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Table of Contents NATIONAL BALLON CLASSIC STAFF Staci Scheurenbrand, executive director Becky Kakac, secretary Offices at National Balloon Museum, 1601 N. Jefferson Way, Indianola 515-961-8415 ADMISSION The National Balloon Classic admission prices for 2013 are: » Mornings are free admission » $3 for adults or $10 per car load (evenings) » Kids 12 and under are free » Camping at field, $5 per night (does not include admission) » Groups are welcome. Contact 515-961-8415 This section is published by The Record-Herald and Indianola Tribune, 112 N. Howard St., Indianola, Iowa 50125, 515-961-2511 Publisher: Amy Duncan Sr. Account Executive: Cindy Nelson Staff: Susie Kling, Andrea Houghton, Mike Rolands

Welcome to the National Balloon Classic! ..................... 5

New leader has roots in Classic ....................................... 24

Schedule of events ............................................................ 6-8

Various events to fill air..................................................... 25

Scout project benefits Classic ....................................... 9-10

Specialty balloons ............................................................... 26

2013 balloon queen candidates ................................. 11-12

Exciting additions for 2013 Balloon Classic.................. 26

Weather ................................................................................. 13

National Balloon Classic Hall of Fame........................... 27

Balloon photos ............................................................... 14-18

National Balloon Classic Foundation............................. 27

Difference in balloons........................................................ 19

National Balloon Classic sponsors................................... 28

Build a hot air balloon from the basket up ........... 20-21

Photography tips................................................................. 29

Meet the bands ............................................................. 22-23

2014 planning in the works.............................................. 30

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Welcome to the National Balloon Classic! Staci Scheurenbrand Executive Director, National Balloon Classic

An Iowa Tradition for Over 40 Years!” is the central theme for the 2013 National Balloon Classic. For nine action-filled days, Iowa skies come alive with the magical beauty of hot air balloons sailing silently through the air and wowing spectators below. As the new executive director, I have high expectations to grow and develop the Classic to its full potential, while staying true to its established, well-respected roots. Nothing compares to the excitement of Mass Ascension as dozens of balloons — practically on top of one another — secure their place on the launch field and ready themselves to take flight. After dark, these colossal beauties re-inflate and light up the night landscape during the much-anticipated Nite Glow Extravaganza. You don’t want to miss the new sights, sounds and tastes for 2013.

This year we welcome vendors with offerings from traditional favorites to the not-so-traditional. (Sweet corn ice cream anyone?) We are very excited about our entertainment line-up, which includes outstanding live bands each night, and just for the kids, there is an all new Kids Land with inflatables, face-painting, carnival games and more. And of course, the star of the show … the skilled pilots who fly the many brilliant balloons including special shapes and other interesting designs. For me, the National Balloon Classic has great sentimental value. As a kid running around Indianola, chasing balloons and meeting pilots, to an adult working side-by-side with the finest group of balloon enthusiasts, sponsors, pilots, volunteers and supporters, I am both humbled and awestruck to be part of the Classic, which has been a cherished and successful event in our community for more than 40 years. Come join the fun!

Hot air balloons float above the National Balloon Classic field in Indianola during last year’s event. MICHAEL ROLANDS/RECORD-HERALD

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Schedule of events Friday,

July 26

5:30 p.m.: Brother Trucker, Classic Stage 6:30 p.m.: Balloon flight — Tip the Outhouse sponsored by Jim’s Johns 7 p.m.: 5K Road Race, Simpson College 7:30 p.m.: Brother Trucker, Classic Stage Dusk: Nite - Glow Extravaganza


July 27

6:30 a.m.: Balloon flight 9: a.m.–4 p.m.: Open Air Market on Indianola Square 11 a.m.: A Wacky Classic Parade on Indianola Square 5:30 p.m.: BS & the liars, Classic Stage 6 p.m.: Opening ceremonies 6:30 p.m.: Open the Skies Mass Ascension Balloon Flight 7:30 p.m.: BS & the liars, Classic Stage 9:30 p.m.: (dark) Fireworks followed by BS & the liars

A pair of hot air balloons float above rural Indianola during a morning flight of the 2012 National Balloon Classic. MICHAEL ROLANDS/RECORD-HERALD

