This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
march 17-18 2012
2 • 2012 St. Patrick’s Day Balloon Rallye • Valencia County News-Bulletin • March 14, 2012
2010 St. Patrick’s Day Balloon Rallye
Pilots and Balloons
David Aley, Dreaming of Color, Albuquerque
Rod Baca, Cruise Control, Los Lunas
Scott Collins, Old Yeller, Albuquerque
Murray Conray, Smokey Bear, Albuquerque
Grant and Peaches Crawford, Jr., Los Lunas
Peter Cuneo, Sandia Sunrise, Albuquerque
Trudy Ann DeGraff, Cutie Dink, Corrales
Denise Despres, Booboulina, Ceder Crest
Don Boyer, AirRagous, Belen
Don Edwards, Paddy, Albuquerque
Dennis Eker, Squawk, Los Ranchos
Scott Esposito, Big Blue, Albuquerque
Ken “Fergie” Ferguson, Itsa Touchie Subject,
Barbara Fricke, Sandia Sunrise, Albuquerque
Mike Garcia, Smokey Bear, Albuquerque
Tom Gardner, Ajuua Dreamer, Albuquerque
Gerry Graff, Lofty, Albuquerque
Charles Humiston, Good As Any, Albuquerque
Mark Heideman, Viking Magic, Albuquerque
Richard Hueschen, Toots, Ceder Crest
Michael Korfe, Bumpy, Albuquerque
Fred Lete, Splash, Rio Rancho
Albert Lowenstein, Sunset Rise, Albuquerque
Robert and Sally Lupton, Lady Jester, Albuquerque
William Manus, Shadow Dancer, Albuquerque
Don Martindell, Dawn Song II, Albuquerque
Fredric “Phred” McAllister, Silver Hatter, Santa Fe
Nick Meleski, Skyleidoscope, Albuquerque
Randy Myklebust, Lindstrand, Rio Rancho
Judith Nakamura, Bounce, Albuquerque
Clarke O’Byrne, Viento Encantado, Albuquerque
Ken Paulk, Angel in DZ Skies, Albuquerque
Lichele Pete, Airragous, Albuquerque
Lori Pitman, Black Magic Woman, Albuquerque
Roger K. Hoppe, Volcanic Motion, Albuquerque
Ron Sanchez, REMAX, Albuquerque
Chuck Schick, Brilliant Shadow, Peralta
L. Jane Schill, Whispering Spirit, Albuquerque
Tom Schroeder, Pirates Treasure, Albuquerque
Mary Ann Slagle-Poteet, Magic Toy, Wolforth, Texas
Bernard Smatana, Halo, El Paso
Orbin Stone, Blue Southern Angel, Las Cruces
Alan Wynn, Smokey Bear, Albuquerque
CRAIG INDEPENDENT TIRE
3593 HWY 47 PERALTA, NM • 866-1275
19236 HWY 314 BELEN, NM • 864-4464
BRAKES • SHOCKS • STRUTS • ALIGNMENT
MI CHEL I N
Proudly sold at
CRAIG INDEPENDENT TIRE
HOURS OF OPERATION
M-F 8AM TO 6PM
SAT 8AM TO 4PM
Our word and a handshake is what our customers
have come to depend on over the last 28 years
That’s a Family Tradition that will never change!!
Buy • Sell • Trade
Antiques • Collectibles
9am-6pm Mon-Sat • Closed Sunday
1300 S. Main St, Belen, NM 87002
Lillian & Johnny
By Brent ruffner
News-Bulletin Staff Writer
Grant Crawford wants to build on a tradition.
Crawford, an organizer for this year’s St. Patrick’s
Day Balloon Rallye, is calling for the community’s
help to make the event bigger and better.
This year’s event will be held at Belen’s Eagle
Park on St. Patrick’s Day, Saturday, March 17, and
Sunday, March 18.
The rally will feature about 35 regular hot air bal-
loons along with six special shaped balloons. The
special shapes include Smokey Bear, Shamrock
Patty and Bumpy, a yellow balloon complete with a
face, arms and legs.
Crew sign-up begins at 6:30 a.m. and the balloon
launch is at 7 a.m. both days. The event is free to the
“Every year, we have managed to do it — every
year for 28 years,” Crawford said.
But Crawford envisions a bigger turnout for future
events and is asking the public to come out and
watch and help the balloonists inflate their balloons.
He said residents might get a balloon ride or two if
they come out to volunteer.
Crawford is a founding member of the Valencia
Flying and Retrieval Society, which is raffling off
10 free balloon rides to event visitors.
“Right now, quite frankly we only have a few of
us doing all the work to get it going,” Crawford said.
“What we want is more community effort.”
The veteran balloonist said he has approached
officials at the village of Los Lunas to help promote
the event in the future, and he also wants to get help
from the Greater Belen Chamber of Commerce to
bring people in from the New Mexico Rail Runner.
He said his plan would be to have one rally in
Belen in November and one rally in Los Lunas in
March. The Belen rally is a part of the Miracle on
Main Street and is currently a city event.
Rhona Espinoza, executive director of the Greater
Belen Chamber of Commerce, said she would be in
favor of working with the city to create more traffic
for the event.
“I will do whatever the city of Belen decides to
do,” Espinoza said. “Whatever we can do to promote
business and people coming down, I’m on board.”
