BOOMERS & BALLOONS
We were introduced to the ABQ Balloon Fiesta at our first event with the Escapees RV Club group known as the "Boomers".
|2006 ABQ Boomers in 15 RVs|
In previous years a club member had owned a hot air balloon and had used Boomers as volunteers to "crew" for him. The year we showed up he had sold his balloon and our group was told "no problem" -- just go over to the Pilot's Tent and sign up for a pilot. And off we went.
MEET THE LIBERTI FAMILY
What started out as a random assignment to meet Pilot Mike Liberti in Grid K-3 at 6:00 a.m. on Saturday morning became a decade-long team effort and a great friendship with Mike and his wife/crew chief Theresa ("T") Liberti and their two pilot sons, Chris and Daniel, and the rest of their families.
|Liberti Family launching together: (from the left) Daniel, Chris, and Mike|
|Luke's first flight with Pilot Mike Liberti, Tuesday, Oct.10, 2006|
|Judy with Pilot Eric in "Boris"|
|We were "initiated" into the Ballooning Family with a not-so traditional champagne ceremony|
HOSTING THE ABQ BOOMERS & BALLOONS RALLY
There were 15 RVs with the group in 2006 and the last few years we were dealing with 50 RV spaces in an area now called "Premium Box View", right on the landing zone! Last year we provided more than 100 crewing volunteers on 25+ hot air balloons. Volunteers earn coveted "crew passes" that get them free entry into all activities during the nine day event.
|Luke adds the Boomer Banner to our motorhome to identify our group's home base.|
|Our Boomer spaces are literally on the "flag line" for the designated landing and competition zone.|
LOVING OUR BALLOONS AND PILOTS
Annie the Ladybug chases her crew back to the launch field after a perfect flight.
BELOW: "Annie" looks to be whispering into the ear of "Clown", another Boomer crew balloon.