A crew member is dwarfed by the inflating envelope of a hot air balloon last year at the National Balloon Classic in Indianola. MICHAEL ROLANDS/RECORD-HERALD

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Schedule of events Sunday,

July 28

6:30 a.m.: Competition balloon flight 12:30–3 p.m.: National Balloon Museum Hall of Fame induction 5 p.m.: Sonny Humbucker Band, Classic Stage 6:30 p.m.: Balloon flight 7:30 p.m.: Sonny Humbucker Band, Classic Stage


July 30

6:30 a.m.: Competition balloon flight 5:30 p.m.: Sydney Lett Band, Classic Stage 6:30 p.m.: Balloon flight 7:30 p.m.: Sydney Lett Band

Wednesday, Monday,

July 29

6:30 a.m.: Competition balloon flight 5:30 p.m.: Tony Bohnenkamp, Classic Stage 6:30 p.m.: Balloon flight 7:30 p.m.: Tony Bohnenkamp, Classic Stage

July 31

6:30 a.m.: Competition balloon flight 5:15 p.m.: Warren County Night — Warren County talent, Classic Stage followed by Past Vertical, Classic Stage 6:30 p.m.: Balloon flight 7:30 p.m.: Past Vertical, Classic Stage Dusk: Fire in the Sky — Midwest Largest Nite-Glow Extravaganza

Balloons light up the National Balloon Classic field during the night glow last year. MICHAEL ROLANDS/RECORD-HERALD

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Schedule of events Thursday,

Aug. 1

6:30 a.m.: Competition balloon flight 5:30 p.m.: The Rumley Brothers, Classic Stage 6:30 p.m.: Balloon flight 7:30 p.m.: The Rumley Brothers, Classic Stage Dusk: Nite-Glow Extravaganza


Aug. 2

6:30 a.m.: Competition balloon flight 5:30 p.m.: The James Biehn Band, Classic Stage 6:30 p.m.: Balloon flight 7:30 p.m.: The James Biehn Band, Classic Stage


Aug. 3

6:30 a.m.: Balloon flight 9 a.m.: National Balloon Classic 5K/10K Cross Country Run, National Balloon Classic Field. Register at: https://secure 4:30–9:30 p.m.: Iowa Wine Evening 5:30 p.m.: The Bob Pace Band, Classic Stage 6:30 p.m.: Balloon flight 7:30 p.m.: The Bob Pace Band, Classic Stage 9:30 p.m.: (dark) Fantastic Fireworks Classic Stage

Balloon pilot Randy Stone gets some help from his crew to reach a better launch position from a yard east of Indianola during an evening flight at the National Balloon Classic in 2012. MICHAEL ROLANDS/RECORD-HERALD

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Flags to fly thanks to Eagle Scout project By Steffi Lee Special to The Record-Herald


or some, summer break means family vacations and relaxation. But for one teenager, summer means working tirelessly to finish his project of restoring history. Fourteen-year-old Scott Meadows has been working on his Eagle Scout project, collecting flags for the National Balloon Classic since January. The flags will fly at the Balloon Classic field east of Indianola during the event. “When I first joined Boy Scouts, one of the boys who aged out had a mom who still came,” Meadows said. The mom provided Meadows with this idea, and when it came time for him to plan his Eagle Scout project, he knew it was what he wanted to do. “The main exhausting part was figuring out the paperwork,” Meadows said. Filing the paperwork to propose his project was an ongoing process

because everything in the wording had to be perfect. Once his project was accepted, Meadows then contacted the state governors asking for their flags. But he didn’t get what he wanted to hear. Scott “The governors didn’t Meadows really send me many flags,” Meadows. “I only got about 10 flags.” Only a quarter of the governors even responded, and those who did respond told Meadows it wasn’t possible. For some people, that might have been a dead end, but Meadows was persistent. “I sent an email to each of the Balloon Classic board members and to other balloon clubs throughout America,” Meadows said. “From one of the balloon clubs, a lady named Dawn Chase contacted me and forwarded my email to the message board that has over 2,000 members

worldwide.” His tenacity paid off, and within 48 hours, Meadows had promises and money for the flags through Chase herself, and many of her contacts. “It was sort of by luck that I got (the email),” Chase said. Chase was a Gold Award Girl Scout and her boyfriend was an Eagle Scout, which made her want to help