Crawford said he remembers when there were
upwards of 2,000 people that showed up to past bal-
loon rallies at Heritage Park in Los Lunas.
He said he wants to eventually see the event grow
to around 100 balloons with 15 to 20 special shapes
flying in the event.
“Six of us can’t do all of that,” Crawford said.
“We can’t raise all the money, get all of the vendors,
organize the event and get all the balloons.
“Everybody is working. So what we have done
(this year) is cut it back,” he said.
Crawford said this year, only a few vendors are
expected to be on scene for the rally. Still, he says,
the event will be filled with plenty of entertainment.
Crawford’s “labor of love” is one he hopes to con-
tinue well into the future. He said now is the perfect
time to figure out specifics for 2013.
“We have started the ball rolling for next year,”
Crawford said. “... right now is the time to be plan-
ning this. It’s not as big and fancy as it was, but it’s
still a lot of excitement.”
He said he and other local balloonists could use
the support in the form of a chase crew to both help
inflate the balloons and to follow the riders as they
Once people experience the excitement for the
first time, they are hooked.
Skydivers from Skydive New Mexico, of Belen, is
expected to jump from an airplane at about 9 a.m.,
after the balloons have cleared out from the area.
Emily Cano, of Skydive New Mexico, said there
will be a demonstration jump after the balloons
clear out on Saturday.
Cano said the group did a balloon jump with other
balloonists in February. For that event, 29 jumpers
jumped out of 12 balloons.
The demonstration will be by specific licensed
people who are trained to jump off a plane onto a
field. The jump will be from a Cesna 182 airplane.
Crawford said the balloons should help give young
people a positive activity to do when they don’t have
anything to do. Interested parties would allow bal-
loonists to network with others on weekends to go
out and fly.
“You give youth a positive alternative and they’ll
be hooked,” Crawford said.
For information on balloons, call Grant Crawford
at 379-4565. Anyone who wants more information
on Skydive New Mexico, can call 864-7942.
March 14, 2012 • Valencia County News-Bulletin • 2012 St. Patrick’s Day Balloon Rallye • 3
St. Patrick’s Day Balloon Rallye marks 28th year
News-Bulletin file photo
GRANT CRAWFORD, a founding member of the
Valencia Flying and Retrieval Society and organizer of
the St. Patrick’s Day Balloon Rallye, said he’s already
planning for next year’s event, which he hopes to be
bigger and better.
Location: Eagle Park in Belen, north of Belen
(Note) All flights are weather permitting and at
Friday, March 16
7 a.m.: Media/sponsor flights; pilot briefing at
7:30 a.m.: Balloon launches
Saturday, March 17
6:30 a.m.: Pilot sign-in, crew sign-up
7 a.m.: Mandatory pilot briefing at Eagle Park
7:30 a.m.: Balloons launch
8 a.m.: Special shapes display/tether
9 a.m.: Skydive New Mexico demonstration
Sunday, March 18
6:30 a.m.: Pilot sign-in
7:30 a.m.: Balloons launch
Schedule of eventS
4 • 2012 St. Patrick’s Day Balloon Rallye • Valencia County News-Bulletin • March 14, 2012
News-Bulletin file photos
THE ST. PATRICK’S DAY BALLOON RALLYE, which will be held at Eagle Park in Belen
on Saturday, March 17, and Sunday, March 18, is free to the public.
ORGANIZERS OF THE annual hot air balloon rally said 10 lucky visitors to this year’s
event will win free balloon rides. Other events include a demonstration by Skydive
1051 San Mateo Blvd SE, Albuquerque
(Corner of San Mateo & Kathryn SE
1/2 mile north of Gibson Boulevard)
505-255-3677 ¥ 800-753-4617
hydroponic systems ¥ indoor grow lights
seed starting supplies ¥ pest controls
organic potting soils, nutrients & supplements
New MexicoÕs original indoor grow store, since 1993!
has passed the test of time...
over 65 years of serving
Belen, Los Lunas,
Bosque Farms, Socorro,
Albuquerque, Grants, Moriarty
& Southern New Mexico
25,000 Sq. Ft. Warehouse
We conduct business the old fashioned way,
Taking care of our repeat customers!!!
204 N. Main St. • Belen • 864-4536
Becker Street Festival
Last Saturday of September
For more information call 505-864-8091
March 14, 2012 • Valencia County News-Bulletin • 2012 St. Patrick’s Day Balloon Rallye • 5
Shamrock special shape balloon to make appearance
By Julia M. DenDinger
News-Bulletin Staff Writer
It might not have four leaves, but
Don Edwards’ shamrock-shaped bal-
loon, Paddy, will certainly bring the
luck of the Irish to this year’s St.
Patrick’s Day Balloon Rallye.
This will mark the 28th year of the
ballooning event in Valencia County,
which is sponsored by the Valencia
Flying and Retrieval Society.
While the rally is usually held on the
weekend closest to St. Patrick’s Day,
this year, it will again fall on its name-
sake weekend, making the appearance
of the shamrock all the more apropos.
Edwards, who has been the
event director of the Albuquerque
International Balloon Fiesta since June
2010, will be bringing the green behe-
moth for the second year in a row.
The shamrock weighs in at a sub-
stantial 600 pounds, overwhelming a
typical sport balloon’s 250 pounds. It
spans 80 feet across and towers 30 feet
over most other balloons, coming in at
an even 100 feet tall.
