Balloon community secures additional year as host of national championship
POSTED: Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - 12:00pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - 12:14pm
Longview, TX — After securing the Balloon Federation of America’s U.S. National Championship for a fourth year, Great Texas Balloon Race officials said they intend to hand off the reins in 2016.
“I thought that we had done such a good job ... that we would seek the possibility of them adding just one year to our invent,” said Bill Bussey, Great Texas Balloon Race founder and championship liaison.
The championship usually is awarded to a city for three years, but officials with Longview’s ballooning event announced Monday that after completing the second of an originally three-year stint in conjunction with the Great Texas Balloon Race, the national organization had sought and accepted a bid to host the event for a fourth year.
Organizers do not intend to host the event again after 2015, said Gai Bennett, marketing and public relations director for the nonprofit organization that runs the Great Texas Balloon Race.
“It’s hard on us. It is hard on the volunteers. We are extremely proud of having it, but it is harder than what we are used to. It is a full week’s competition rather than three days,” Bennett said. “We have the greatest sponsors, and they have stepped up, and said yes we will cover it another year, but we need a break financially.”
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