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Sun, Oct 14, 2007

ABQ Balloon Fiesta Announces Awards, Prize Winners

As the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta's many competitions come to an end, some lucky pilots are taking home great prizes for their scores in the 2007 flying competition.   

The prizes this year included a 2008 Honda Ridgeline pickup, an $8,000 Parmigiani watch and a Honda Gold Wing motorcycle, among others. These awards were up for grabs, and only the best pilots were able to 'rise to the occasion' (please note: the preceding pun belongs to the Balloon Fiesta staff and ANN assumes no responsibility for same... grin).

Buzz Biernacki, flying from Placitas, NM, won Thursday's Pole Grab, earning an elegant Parmigiani watch. From his balloon "Sky Draggin" he was able to outmaneuver the competition and win this exquisite timepiece.

David Bobel, traveling to Albuquerque from Rochester, Indiana, is the winner of Friday's Key Grab Competition, which was presented by the American Honda Motor Company.. Flying the balloon "That-A-Way", Bobel was able to capture the keys to a 2008 Honda Ridgeline Truck.

The overall winner of the week's competitions was Steve Lombardi of Texas. Pilot of both the "Winner's Circle" and "Mutual Funs," Lombardi was able to beat out hundreds of other balloonists to take home a Honda Gold Wing Motorcycle.

Sid Cutter was presented with his own plaque by the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, an event which, until now, was posthumous. Cutter founded the Albuquerque Aerostat Ascension Association with eight of his friends, and staged the first balloon rally in New Mexico along with Tom Rutherford. His contributions to Albuquerque and the sport of ballooning have earned him this recognition from his peers.

Gary Bennett also inducted Al Tetreault into the Ballooning Hall of Fame in recognition of his years of service to the sport of ballooning. Al helped set up the emergency services and procedures for the Balloon Fiesta, and helped to institute the Balloon Fiesta's security, which is acknowledged as one of the best secured events in the country.

FMI: www.balloonfiesta.com

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