I arrived in Longview about noon on Friday, July 28th, and I found out the morning session was cancelled due to weather conditions, so I did not miss much by my delay getting to Longview. I was able to work the gate taking tickets for the evening session, and I met the Harold “Bubba” Cliver, the pilot I would be crewing for the rest of the weekend.
It was quite a bit windy Friday night but the balloons set up and glowed for the people the people that came to watch the balloons glow. Several branches of the military had planes and helicopters on display for people to look at and I saw lots of children climbing into the helicopters and airplanes. I saw from the expression on their faces how excited they were to have this wonderful experience. Personally, I would have loved a flight in them.
Saturday morning I met my pilot Bubba and his son Christopher who is also a pilot. Since Bubba had enough crew I helped Chris. Of course as is normal when finding the best location to launch from for competition a caravan of trucks with balloon baskets and envelopes drove to various locations and sent up pi ball balloons to check the wind direction and speeds.
It is a small world, one of Bubba`s crew members and I have a mutual friend in Bryan, Texas. Saturday morning when Chris finally was finally able to land the sky opened up and it was raining really hard, we all got soaked. The wind conditions were not the best which caused some issues where the balloon could land. When we arrived at the balloon field at the airport someone I spoke with said they only got a few drops of ra in at the airport, not the heavy downpour we got a few miles away.
Saturday evening we once again inflated the balloons, there were approximately 48 regular shape balloons and 8 special shaped ones. I got to see several pilots I knew an crewed for in previous years, and I also got to see people I met there the past few years. Saturday night the main performer was Travis Tritt. I am not a country music fan, however, I did enjoy the music.
Here is a link to the photo album of pictures I took during the Great Texas Balloon Race.
Sunday morning was the last day of the balloon competition and the weather cooperated. When the event was over I headed towards Fort Worth to stay at my friend Sue`s house.