The shamrock holds 140,000 cubic
feet of hot air once it’s inflated.
Edwards said last year, the Saturday
event turned out to be a bust for flying
the lucky charm, but it got skyward on
When you are wrangling that much
nylon, you might think getting ready
to fly would be an arduous, hours-long
process. Edwards says that isn’t true.
“Once you pull onto the field, it
takes about 30 to 40 minutes to get
it standing,” Edwards said. “Packing
it up is a different story. It’s a lot of
Edwards was first exposed to bal-
looning in 1986, when he was work-
ing for Budweiser in North Carolina.
The company held a small rally and
someone convinced Edwards to take a
“As soon as we landed, I knew I
wanted to do that,” he said.
Edwards said he decided to go with a
shamrock special shaped balloon while
living in Orlando, Fla. Many of his
friends there were Irish and he traveled
to Ireland several times.
“I thought a long, long time before I
finally had it made,” he said.
And since he’s single, Edwards can
dedicate all the time he wants to his
“A person in a relationship, they
might have given up a woman,” he
laughed. “But there’s a saying in bal-
looning, ‘It might break your leg, but it
won’t break your heart.’”
Edwards has taken the balloon to
countries such as Thailand, Japan,
Australia and Canada, as well as half
a dozen states. He said that while the
balloon hasn’t gotten as many requests
to fly events as other special shapes,
it’s still something people like to see.
“It is a crowd stopper though, a
crowd pleaser,” Edwards said. “I’ve
been told it needs ‘life’ to it, like eyes,
ears and a mouth. It’s just a plain
shamrock right now.”
If he does decide to embellish the
balloon, the pattern will need to be
made and pieces of nylon cut and
appliquéed to the envelope.
And like owning any balloon,
Edwards says the shamrock is a lot of
work and often a fair bit of money.
There’s a joke in ballooning, he says.
“How do you make $1 million flying
“Start with $2 million.”
He laughs, saying it’s a lifestyle, not
a revenue source.
“I wouldn’t trade it for anything,”
Edwards said. “For all the wonderful
people I’ve met and the people I fly
“We are a pretty close knit com-
munity with some really diverse
backgrounds — politicians, plumbers,
mechanical engineers, carpenters. We
have a little of everything.”
THE SHAMROCK SPECIAL SHAPE balloon, Paddy, piloted by Don Edwards will be
bringing a hefty dose of good luck to this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Balloon Rallye.
DON EDWARDS, the event director of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, will be piloting his shamrock-shaped bal-
loon, Paddy, at this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Balloon Rallye in Belen.
6 • 2012 St. Patrick’s Day Balloon Rallye • Valencia County News-Bulletin • March 14, 2012
Hot air balloonists have
their own vocabulary
By UngelBah Daniel-Davila
News-Bulletin Staff Writer
The world of ballooning is filled with
a lot of hot air.
That’s why we’ve created an easy-
to-follow list of vocabulary, commonly
found within the hot air balloon com-
munity, so you, too, can keep with the
latest balloon lingo.
The following words and their mean-
ings come to us from www.grandadven-
“56,” “77,” “105,” “180,” etc.: Hot
air balloons are often referred to by their
size, or capacity in cubic feet. Thus, a
balloon with an envelope capacity of
77,000 cubic feet is often called a “77,”
and a “105” refers to a balloon with an
envelope capacity of 105,000 cubic feet.
Aerostat: A lighter-than-air craft, such
as a hot air balloon.
Balloonatic: Fanatic balloon enthu-
siast. Someone who eats, drinks and
sleeps ballooning. Why else would
somebody get up at 4:30 a.m., go out
in the cold and do hard manual labor?
Answer: Because they’re a balloonatic!
Basket: Also referred to as the gon-
dola, is the part of the balloon used to
carry the pilot and passengers, fuel tanks
and other equipment, usually construct-
ed of wicker.
British Thermal Unit (BTU): The
quantity of heat necessary to raise the
temperature of one pound of water by
one degree Fahrenheit.
Burner: A device used to ignite and
project flammable fuel (usually propane
gas) up into the envelope to heat the air
that makes the balloon rise.
Certificate of Airworthiness: A bal-
loon has to be regularly inspected to
make sure the balloon is safe to fly and
that all its parts are working properly.
Chase: Also referred to as the recov-
ery or retrieve, is the process by which
the balloon is tracked during flight and
retrieved afterwards by a crew on the
Chase Crew: The crew that chases the
balloon, also known as the retrieve crew.
Crown: The top of the balloon enve-
Crown Line: A rope that is fastened
to the top of the balloon envelope on one
end. The other end is used by a member
of the crew to help stabilize the balloon
during inflation and deflation.
Drop Line: A rope attached to the
basket on one end. It’s usually stowed
during flight but can be released by the
pilot and secured by the ground crew to
maneuver the balloon into or through
Envelope: The cloth portion of the
balloon that holds the heated air for hot-
air balloons or gas for gas balloons.
Fly-in Task: A ballooning event
where pilots attempt to fly from a desig-
nated distance to a single point, usually
a scoring “X.”
