The 29th Annual Great Reno Balloon Race brought large crowds, new pilots and balloons, special shapes, perfect weather and lots of fun. Organizers estimate more than 150,000 spectators attended the three-day event, with Saturday’s attendance one of the largest in event history, thanks in part to great weather and a special tribute to Sept. 11, 2001.
“Our skilled pilots, generous sponsors and dedicated volunteers all contributed to a weekend that was nothing short of spectacular,” Pilar Aldecoaotalora, Balloon Race board president said. “We are thankful for another safe year of flight and free family fun and can’t wait to see everyone out for our 30th Anniversary next year.”
The top 10 winners of this year’s on- and off-field competitions are:
- First-place winner:Allen Anderson, of Minden, Nev., flew for the Kersey Family.
- Second-place winner: Justin Kinsinger, of San Francisco, Calif., flew for Mesh Creative.
- Third-place winner:Patrick Nilz, of Tuscon, Ariz., flew for the Balloon Race.
- Fourth-place winner: Don Boyer, of Belen, N.M., flew for Wells Fargo, the event’s title sponsor.
- Fifth-place winner: Michael Glen, the “Rolling Pilot,” of Maricopa, Ariz. Flew for the City of Reno Access Advisory Committee.
- Sixth-place winner:Aaron Dieringer, of Reno, Nev., flew for RE/Max.
- Seventh-place winner: Bill Glen, of Roswell, N.M., flew for University of Phoenix. Bill, father of Michael Glen, likes to keep ballooning and winning in the family.
- Eighth-place winner:Patrick Irwin, of Lovelock, Nev., flew for Barefoot Bubbly, the official champagne sponsor of The Great Reno Balloon Race.
- Ninth-place winner:Robert Raper, of Miles City, Mont., flew for Great Basin Internet Services, who provides a Wi-Fi connection at Rancho San Rafael during the event.
- Tenth-place winner:David Lynch, of Temecula, Calif., flew for the Balloon Race.
Thanks to the continued support of generous sponsors, The Great Reno Balloon Race continues as a free event for its 29th year. This year’s major sponsors include: Wells Fargo Bank, Wilbur D. May Foundation, Silver Legacy Resort Casino, Peppermill Hotel Casino, Harrah’s Reno, City of Reno, Jack in the Box, Great Basin Internet Services, News Talk 780 KOH, Bonanza Casino, Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority. With a special thanks to our Founding Sponsors: Circus Circus, IGT, Sands Regency Casino Hotel, Muckel Anderson CPAs and the University of Nevada, Reno.