the balloon world. A pilot will usually have pins made up to emulate his or her balloon. Because of their love of the sport they want to share it, and giving a passenger their pin after a flight in commemoration of the flight shared, is tradition. Trading pins with others is also a tradition. Pins are typically made of cloisonné, baked enamel and epoxy. Pin designers and manufacturers operate in the U.S., but most pins are made in Japan, China, or Taiwan. The tradition of ornate and decorative pins, started by the Greeks, dates back to 1300 BC, and with the Chinese as far back as the 14th Century. Today commemorative pins are made up for special events, such as the Harvest Moon Balloon Fest™. The Champagne Tradition In the early years of flight man was not used to seeing objects in the air that he could not identify. Legend has it that on an early morning flight one day a Frenchman landed in a farmer’s field and the farmer, thinking it was an alien, came after the balloon with a pitch fork and shredded the balloon into a million pieces! The French then decided that they would carry champagne when flying to wave at the farmer, thus proving that he was not an alien! Once the pilot had landed safely, he would offer champagne to the landowner and share in a toast to safe landings and friendship, a tradition still practiced today. The Balloonist Prayer Tradition Once the Irish became aware that the French were enjoying a sport that allowed them to drink champagne in the morning, they wanted to get involved! As the Irish are famous for their poetic prayers they also wanted to contribute something that would become a tradition, thus they wrote the Balloonist Prayer that is recited at the safe conclusion of all balloon flights to this day. It goes like this..... The winds have welcomed you with softness. The sun has blessed you with her warm hands. You have flown so high, and so well That God has joined you in your laughter, And brought you gently back into the loving arms of Mother Earth. Many other traditions have been created in ballooning over the years. If I told you all of them I might spoil the surprises that lie ahead in your adventures in ballooning! One tradition that is certain is the comradery among the participants. Young and old, from every walk of life, ballooning seems to be an international peace event among all of us! To wake in the early morning hours and witness this massive, yet gentle sphere of color setting sail above the tree tops freely reaching for the sky, is one of the most peaceful sights I know. This year is the 5th Anniversary of the Harvest Moon Balloon Fest™ in Ogden Valley, a relatively young tradition in our neighborhood. This year promises to be a most spectacular event carrying on past traditions and beginning new ones. Remember, balloons launch early in the morning due to preferable weather conditions. So set your alarm for “O Dark Thirty” and come join us August 27, 28 and 29 at the Eden Park for a sight you won’t soon forget! FRIDAY EVENING NAVAJO TACOS $5.00 PER PERSON SAT & SUN MORNING SOUR DOUGH PANCAKES W / HASH BROWNS & HAM, DRINK $4.00 PER PERSON SATURDAY EVENING BBQ PORK $5.00 PER PERSON ALL DINNERS INCLUDE CORN COB, WATERMELON & DRINK FOOD & DRINK TO BE SERVED OUT OF THE NEW BOWERY!