Glows: An event in which balloons
are illuminated while on ground, usually
Greasy Spoon: A road-side cafe typi-
cally serving bacon and eggs, and all the
wholesome things balloonists like to eat
on the way home from a lovely morning
Hopper: A balloon where the pilot sits
underneath the envelope, as opposed to
standing in a basket
Inflator Fan: The balloon has to first
be filled with cold air using the infla-
tor fan before air can be heated by the
Key Grab: A competition for which
a key is placed on top of a pole; the first
one to get to the pole and grab the key
wins the prize. The key is sometimes a
key to a truck, car or motorcycle.
Mouth: The opening at the base of
the balloon envelope through which the
flames from the burner passes to heat
the air inside the envelope.
Prohibited Zone: A restricted opera-
tion zone where balloon launchings and
landings are prohibited by the landown-
er. In some cases, a minimum altitude
restriction may also exist.
Rip-stop Nylon: The material that
makes up most of the envelope.
Rosiere: Type of balloon that uses
both gas and hot air. Sometimes called
News-Bulletin file photo
THE MOUTH OF the balloon refers to the opening at the base of the balloon enve-
lope through which the flames from the burner passes to heat the air inside the
n See Vocabulary, Page 15
George J.J. Hobbes - Owner
Serving Valencia County For Over 34 Years.
P.O. Box 272
Peralta, NM 87042
1820 Bosque Farms Blvd.
Bosque Farms, NM 87068
Fax (505) 869-0843
We can help ease
• Bookkeeping • Accounting • Payroll
• Income Tax Service • Notary • Electronic Filing
Provider of Accounting
and Tax Services
"Tis the season for green. Get with the green"
March 14, 2012 • Valencia County News-Bulletin • 2012 St. Patrick’s Day Balloon Rallye • 7
THE ANNUAL St. Patrick’s Day Balloon Rallye, organized by the Valencia Flying and
Retrieval Society, always has a decent amount of balloons flying in the event. The
rally has been in Belen for the past several years.
News-Bulletin file photo
THE SMOKEY BEAR balloon, flown by Mike Garcia, Murray Conray and Alan Wynn,
is a crowd favorite at the annual balloon rally in Valencia County.
SOME OF THE BEST views of the vast middle Rio Grande Valley are seen from hot air balloons. Not only can you see the rural charm of Valencia County, but the area west
of the Manzano Mountains is a great place for balloonists to fly. The first balloon rallies in the county were held in what’s referred to as the Tomé Bowl.
8 • 2012 St. Patrick’s Day Balloon Rallye • Valencia County News-Bulletin • March 14, 2012
n See Crews, Page 10
Chase crews are an important element of ballooning
By Jason W. Brooks
News-Bulletin Staff Writer
Even though Joe Ballengee retired
from the U.S. Air Force in 1994, a much
smaller organization devoted to aeronau-
tics would find a place in his life.
That organization would be the
Valencia Flying and Retrieval Society.
In the fall of 1995, Ballengee volun-
teered as a chase crew member at a bal-
loon rally, and that’s when he met Don
Boyer of Belen.
Ballengee and his wife, Kelli, became
friends with Boyer, and started attend-
ing the annual St. Patrick’s Day Balloon
Rallye in Valencia County.
The 2012 version of the event, set to be
held at Eagle Park in Belen the weekend
of March 17, will require tons of volun-
The Ballengees will be at the event,
helping with the same balloons and pilots
they’ve aided for years.
“You need a chase crew for a lot of
things,” said Ballengee, a Placitas resi-
dent, “everything from crowd control on
the ground during prelaunch to pointing
out potential hazards in a landing zone.”
A CREW hangs on to a “crown line” attached to the top of a balloon. The line is used to hold the balloon upright before a
launch, and, in some cases, to help pull the envelope over and keep the crown on one end before packing it up.
GET PAID TO SAVE!
Reﬁnance Your Auto Loan & Get $250.
How It Works
We are ready to meet or beat your current auto
loan rate from another ﬁnancial institution by
2%, give you $200 cash, and we’ll deposit another
$50 to establish your account relationship with us!
Plus, no payments for the ﬁrst 60 days.
What You Get
• $200 Instant Cash
• $50 Deposited
to Your Account
• 2% Lower Loan Rate
• 60 Days, No Payments
Loan must remain active for at least 12 months, minimum rate of 3.24%
and the amount ﬁnanced must be at least $10,000. On approved credit.
Oﬀer Expires March 31.
March 14, 2012 • Valencia County News-Bulletin • 2012 St. Patrick’s Day Balloon Rallye • 9
St. Patrick’s Day Balloon Rallye Sponsors
City of Belen
Auge’s Sales and Service
Duke City Redi-Mix
Lowes Home Improvement
New Mexico Foods “Beef Jerky”
Mike & Ernest Welding Supplies
Greater Belen Chamber of Commerce
Valencia Flying and Retrieval Society
RAKS Building Supply
Valencia County News-Bulletin
Let us make your
St. Patrick’s Day a
wee bit greener.
If you didn’t use H&R Block, bring in your return for
a FREE Second Look® Review. We’ll check for missed
deductons and credits, to help make sure you get
the maximum refund you’re enttled to. We’ll also
certfy whether or not your original return is accurate.
Join the thousands of clients who have received more
money with an H&R Block Second Look® Review.
Stop by or call for an appointment today!
Based on Second Look Reviews conducted 2009-2011. Fees apply if you have us prepare a corrected or amended return. Results will vary. If
H&R Block makes an error on your return, we’ll pay resultng penaltes and interest. If you are audited, we’ll explain your audit notce and
the documentaton you should provide to the auditor. Partcipatng locatons only. Ofer good March 14-17, 2012. ©2012 HRB Tax Group, Inc.
