April 30, 2022. Louisville, KY.  – With sunny and beautiful conditions, 11 balloons lifted off from Bowman Field this morning in the Great Balloon Race. The race got underway just after 7 AM, as light winds took the balloons north toward River Road.

The 11 “Hound” balloons took off from Bowman Field in “chase” of the “Hare” – the Kroger balloon, piloted by Scott McClinton. McClinton flew for about 30 minutes before landing at the old Louisville Country Club property off River Road. 8 of 11 pilots made a measurable toss of their bag of Kentucky bluegrass seed near the target, a giant vinyl “X.”

The winner of this year’s Great Balloon Race is the Mirazon balloon, piloted by Jerry Copas. He came within 1 ff, 7” of the target and won a free entry for the 2023 Great BalloonFest.


PLACE                        BALLOON                                                                       PILOT                                    DISTANCE

FIRST                  Mirazon                                                                                 Jerry Copas                          1 ft 7 inches

SECOND             Go SoIN                                                                                 Dan Hoehler                        4 ft 5 inches

THIRD                SULLAIR                                                                               Shawn Raya                         5 ft 4 inches

FOURTH            Kentucky Kingdom                                                              Charlie Hurst                       6 ft

FIFTH                 Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport          Bill Smith                              7 ft, 3 inches


Last night, balloon fans filled the Waterfront at Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville for the Great Balloon Glow.

Since the first Great Balloon Race was held in 1973, the Derby Festival’s balloon events have been considered among the best in the country by pilots from all around the world. BalloonFest attractions are annually among the most popular family-friendly events on the Derby Festival schedule.

Contributing Sponsors: Breeze Airlines, Kentucky Kingdom, Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport and PNC Broadway in Louisville. Media Sponsor: MIX 106.9.

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