Uplifting Day: Informal Balloon Rally Sends Spirits Soaring
By Ashley Meeks
While the yearly 80-balloon Mesilla Valley Balloon Rally in New Mexico was canceled for 2009 due to propane and gas prices, 16 balloons were set off on Jan. 17 as part of an informal fly-in. "Every time you see balloons go up, it's exhilarating," said Las Cruces resident Julie Kornhoff, who crews with fellow resident Jeff Shaw, pilot of the Sunrise Drifter. In addition to members of the Valley's ballooning community, amateur balloonists from Albuquerque and other locations, including crew member Reggie Larkin--who came from Pagosa Springs, Colo.--took part. "Any time a balloonist gets to fly, it's a good time," stated Larkin, one of 20 crew members for Southern Angel, which was piloted by Orbin Stone. The balloonists were scheduled to return on Jan. 18 and 19, barring any increases in wind speed. "In New Mexico, [ballooning is] our sport," Larkin added.
January 18, 2009