We find money others miss.
Location 1 | Street Address | City, State, Zip
600 C West Reinken
Bosque Farms Offce
795 Bosque Farms Blvd
Los Lunas Offce
1400 Main Street NW Ste G
Win a Balloon Ride for 2!
Drawing to be held Saturday, March 17
at 7am at the Eagle Park near BHS.
No purchase required to enter. Winners must be
present at drawing and must be 18 yrs or older or
accompanied by parent or legal guardian. For safety,
minimum height restrictions apply. Ride is offered
weather-permitting. We regret that we cannot
offer rain checks. Entries only accepted on the
Balloon feld starting at 6:30am 3/17
2012 St. Patrick’s Day
Hot Air Balloon Rallye
Valencia Flying & Retrieval Society
10 • 2012 St. Patrick’s Day Balloon Rallye • Valencia County News-Bulletin • March 14, 2012
Crews: Volunteers help set up, follow balloons and assist with pack up
from PAGE 8
Chase crews are not an iconic symbol of balloon
rallies — not in the visual way, like the balloons
themselves. But the crews are the lifeblood of flight
A small, inexperienced group of volunteers might
require a lot of patience among pilots, while a
large, veteran crew can make things go much more
Any chase crew must defer to the judgement of
the pilots, Ballengee says.
“We trust the pilots,” said Ballengee. “They all
have their own sense of what they’re comfortable
with, especially with winds, and they know what
they and their balloons can handle.”
The Ballengees trust Boyer enough to have had
their daughter, Cicely, 10 years old at the time, take
a balloon ride with him.
However, chase crews don’t simply close their
eyes like roller-coaster passengers — they’re
involved deeply in the process.
From the moment a truck, van or trailer is
unloaded, there’s much to do. Ballengee said a
minimum of four people make up a crew, “which is
a lot of work with that few,” and he’s seen as many
as 25 assigned to one balloon.
There are instruments to set up, uprights to attach
to the basket, and the unrolling of the envelope, or
main fabric part of the balloon. In fact, there’s tons
of setup before the first flame is lit, and inflating
the envelope and getting the basket upright are far
down the list of steps.
Chase crews don’t fly in the balloon, although
passengers might help the pilot as spotters from
their unique above-ground vantage points. The
chase crew follows the flight path of the balloon in
the recovery vehicle.
The maneuverability of the chase vehicle depends
partly on whether it has an attached trailer, and
knowledge of local train tracks really helps. The
chase driver or one of his passengers communicates
with the pilot during flight, usually with a two-way
“Getting across the Rio Grande and Interstate
25 are always issues,” said Ballengee. “And in
Valencia County, it helps to know all the little ‘tun-
nels’ that go under the interstate.”
Ballengee said there seems to be a thousand
concerns a pilot and chase crews may have, rang-
ing from weather and safety to correctional-facility
flight restrictions, to not flying too low over areas
where horses are outdoors (horses don’t seem to
love balloons nearly as much as humans do.)
Landing is often an adventure, and as with all
elements of ballooning, crews try to think of both
safety and consider local residents at the same time.
Chase-vehicle passengers watch for trees, bodies
of water, power lines and other obstructions, help-
ing the driver track the balloon.
If the chase crew is fortunate, visual contact is
seldom, if ever, broken, and the landing is seen
and can be easily accessed. These ideal conditions
aren’t always met, however, and it may take the
chase vehicle some time, effort and creativity to
reach the basket.
“The key is to get to the landing site, which could
be anywhere, before or at the same time as the bal-
loon,” said Ballengee.
It takes considerable muscle to lower and pack up
the balloon, he said. The envelope alone can weigh
at least 250 pounds.
Ballengee said he’s seen pilots perceive condi-
tions completely differently, and decide to fly or not
to fly based on their instincts and experience.
“Sometimes, dozens of pilots are taking off
around you,” said Ballengee. “And the one you’re
crewing for says, ‘Let’s go to breakfast.’”
JOE BALLENGEE, center, helps hold a balloon envelope open during inflation before a launch. Chase crews are a team of helpers who aid with every element of flight from
inflation to landings to packing up the envelope.
March 14, 2012 • Valencia County News-Bulletin • 2012 St. Patrick’s Day Balloon Rallye • 11
News-Bulletin file photos
THE ANNUAL ST. PATRICK’S DAY Balloon Rallye brings spectators from around the
state. This year will be no different.
THE ANNUAL BALLOON rally is once again being held at Eagle Park in Belen. An
added attraction this year will be a demonstration by Skydive New Mexico, whose
members will jump from an airplane after the balloons have left the area.
1100 C Bosque Farms Blvd.
Bosque Farms, NM 87068
I want to be your Insurance Agent!