Meadows. “I had promises for all 50 state flags, each of the American territories, each of the military flags, the Yellow Ribbon flag and then a Support Our Troops flag,” he said. The entire budget for his Eagle Scout project is around $2,600, a lot of See EAGLE SCOUT, Page 10

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EAGLE SCOUT Continued from Page 9SP

which was covered by the donations. It was exciting and relieving. “I had kind of half wondered if my project had failed,” Meadows said. “Now all of a sudden, I have them all.” A former Eagle Scout himself, Tom Comfort, secretary of the National Balloon Classic, has been a driving force in Meadow’s project. “We think it’s a great opportunity,” Comfort said. “We’re really happy to work with him as an individual. It’s a tremendous opportunity for him and a great benefit for us.” It’s the second Eagle Scout project that has involved the National Balloon Classic. Now, with around 30 state flags deteriorating, Comfort knows how important it is to restore and refurbish the flags and flag poles. “And with the success he’s had, now we had to get 30 more flag poles,” Comfort said. Pam Meadows, Scott’s mother, has stood alongside him from the very beginning of this project. From showing him how to create a mail merge

document on the computer to driving him for supplies, she’s been his rock. “The parents’ role is to be supportive, but not to do any of the work,” she said. She said the entire family was disappointed when Meadows received rejection letters. “But Scott had a plan to try to drum up more flags,” she said. “He’s not supposed to financially fund the project, so it was exciting that one of the emails got to a very generous person.” The faith and support from the ballooning community exceeded any expectations, she said. Coming from a family passionate about the National Balloon Classic, this project has really let Meadows focus on both his family roots, preserving history and community service. “This is something that when (he) has kids, (he’ll) be able to come see these flags,” she said. “It’s also a gift for the community.” Meadows said he hopes people outside of Indianola see these flags and see the importance in them at the Balloon Classic. For him, he already knows how he’ll feel. “I’ll be really happy that it’ll all be finished.”


A full moon adds its glow to a hot air balloon during the night glow last year at the National Balloon Classic field in Indianola. MICHAEL ROLANDS/RECORD-HERALD

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2013 Balloon Classic queen candidates MORGAN HULICK




Age: 17 Parents: Cara and Tim Hulick High school attended: Indianola School and community involvement: Member of National Honor Society; varsity football, boys’ basketball and competition cheerleader; DECA member; Mu Alpha Theta member; tutor to other IHS students Future plans for work or college: Admitted to Iowa State University for fall 2014, College of Design Morgan Why do you want to be Hulick a National Balloon Classic queen? The Balloon Classic is one of the special things that Indianola is known for and I’m proud to have grown up here. I feel that I am a good role model as well as a good representative of the young ladies in our community. I would be proud to serve in this role.

Age: 17 Parents: Chad and Kristie Elbert High school attended: Indianola School and community involvement: Six years of show choir, three years of cheerleading, 13 years of Girl Scouts, 13 years of dance, four years of Mayors Youth Council, NHS, STAT Youth Group Future plans for work or college: I plan on going to college and studying to be a doctor. Why do you want to be Taylor a National Balloon ClasElbert sic queen? I want to be balloon queen because it is a great way to get involved with the community and I am so excited to be involved with showcasing our town to others by being a part of the Balloon Classic.

Age: 17 Parents: Joe and Crystal Dinsmore High school attended: Indianola School and community involvement: Impulse dance team and Mayors Youth Council Future plans for work or college: I plan to go to college next fall after I graduate. I plan on attending ISU and getting my degree in chemical engineering. Why do you want to be a National Balloon Classic queen? I want to be National Meredith Balloon Classic queen because Dinsmore the balloons are one of my favorite parts of Indianola. My family and I have always loved going to the balloons and being part of them ever since we moved here. I always remember walking around and seeing the queen and wanting to be her someday and have that opportunity.

