We couldn't have Carolina BalloonFest without our amazing pilots, that is for certain! Amazing describes them well....an interesting group of folks, that is for sure. Let me tell you about a few of them.
You know this is the 40th anniversary of Carolina BalloonFest (or "the balloon rally" to you long timers), right? Well, pilot Don Cline has graced our county for every single one of those festivals. Don hails from the Statesville area, but now lives in Greensboro, and he and his wife Jo have done much for the ballooning community in NC. You'll notice Don's balloon at the front of our BalloonFest logo this year. Make sure you get a picture of his balloon as he flies at this year's festival...and if you get a chance say "thank you" to the Clines for being such faithful friends and supporters to our community and to ballooning.
There are a lot of family connections in this crop of pilots. The Donner brothers will be here, Nick from Louisville, KY and Chase from Atlanta, GA. The brothers are great competitive pilots and have each been US National champions and also competitive on the world scene. Nick has been World Champion. And they're young 'uns! What are they going to do next? Keep an eye out for them in their racer balloons (the skinny ones), especially if there is a target around!
Then there are the Egertons. Buck and his wife Louise, from Asheville, are both pilots that will be flying here this weekend. Their son Drew (who now works for one of our sponsors Doosan), married his crew chief Allie Klinger Egerton, who is the daughter of Marc and Ursula Klinger of Troutman, also pilots. Marc will be flying at BalloonFest with Ursula as his chase crew chief. A lot of flying going on in that family! Drew is another one to watch when the competitions start. He'll give the Donners a run for their money. We're happy we can now call him a local!
Another local that makes us darn proud is Marsha Treacy. Marsha has been ballooning for quite a while (even at her young age) and was even chosen to represent ballooning in the Smithsonian book Women and Flight. She has flown balloons all over the world, at the Super Bowl, and piloted the balloon created for the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz. Her balloon will carry the banner for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, our beneficiary for this year's festival.
From the Cool Spring community we have Charles Page and his wife Kristie Darling. The Pages chaired Carolina BalloonFest for several years and so are familiar faces to those who have attended past events. Kristie has acted as the officiant of quite a few weddings, both on land and in the air.
So many pilots, so many stories. More will be coming!
On The Breeze ~
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