221 -A South Main • 861-1132
Martha or Tina
2211 -B Main ST SE • 565-9414
Johnny or Graciella
Come in and see us
Two locations to serve you
Loans up to $2,500.00 Subject to liberal guidelines
Refer a friend and get $25.00
526 Sun Ranch Vi l l age Rd, Los Lunas, NM
( near St ar l i ght Theat er )
AKKA Karate USA
IS PROUD AND EXCITED TO
ANNOUNCE IT IS NOW
Amer i can Kenpo 5. 0 i s t he hybr i d of
t he l ast gener at i on ver si on of Amer i can
Kenpo t aught di r ect l y f r om Seni or
Gr and Mast er Ed Par ker t o J ef f Speakman
and gr oundf i ght i ng i nt r oduced
by J ef f Speakman’ s seni or st udent ,
Tr ever Sher man. Thi s t ype of combat
has been br ought back t o Kenpo t o
cr eat e answer s t o def endi ng agai nst an
opponent wi t h t hese ski l l s i n t he st r eet .
Now of f er i ng Li t t l e Dr agons’ cl asses ( 4-6yr s ol d) ,
Ki ds’ Cl asses, and Adul t Cl asses.
Cal l f or mor e i nf or mat i on.
12 • 2012 St. Patrick’s Day Balloon Rallye • Valencia County News-Bulletin • March 14, 2012
Old Lady in the Shoe to fly at annual balloon rally
By DeBorah Fox
News-Bulletin Staff Writer
Quietly floating on a cottony cloud 500 feet above the
Rio Grande Valley, surveying the horizon of varying
land formations, basked in sunlit hues of pink, peach,
orange and streaks of blue.
This is what sold Amarillo resident Chris Jones on
“It’s absolutely exhilarating,” Jones said.
He’s been a hot air balloon enthusiast since 1979 when
his father, Joe T. Jones, bought a balloon after attending
the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
“Actually, we went as a family the year before,” Jones
said. “We just started playing ever since.”
His father bought the family’s first balloon from his
friend, Ken Kelley, who sold balloons at the time, as
well as helped run his family’s helium transport busi-
ness, Jack B. Kelley, Inc., in Amarillo.
It all came together for the Jones family to make bal-
looning a family hobby.
“That first time up in 1978 was a blast,” Jones said. “I
went with my sister (Shannon), who is three years older
than I am, and we just decided — my dad decided to go
ahead and buy one.
“I was 8 years old at the time and grew up with it,
crewed for it, and did everything a crew does,” he said.
As he grew older, he became a crew chief, and in
2004, decided he wanted to become a balloon pilot.
“The instructor here in Amarillo said, ‘You need to
get your airplane license first,’ which was just more of a
challenge for me, because I wanted it anyway.
“So I got that, and I did it in five months,” Jones said.
“And he told me it was a little too ambitious for him, so
he wasn’t able to teach me.”
Jones had to find another instructor, and he found
Buzz Wills in Amarillo.
After earning his private license, he started working
with Don Boyer and Mike Shrum, both of Belen, to get
his commercial license.
He met them at various balloon rallies, he said.
In 2008, he took his first solo flight at the
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta with his dad
Joe Jones is retired now and doesn’t fly anymore, but
he often flies with his son.
“He loves to go up with me,” Jones said.
Jones has flown balloons in Dallas, Guyman, Okla.,
and cities around New Mexico. The longest distance he
has traveled in a balloon is 40 miles.
He has two standard balloons, Serenity, and Quad
Nickel, but this year, he will fly his first special shaped
balloon, Old Lady in the Shoe.
The balloon belongs to the nonprofit organization,
Parents of the Canyon, who purchased the balloon as an
attraction for fundraisers the organization conducts to
raise money for local charities.
“We received it in October 2011, and we’re getting
everything flight worthy on it now,” Jones said. “That’s
one of the reasons we’re bringing it to Belen, to do some
pilot testing on it to make sure she is flight ready.”
The FAA will be at the rally to do their final inspec-
tion on the balloon as well. There are limitations and
extra precautions that he will need to take with the tall,
special shaped Old Lady in the Shoe balloon, he said.
“I’ve made the St. Pat’s Rallye and the Miracle on
Main Street since 2009,” Jones said. “This will be my
The last time he flew in Belen, which was during
the Miracle on Main Street event in November, he and
Boyer got stuck over the railroad tracks for about 20
minutes. Jones said the sight was “very cool.”
“We weren’t sure where we were going to be able
to land or what we were going to be able to do or how
our crew was going to get to us,” he said. “It was kind
of unnerving, but a wonderful experience. Finally, the
winds came and took us off the railroad track.”
Balloonists don’t want to get stuck over a body of
water or a forest, but Jones and Boyer hadn’t considered
a railroad track.
“We kind of laugh about that,” Jones said.
Since 2005, Jones has become an airplane and balloon
pilot, taking an average of 40 flights a year.
His crew chief since 2006, Jerry Jones, (no relation) is
well known in Belen, Jones said.
“I ended up marrying his daughter in 2009,” Jones
said. “So, his family has become a true balloon family
just by proxy, I guess you could say.”
BALLOON PILOT CHRIS JONES, from Amarillo, Texas, will fly Old Lady in the Shoe, a special shape balloon belong-
ing to the nonprofit organization Parents of the Canyon, in the St. Patrick’s Day Balloon Rallye on Saturday,
n See Jones, Page 13
March 14, 2012 • Valencia County News-Bulletin • 2012 St. Patrick’s Day Balloon Rallye • 13
The crew chief had joked with Jones, telling him he could marry his daughter, but
he had to take her last name.
She loves to fly and is also his biggest supporter on the ground, he said.
“We couldn’t do all this without her or her dad,” Jones said.
He and his wife, Kerri, have a 4-month-old son, Jack.