Age: 15 Parents: Scott and Michelle Moon High school attended: Indianola School and community involvement: Impulse dance team, Service Corps, Science Club, 4-H, St. Thomas Aquinas Teens, high school cheerleading, AllStar cheerleading, math tutoring and All-Star cheer coach. Future plans for work or college: Attend veterinary school at Purdue University and then earn a doctorate degree in marine biology at Virginia InAlexa Moon stitute of Marine Science. Why do you want to be a National Balloon Classic queen? I would like to be the National Balloon Classic queen to represent our supportive community and its involvement with the Balloon Classic. I would also spend my time as National Balloon Classic queen helping others enjoy the hot air balloons and all of the week’s activities.

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2013 Balloon Classic queen candidates AUBRI WESTLAKE



Age: 18 Parents: Doug and Anita Westlake High school attended: Indianola School and community involvement: In school I participated on the dance team, cheer squad, tennis and choir. I am currently president of my 4-H Club and have been involved for nine years. I really enjoy giving back to the community and have been involved in various walks, planting and maintaining the Indianola community flower garden, Linus project, volleyball with Good Samaritan residents, Jeans for Teens, ICYF and Meals for the Aubri Heartland. Westlake Future plans for work or college: I plan on attending Iowa State University in the fall and majoring in business. Why do you want to be a National Balloon Classic queen? I would like to be balloon queen because I have been involved with the balloons all my life and always looked up to the balloon queen as a role model. It would be a great experience to give back to the community and be a role model for other girls.

Age: 17 Parents: Patrick and Kim Reding High school attended: Indianola School and community involvement: Varsity football cheerleading, high school competition cheer squad, varsity Side One Show Choir, varsity high school girls’ track, member of National Honor Society, Circle of Friends, Mu Alpha Theta, Redeemer Lutheran Church, helper for Special Olympics and Peer P.E. and volunteer camp counselor for Camp Jubilee Katelyn Future plans for work or college: Reding Attend the University of Iowa and major in nursing. Why do you want to be a National Balloon Classic queen? Growing up in Indianola I have always loved attending the National Balloon Classic. After having the opportunity to ride in a hot air balloon, I have been fascinated with all the activities at this event. I know how important the Balloon Classic is to our community and it would be an honor for me to represent Indianola as a balloon queen and to learn more about this well-known event.

Age: 17 Parents: David and Raynae Kitsis High school attended: Indianola School and community involvement: I was a two year member of high school choir and a member of OPUS Honor Choir, served as a student council representative my sophomore year, attended the Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership conference as a sophomore, spent a year as a writer for Indianola High School’s newspaper, The Indian, and will continue throughout my senior year. For the past two years I have volunteered at my synagogue, Temple B’nai Jeshurun, during our annual Jewish Food Fair. This year I plan on helping to crew for Team FlyingKOAT at the National Balloon Classic, and have Leah Kitsis volunteered helping vendors at RAGBRAI the year it came through Indianola. Future plans for work or college: Although I am undecided and still searching for which college I will attend, I plan on going to a four-year university to study pre-physical therapy. After four years I’ll move on to graduate school in pursuit of my doctorate. Why do you want to be a National Balloon Classic queen? Growing up in Indianola has truly shaped me into the person I am today. It would be an honor to be able to represent not only the town I’ve grown up in, but also an event as special and close to heart as the National Balloon Classic.

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Balloonists scour daily weather reports By Steffi Lee Special to The Record-Herald


here’s a reason why the National Balloon Classic is held in the same location at the same time annually. Statistics illustrate winds are less prominent during these two weeks of the year, making it the best time to fly. “It’s just hot and there aren’t a lot of storm currents moving through,” said Steven West of Indianola. Hot air balloons rise with heat and descend as it cools, and they need to have winds of less than 10 miles an hour on the ground, West said. This makes what people call the “dog days of summer” the prime time to fly. “It just tends to be hot and calm the first of August,” he said. Rain matters to the weather conditions just as much as the wind. “No rain within about 75 miles is the bare minimum,” West said. For West, his weather experiences with the Classic originated many

