Durkin’s good fortune wraps up race weekend

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 17, 1999

Balloon race Crew Coordinator Sally Durkin may one day be flying with the same balloon pilots she has worked so hard to help. The longtime race volunteer bought her own balloon Sunday in hopes of finishing her pilot training.

&uot;I had no anticipating of buying a balloon this weekend,&uot; Durkin said. &uot;It kind of fell in my lap.&uot;

Sunday marked the last day of the 14th annual Great Mississippi River Balloon Race. More than 70 balloonists took part in the 7 a.m. flight Sunday, which included two targets. The 4:30 p.m. flight was canceled due to windy conditions.

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Durkin said she was pleased with the outcome of this year’s balloon race. &uot;We had a super, super weekend,&uot; she said. &uot;Everything was perfect.&uot;

Through all the weekend events, Durkin was working behind the scenes.

She has been the crew coordinator for three years, the assistant coordinator for two years and a crew member for seven years.

But she has long dreamed of becoming a pilot herself. &uot;The flying itself is unbelievable. &uot;It’s very peaceful and it’s beautiful,&uot; Durkin said.

She has already completed four of the 10 hours of flight time needed to get her license.

It has been difficult to build up her hours without owning her own balloon, Durkin said.

She bought her balloon from Terrance Colgate, a pilot in this weekend’s race. Colgate has offered to help her complete her pilot training. Eventually she will have to take a pilot test but she thinks she is prepared for it.

&uot;I’ve already read the manual three times and I’ve had the manual for two years,&uot; she said.