Former national champion wins race

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 17, 1999

After two days of competition a former national champion was declared the winner of this weekend’s Great Mississippi River Balloon Race.

Pontiac pilot Phil Glebe scored 4,337.2 points, beating the other 71 competitors. He was sponsored by East Automotive.

&uot;We are just really happy to have that quality of pilot come to our race here,&uot;&160;said Event Director Bill Cunningham.

Email newsletter signup

This year’s balloon race required the pilots to take part in two balloon flights and toss beanbags onto five targets.

The number of targets in the race depends on weather conditions, Cunningham said.

Pilots tried to hit three targets in the Saturday morning flight and two targets in the Sunday morning flight.

&uot;We always try to get two, shoot for three and sometimes only have one,&uot; Cunningham said.

Second place went to Kinnie Gibson, who accrued 3,917.3 points flying the Curves for Women balloon.

Steve Lombardi of Concordia Bank & Trust, Alan Muir of Lady Luck Casino and James Birk, also of Lady Luck, won third, fourth and fifth places.

The strategy involved with hitting the targets varies with each flight, Cunningham said.

&uot;The conditions were tough this (Sunday) morning,&uot; Cunningham said.

And the amount of competition and weather conditions all play a factor in determining what is a good throw, he added.

The distance each beanbag lands from the target is converted into points.

The Saturday afternoon barge-drop is not included in race results.

&uot;It’s a show for the crowd,&uot; Cunningham said.

Pilot Steve Jones of the Budweiser balloon said he was pleased with this weekend’s race.

&uot;(We) couldn’t have asked for a prettier weekend,&uot;&160;Jones said. &uot;If you wanted to see balloons, you had plenty of chances to see them.&uot;