A pair of hot air balloons float above rural Indianola during a 2012 evening flight at the National Balloon Classic. MICHAEL ROLANDS/RECORD-HERALD

years ago. West started doing weather for the National Balloon Classic with his father in the 1970s. “(My father) knew that in the ’70s, when (ballooning) was still an evolving sport, people were making bad decisions,” West said. “He decided

that we could do better. We took it on as a project, neither of us being meteorologists, but we essentially were self taught.” In modern day ballooning, the National Weather Service plays a huge role in weather preparation for the National Balloon Classic. It used to be difficult when the sport first started. “In the 1970s, the National Weather Service didn’t even know what we wanted as far as models, reports or information we’ve been looking at,” he said. “In the last 40 years, it’s come a long way.” But the Internet and smartphone age has improved weather communication immensely. “When we started, we had to drive to Des Moines twice a day to the weather bureau to look at their printed maps,” he said. “Then we had to drive them back down.” An improvement was when people relied on fax machines to communicate data from the satellite

receiving system. “Now with the Internet, I can do it all from my cellphone,” West said. “The amount of information out there is vastly spread and everybody has access to everything the National Weather Service puts out.” The Classic is safer and Iowans are far more informed than they were before, he said. Kenny Podrazik, a meteorologist at the Des Moines Weather Forecast Office for the National Weather Service, said his office is an asset to the ballooning community. “(Balloonists) call in the office every now and then looking for flight information for when they’re going to go up,” Podrazik said. “We always encourage them to call us back if they need anything.” One unique aspect about how West tracks the local weather provides Indianola with more information than what comes from the See WEATHER, Page 21

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Difference in balloons

By Steffi Lee Special to The Record-Herald

Racing Balloons v • Designed for competition • Tall and slender style • Concept of the racing balloon first gained attention in Europe • Shortened response time for the envelope • Meant for people who desire to go up and down quickly • Lindstrand Balloons USA has the X-Series — currently more than 55 X-Series balloons being flown throughout the United States • Smaller volume • Aerodynamic shape • More maneuverability • Responds twice as fast compared to the round, conventional balloon • Can come in a variety of different sizes

Conventional/Round Balloons y • Designed to float • Not expected to achieve a maximum descent rate greater than 800 feet per minute

Heart's Desire, owned by Randy Stone of Indianola.

With a Twist owned by Grant Pfeifer of West Des Moines. PHOTOS SPECIAL TO THE RECORD HERALD

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Build a hot air balloon from the basket up There’s an art to creating the flying beauties. By Steffi Lee Special to The Record-Herald


here’s more to the National Balloon Classic than just nine days of color. It’s a complete showing of a unique art — the art of constructing a hot air balloon. For many, it all starts from within. “It’s very much a family-involved sport,” said Lisa Kempner, national sales director of Lindstrand Balloons. “It becomes a passion for them and it’s something they can share with their friends.” And the passion all starts with building the balloon. There are four components to a hot air balloon: the basket, envelope, burner and instruments. The most common sport balloons are 77,000 cubic feet or 90,000 cubic feet. Those balloons typically

hold the pilot and two to three people. It all starts with the man-made basket. Hot air balloons have evolved throughout the years, but the main material that hasn’t changed is wicker. It’s lightweight, but serves as the best material for strength, flexibility and repair. “If you damage it, you can just weave another section right in,” Kempner said. Stainless steel frames help maintain the structure for the wicker for years. Wicker’s strength-to-weight ratio, in addition to its impact absorbency, are also ideal for ballooning. “When you land and the basket touches down, it will absorb the shock and impact instead of the occupants,” Kempner said. But that’s not the only significant aspect about the wicker basket.

“From the beginning to the end, (the basket) is one weaver’s creation,” Kempner said. Hot air balloons are often known for the colorful fabric and patterned designs, often referred to as the envelope. The envelope is imperative for the balloon’s airworthiness and strength. Envelopes are often made with high-tenacity nylon base fabrics and a polyurethane or silicone coatings. It’s constructed panel-by-panel. First, you cross seam the panels into vertical segments, also known as gores. These gores are then joined and vertical load tapes are added. One seam in particular is considered to be the most challenging. “It’s very interesting to get the last seam up,” said Kempner. “There are 900 yards of fabric under one sewing machine.” Kempner calls that moment magic. Many seamstresses sew on envelope parts at the same time, unlike the basket, which is one person’s work,

which is why it takes longer to finish the basket than the envelope. The balloon’s ascending and descending power comes from the burner. Modern hot air balloons use propane. Once the pilot opens the fuel tanks, propane travels through hoses to the pilot light. It is ignited and that’s when you’re ready to inflate the balloon. Every manufacturer has its own exclusive burner, she said. The size of the envelope helps determine the number of burners. Sport balloons commonly have a single or double burner, while larger commercial ride balloons may have triple or quad burners. Another important component in hot air balloons are instruments. Before improved technology, instruments used to have pyrometer wires that would pose risks. Now it’s common to use digital, wireless instruments. See ART, Page 21

