April 30, 2016 Louisville, KY. – Balloonists and sponsors were honored at today’s U.S. Bank Great BalloonFest Awards Luncheon, which wrapped up three days of ballooning events on the Kentucky Derby Festival’s schedule.
This morning’s U.S. Bank Great Balloon Race – the last of five ballooning events – was cancelled due to potential rain and unfavorable wind conditions. This is the eighth time in the event’s 44-year-history that the Saturday race has been cancelled. The front runner from Friday’s U.S. Bank Great Balloon Rush Hour Race was declared the winner of this year’s BalloonFest – the Harbor House balloon, piloted by Tom Steinbock – and won a free entry for the 2017 U.S. Bank Great BalloonFest.
PLACE BALLOON PILOT DISTANCE
FIRST Harbor House of Louisville Tom Steinbock 6 feet, 4 inches
SECOND Jasper Engines and Transmissions Sean Askren 31 feet, 2 inches
THIRD Curves Chase Donner 36 feet, 9 inches
FOURTH Kosair Children’s Hospital Brian Beazly 44 feet, 8 inches
FIFTH IMTS Patrick Fogue 66 feet, 11 inches
Each year pilots are honored for their years of consecutive participation in the Festival’s balloon events. Pilot Scott McClinton was honored for his participation in the Festival’s balloon events for 25 straight years. Pilot Ray Donner received a 20-year participation award.
In addition, the balloon sponsors were also honored for their consecutive years of participation. Norton Healthcare and Sunnyside of Louisville were honored for 30 years of participation in the annual Balloonest. Bee Line Courier Service, Ford UAW Assembly Plant, Ford UAW Truck Plant received 20-year awards, and Central American Airways was honored for 15 years of participation.
Also at today’s luncheon, the House of Ruth, was presented a $1,000 check from the Kentucky Derby Festival’s Foundation. The donation was part of the new U.S. Bank Derby Festival Great Balloon Charity Race.
Last night, upwards of 80,000 balloon fans filled the balloon field at the Kentucky Exposition Center for the U.S. Bank Great Balloon Glow. Hundreds also attended yesterday morning’s U.S. Bank Great Balloon Rush Hour Race at Bowman Field. The U.S. Bank Great Balloon Glimmer on Thursday night was also a hit.
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.
The Kentucky Derby Festival Great BalloonFest is sponsored by U.S. Bank with Contributing Sponsors Mortenson Family Dental and Publishers Press. 99.7 DJX is Media Sponsor of the Rush Hour Race and Great Balloon Race. Q103.1 is Media Sponsor of the Great Balloon Glow. WLKY TV is the TV broadcast partner for the Glow.