Hot Air Balloon Glow Brightens the Sioux Falls Sky
There was a Hot Air Balloon Race this past weekend in Sioux Falls. However, the darn weather screwed some things up. It was raining Saturday morning and then it was too windy Saturday afternoon.
My friend Sam's family is very involved in the hot air balloon community here in Sioux Falls and she gave me the 411 on everything hot air balloon this weekend.
I didn't really know how a hot air balloon race works so she wrote a brief description for me because she could explain it better than I could:
There are many different forms of hot air balloon races, but the most common type we do here in Sioux Falls is called the Hound and the Hare. Someone is designated as the hare, their job is to take off first, and find a good landing spot (or two if wanted, they take off from the first and find a second) and at both landing spots the ground crew puts a giant orange x on the ground. The other pilots have to wait to start inflating until the hare balloon is off the ground, then they can start inflation and take off when ready (with approval from a ref for safety) their goal is to fly as close to the same wind pattern as the first pilot, or if winds have changed, find a new wind pattern to get them as close to the x as possible. Once they get to the x they have to stay above the ground, but their goal is to drop a small sand bag onto the x as close to the center as possible. The bags are then measured in distance from the center of the x and the winner for that "event" is determined by who is the closest to the center. This is how the race was done Friday night. Saturday we didn't fly. Sunday morning the x was predetermined to be at Kenny Anderson field, which meant the pilots had to listen to the weather mans information and decide on a launch spot that would best allow them to get to Kenny Anderson field. There is a minimum distance so you cannot just go right across the street or anything. Then the hare pilot took off from Kenny Anderson park and put out a second x when he landed, so once the pilots got to the first x they headed to the second one, the hare pilot them landed a third time for a third x and the pilots continued on to that x after! Scoring is the same from the center of the x.
As Sam stated and I mentioned, Saturday the weather didn't cooperate, but that didn't mean the pilots didn't put on a great show! They did what is called a glow at dusk. The balloons inflate and all light their balloons at the same time! It's so pretty! And loud! And warm! I mean it is real fire after all.
Check out some pictures of this weekend's activities.