4/27/19 – Winner Declared in 2019 BB&T Great Balloon Race


April 27, 2019. Louisville, KY. – With near perfect weather conditions, 25 balloons lifted off from Bowman Field this morning in the BB&T Great Balloon Race. The race got underway just after 7 AM, as light wind took the balloons east toward Shelbyville Road. The event was the last of four ballooning events in the 2019 BB&T Kentucky Derby Festival Great BalloonFest.

“The conditions for this morning’s race were as close to perfect as you could get,” said George Troutman, Balloonmeister for the Kentucky Derby Festival’s balloon events.

The 24 “Hound” balloons took off from Bowman Field in “chase” of the “Hare” – the BB&T Bank balloon, piloted by Scott McClinton. McClinton flew for about 50 minutes before landing at UofL’s Shelby Campus. 22 of 24 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 BB&T Great Balloon Race and BalloonFest is the SULLAIR balloon, piloted by Shawn Raya. He came within 5” of the target and won a free entry for the 2020 BB&T Great BalloonFest.

FIRST  – SULLAIR Shawn Raya – 5 inches
SECOND –  Berry Delightful (Strawberry) Michael Montgomery – 11.5 inches
THIRD  – IMTS Patrick Fogue – 14 inches
FOURTH  – Zaxby’s Bill Smith  – 5 ft, 10 inches
FIFTH  – Mortenson Family Dental David Troutman  – 8 ft, ½ inches

At today’s Awards Luncheon, pilots were honored for their years of consecutive participation in the Festival’s balloon events. Pilot Peyton Hogue was honored for his participation for 20 straight years. In addition, the balloon sponsors were also honored for their consecutive years of participation. Mortenson Family Dental was honored for 15 years of participation and Kroger received a 10-year award.

Last night, a huge crowd filled the balloon field at the Kentucky Exposition Center for the BB&T Great Balloon Glow. Friday morning’s BB&T Great Balloon Rush Hour Race and the BB&T Great Balloon Glimmer on Thursday night were both cancelled due to inclement weather.

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 BB&T with Contributing Sponsor Amazon. Official Charity Partner is Kosair Charities. Q103.1 is the Media Sponsor of the Balloon Glimmer. 102.3 Jack FM is Media Sponsor of the Rush Hour Race and Great Balloon Race. 106.9 PLAY is Media Sponsor of the Great Balloon Glow. WLKY TV is the TV broadcast partner for the Glow.