“He’s been around the balloons, and he really likes them,” Jones said. “He’s not
scared of them or anything. He gets excited to see them, so we anticipate another bal-
loonist in the family.”
Jones has been privileged to fly a balloon in the No Fly Zone down in Powder
Canyon State Park at ballooning events during certain times of the year, and he has
flown NASA’s Space Shuttle balloon in Belen.
“To ride in a balloon is an experience you don’t get very often,” Jones said. “The
peaceful, serene atmosphere you get in a balloon, you can’t compare to anything else.
So, if you have an opportunity to fly in one, take it. It’s one for the bucket list.”
Jones: ‘It’s one for the bucket list’
from PAGE 12
Poteets celebrate wedding
anniversary at balloon rally
By Mike StearnS
News-Bulletin Staff Writer
Tony and Mary Ann Poteet, of
Wolfforth, Texas, make it to the St.
Patrick’s Day Balloon Rallye in Valencia
County every year.
The past eight years have been more
special than the first years the couple
attended the rally with their dark blue
Their balloon has, what Mary Ann
calls, the “NBC peacock” going up one
side and down the other.
This year, the couple will be celebrat-
ing their eighth anniversary of the mar-
riage that the two balloon enthusiasts
never thought in their wildest dreams
would come to pass in Belen.
After coming to Albuquerque for the
Love and Hearts rally on Valentine’s
Day, Tony and Mary Ann got a marriage
license in Bernalillo County.
“We thought about Santa Fe and Taos,
but it just wasn’t right for us,” Tony said.
“Mary Ann said we should think about
the St. Pat’s Rallye.”
Mary Ann described the event as one
of her favorites. Tony notes that the St.
Patrick’s Day Balloon Rallye starts off
their balloon tours every year
“The valley and flying along the river,
it is just such a pretty flight,” Mary Ann
“That is where we ended up getting
married, so that makes it really special,”
But it almost didn’t happen eight
years ago. After deciding on where they
wanted to tie the knot, finding a preacher
became almost as hard as capturing a
Tony said they searched everywhere
and were about to give up. On the last
road before returning to Albuquerque,
they found a parsonage sign that led to
At first, the pastor would not agree to
the ceremony. He said that he required
six months of pre-marital counseling.
Tony, now 59, and Mary Ann, now 60,
looked at the wise old pastor.
“We are not kids and we are not run-
ning away,” Tony told the pastor. “This is
not our first rodeo.”
Brother Kerns reluctantly agreed.
The morning of March 13, 2004, was
not agreeable for flight. The cloud cover
was low and only tethered rides could be
They passed out invitations to “go to a
wedding right now,” as Mary Ann put it.
The attire was old hiking boots and
blue jeans, according to Tony. But there
in the park, with balloons tethered and
floating as the perfect backdrop, Tony
and Mary Ann were married.
“It was kind of rustic,” said Tony.
“I think that it was fitting for us,” Mary
Ann said. “We wanted to get married, but
we did not want to run off and get mar-
ried by ourselves. It was special to have
all of our friends there.”
“We have more couples as friends that
we have met through the rally,” Tony
said. “We have a very good friend in Los
Flying a hot air balloon is very techni-
cal work and a task that requires a crew
to work seamlessly together. To navigate
fierce winds or calm skies, it takes the
pilot and a team working together in
Kind of like a family — a married
Tony saw brother Kerns at the rally a
couple of years ago.
Like a tethering rope or anchoring line,
Brother Kerns aptly smiled and said,
“I guess we tied that knot pretty good,
TONY AND MARY ANN Poteet, of Texas, were married eight years ago at the annual
St. Patrick’s Day Balloon Rallye.
St. Patrick’s Day is
Right Around the Corner!
World Finance Corp.
203- D Main Street • Belen
$200.00 up to $3,000.00
All loans are subject to our most liberal lending policies.
All loans are set up on easy monthly payment plan. Licensed by
the State of New Mexico Department of Consumer Credit.
Branch Manager - Jodi Chavez
Hours of Operation:
Mon & Fri 8:30am-6pm
Tues, Wed, Thurs 8:30am-5:30pm
By ABigAil R. ORtiz
News-Bulletin Staff Writer
Bumpy is a really happy hot air bal-
loon, and one of the special shapes
attendees can expect to see at the
28th annual St. Patrick’s Day Balloon
Rallye on Saturday, March 17.
His big smile and large eyes spread
across its round-shaped balloon as his
arms and legs dangle at his sides.
He stands at about 70,000 cubic
feet in height, which is smaller than
the average 90,000 cubic feet balloon
most enthusiasts use, said pilot Mike
Bumpy’s happiness is the rea-
son why Mike and his wife,
Mystie, bought him last year at the
Albuquerque International Balloon
As soon as the balloon was theirs,
the couple spread Bumpy over the
field and inflated his happy face.
“We wanted to see him and put him
on the fiesta field,” Mike said.
The two then flew Bumpy over the
crowd of thousands before settling
him on the ground.
The couple had fallen in love with
Bumpy two years ago when they first
saw him, but didn’t know he was for
But Bumpy isn’t the only hot air
balloon Mike and Mystie fly around
the state in. The Albuquerque couple
also have Buzzin’ — a round-shaped
balloon covered in yellow, teal, black
Finding his inner balloonist
The 10-year hot air balloon pilot
was introduced to the hobby by a
friend, who told Mike, “I found you
a balloon. You’re going to be an awe-
Up to that point, Mike had attended
a few balloon rallies, but wasn’t an
avid lover of hot air balloons, or even
knew how to fly one.
