‘Nothing like’ Natchez balloon race: Rohr wins top award Sunday

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 31, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; Brian Rohr really doesn’t know life any other way.

He was raised in the world of ballooning, even taking his first balloon ride at just two months old and had a little basket attacked to his stroller. He was raised in a family of those who spent plenty of time in the air, and he just continues with the family tradition.

But on Sunday he took it to another level. His beanbag hit the second target dead on to claim the top prize on the final day of the Great Mississippi River Balloon Race.

Email newsletter signup

&uot;Right on the head,&uot; said Rohr, 28 and a resident of McKinney, Texas. &uot;I dropped it straight on the center. This was my first competition with this (balloon). I think I’m going to keep it.&uot;

Rohr’s beanbag hit dead center of the giant X at the second target at the old Fruit of the Loom plant across the river in Vidalia. His first toss was nearly as close, landing just slightly over a half of a meter away from the center of the target.

Richard Saban was second place, and Mike Hanson and Hulan White tied for third.

&uot;It was a beautiful morning, and you could go anywhere you wanted to go,&uot; said Rohr, whose throw in Saturday’s barge drop on the river landed about five away into the water.

The competition Sunday morning marked the end for the pilots, some of whom stayed for Sunday afternoon’s Hare and Hound competition.

Stephen Guido of Natchez, also serving as the chairman of sponsor development for the race, won the barge drop competition Saturday as the only pilot whose beanbag didn’t land in the water.

&uot;This was my fourth time coming in a row,&uot; said Rohr, who had two third-place finishes to his credit before finally winning first. &uot;I think I’ll be back next year. This one and another one I’ll be at as long as they accept me. There’s nothing like this one, but maybe close.&uot;

In the evening Hare and Hound competition, Karen Kent won first place after dropping her beanbag closest to the target at the Natchez Mall.

Cindy Joseph, a Vidalia native and Baton Rouge resident, came in second, while Wynn Gustafson finished third.

Don Cavin served as the hare in the event, taking off first and establishing a target for the 10 contestants to find and drop the beanbag. The event paid $1,000 divided among the top three winners.