OCT. 6-14 2018

The First Race

While planning the KOB 50th Anniversary party the following spring, Susan Johnson, then promotional director for the station, was looking for a centerpiece of her own to celebrate this important birthday for the station. She found Sid flying the "club" balloon which had been purchased by the founders of the Albuquerque Aerostat Ascension Association (now the largest local balloon club in the world). As you can read in her own words elsewhere in this program, the relationship between KOB and Sid Cutter was cemented and the idea of a balloon race began to take shape.

With very little time, but an enormous wealth of enthusiasm, Sid Cutter, Don and Mike Draper and Tom Rutherford of KOB, set about putting together the largest balloon race in the world at that time, and invited 21 balloons to attend the event.

Last minute cancellations and a miserable storm in the Midwest limited the participants to 13 balloons, but each and every one was given red carpet treatment and put on a show for some 20,000 spectators that Albuquerque would never forget. The pilots came from Arizona, California, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada and Texas and they left with the impression that Albuquerque was a wonderful place to fly and that it had about the most hospitable bunch of people you'd ever want to find.

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