But Mike bought a balloon named
Karius Away, a 77,000 cubic foot hot
air balloon enclosed by black, purple
and green hues, anyway.
With a hot air balloon in hand,
Mike decided it was time he learned
how to fly.
Since Mike didn’t know anybody
else who flew hot air balloons in New
Mexico, he stopped a balloonist fill-
ing up at a gas station with their bal-
loon in tow.
The balloonist suggested that he
attend an Albuquerque Aerostat
Ascension Association’s meeting.
AAAA is a non-profit organization
promoting hot air ballooning as a
sport, according to its website.
Once there, Mike met pilots and
other avid balloonists who helped him
learn the ropes.
“I started having fun, going to ral-
lies and enjoying people. From there,
for me, it was kind of like I wanted
more,” Mike said, adding he later
received his private and commercial
hot air balloon license.
Flying for others
More than jumping into the bal-
loon’s basket and flying to any des-
tination his heart desired, Mike said
he enjoyed flying others around the
“After flying all these hours, its
more about having people share
the experience and that’s why I got
Bumpy and what made me love (hot
air ballooning) the most,” he said.
Flying passengers in hot air bal-
loons can help Mike offset costs asso-
ciated with rally trips, he said.
Mike has attended more than 60 hot
air balloon rallies with the furthest
one being in North Carolina.
And every rally, no matter the
place, adds something special to enjoy
while in the air.
But with Bumpy, Mike and Mystie
hope to travel around the world.
“We would love to go to a New
Zealand rally and one in Japan,” he
14 • 2012 St. Patrick’s Day Balloon Rallye • Valencia County News-Bulletin • March 14, 2012
n See Bumpy, Page 15
Bumpy to bring lots of smiles to this year’s rally
MIKE AND MYSTIE KORFE, owners of Bumpy, a 70,000 cubic feet special shaped hot air balloon, will be on hand at the 28th
annual St. Patrick’s Day Balloon Rallye at Eagle Park in Belen. The owners of the balloon have traveled the country flying
Bumpy and other balloons they own.
March 14, 2012 • Valencia County News-Bulletin • 2012 St. Patrick’s Day Balloon Rallye • 15
Bumpy: Feels like you’re floating
from PAGE 14
Unlike anything else
Flying in a hot air balloon is unlike any other experience that passengers
soon fall in love with, even those who are afraid of heights will venture into
the balloon for a second or third ride.
“They’ll get in and you can see their faces light up and their eyes get so
big,” Mike said. “That’s what I enjoy seeing. It really is amazing when you see
Mike said its a pleasant ride, even for those with the faintest of hearts for
heights, because its not like leaving the ground in an airplane, where passen-
gers get thrown back into the seat.
“(Passengers) don’t even know when they’re leaving the ground, and I think
that’s really what does it for them,” he said. “You don’t feel like you’re flying,
just floating. There’s no noise, just the burning. It’s nice and quiet when you’re
up there. It’s peaceful.”
Hot air ballooning is something, Mike said, everybody should try at least
Vocabulary: Latest balloon lingo
from PAGE 6
Skirt: The cloth segment of the enve-
lope below the load cable connections,
frequently detachable, often made of
Nomex or similar fire-resistant material.
Spotter: Someone who collects bal-
loon licence numbers, badges and anor-
Tether: The securing of the balloon
to the ground and raising it up to 150
Thumbs Up: The signal that the air-
space above is clear and you have per-
mission to launch.
Zebedee List: The for sale or wanted
list for second hand balloons and bal-
We invite you to open you heart to some very special kids.
There are many ways you can help. Please call us or
visit our web site to learn more. Thank you!
(505) 565-4470 • ElRanchitoNM.org
Up, Up and
Away With The
Down On Earth
Shop Valencia County To
Keep Jobs in Valencia County
Shop in Valencia County
Before Anywhere Else
660 Main Street NW/Don Pasqual & Main Street
Phone (505) 839-3840 FAX (505) 352-3280
Robert Vialpando Mayor
Peter Fernandez Administrator
Village of Los Lunas
Bring in this ad for a 5 cent per pound
bonus on aluminum cans and scrap,
copper, brass and stainless steel.*
* Bonus valid through April 30, 2012
Commercial accounts excluded
from bonus. One bonus
Our New Bosque Farms location at 1220 Bosque Farms Blvd
(next to Jiffy Lube) - 505-345-2404
Hours: Mon-Sat, 9:30-5:00.
Our Belen location is at 623 South Main
(Camino Del Llano on the east side of Main). 505-864-8760
Hours: Tues-Sat, 9:00-5:00. Belen also accepts steel.
Wise Recycling has two convenient
locations in Valencia County to serve you.
16 • 2012 St. Patrick’s Day Balloon Rallye • Valencia County News-Bulletin • March 14, 2012
✓New format and size
✓Easier to mail
(for relocation packages)
✓Distributed to hotels,
visitors centers and
chambers of commerce
in our surrounding area.
is is th
e best c
Contact the News-Bulletin
advertising department today!
2 0 1 2 - 2 0 1 3
505-864-4472 • 505-865-7477
O F F I C I A L V I S I T O R S G U I D E
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.