How is the winner of the race determined?The Great Forest Park Balloon Race presented by PNC is a Hare and Hound-style race. “Orange Blossom”, The PNC Bank hot air balloon is the “Hare” and leads the pack, launching and landing first. Once “Orange Blossom” lands, the team lays an “X” out on the ground as a target. The other “Hound” balloons launch in pursuit and the pilot who drops his birdseed/bean bag nearest the center of the target is the winner!
Congrats to our 2018 winners!Please see below for the official winners of the 46th annual Great Forest Park Balloon Race presented by PNC Bank.
1st Place – Mike Bien – Chesterfield, MO 860 ft – “Curly Top”
2nd place – Jason Gaines-O’Fallon, MO 1,440 ft – Dirty Dogz Hot Dogs
3rd Place – Tom Caton-House Spring, MO, 1,600 ft “Time Traveler” flying for Maryville University
Private Entry – Mike Bien (Chesterfield, MO)
Mike began flying airplanes during college and received his pilot’s license in 1972. He was eventually balloon certified in 1984 and now operates Balloonacy, a local balloon ride business. A native St. Louisan, Mike identifies his roots as attending Little Flower,then Bishop DuBourg high school, with undergraduate degrees from Kirksville and Southeast Mo State and Graduate degrees from Lindenwood and Webster Universities.
Dirty Dogzs – Jason Gaines (O’Fallon, MO)
Attended my first Forest Park Balloon Race at age 5 in 1978. I would see the balloons fly over my house in Ballwin all summer long and would make my mom chase them down, I was hooked, they fascinated me for some reason. Began crewing in 1986 as a 13 year old. I began my flight training in 1997,and my childhood dream came true when I received my private pilots license in 2001 and commercial in 2003. Since then I have over 800 pic hours and flown in 20 states and 3 countries.
Maryville University – Tom Caton (House Springs, MO)
I have been flying hot air balloons since 1985 thanks to my cousin Larry and my brother Roy who got me involved in ballooning in the first place. It is a wonderful sport it’s been a lot of fun, meeting a lot of new people and having a great time with friends. It never gets old flying because each flight is different than the last so it’s always something new and exciting. It’s always great to see how much fun and excitement your passengers are having and being able to point out wildlife and different landmarks when flying. Being invited and being able to fly in the Great Forest Park Balloon Race for 30+ years has been a memorable part of my flying career. Enjoy life be happy 🙂