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ART Continued from Page 20

“You want to know the temperature of your fabric,” Kempner said. “The hotter you’re heating your fabric, the quicker it’s going to wear out. The hotter it is outside, the hotter you have to heat the balloon in order to get the same performance and lift you would get on a cooler day.” Balloons also need a gasoline powered fan to put cold air into the balloon when preparing to take off. And just like any other piece of art, cost figures into the design of a balloon. “Once you decide that this is what you want to do, you can find a good used balloon for around $15,000,” Kempner said. “Brand new, you’re probably looking at $35,000 to $45,000.” Like a car, hot air ballooning is an investment, Kempner said. Pilots need insurance for their aircraft, fuel and storage. It’s also important to understand the distinction between a commercial pilot and private pilot when buying insurance. “Once you start taking people for a ride and charging them, you’re a

commercial pilot,” Kempner said. “Your insurance costs are higher and there are other expenses that are related to running a business.” Insurance costs are determined based on the number of years the pilot has been flying, the pilot’s flying record, balloon characteristics, number of pilot-in-command hours and accidents. The annual average for a private pilot begins at around $750. Propane costs around $1.50 a gallon and an hour flight averages 22 gallons. The instrument costs around $1,750 and burners average $8,000. Storage fees aren’t always necessary. “The neat thing about a hot air balloon is that you can store it in your garage,” Kempner said. “Everything collapses and breaks down really small. You don’t have to store it in a hanger like other aircraft.” Kempner said some people sometimes keep everything in a trailer, so they can leave at their convenience. Beneath the display of color, there’s a lot of work and money that goes into it. A lot of aspects equate to vehicles or airplanes — from the construction to the cost — but it’s an aircraft, and every balloon is unique.

WEATHER Continued from Page 13

National Weather Service. “We release a weather balloon every morning at 5, and at 5 in the evening,” West said. “Rely on computers all that you want, but actually doing the measurements yourself is an accurate way to check.” Pibal — small balloons that measure wind speed and direction — or pilot balloon observation help determine wind specifics. “When you read weather service reports for Des Moines, Des Moines isn’t Indianola,” West said. “That’s why we do the pibal, so we have readings for Indianola.” Although the Classic is scheduled around the same time every year, people still always need to observe safety precautions. West said it is unlikely balloons will fly every morning and evening. “You can have a thunderstorm that’s a significant distance away and have wind that’s blowing out ahead of the thunderstorm, or out away from the thunderstorm,” he said. “This can catch

people unaware or unprepared because it’s unexpected.” Sometimes, a complete lack of wind can be dangerous. “In Iowa, if you get stuck over a cornfield there is absolutely no wind to move you, or if you get stuck over water, you can have a problem,” he said. Having too many balloons congregated in one area and a lack of wind results in congestion problems. And a complete lack of wind isn’t the only dangerous factor when it comes to landing. You first need the appropriate amount of landing space. That’s why the Classic is located in Indianola. “You can’t have them all come down at the same place and same time,” West said. “You want them spread out. Indianola is a very nice location to fly because if you go to northern Iowa for example, there isn’t a lot of landing space. In southern Iowa, there is a lot of open pasture land. It’s not completely wooded and not completely cornfields.” This year marks the 20th anniversary of the ’93 floods. West says compared to what happened that year, he’s optimistic about this year’s Classic. “Certainly I can’t tell what the winds are three weeks from now, but I think it looks very good,” he said.

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Meet the bands Sonny Humbucker Band July 28, 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. Sonny Humbucker Band of Des Moines specializes in retooling select songs by 1960s British Invasion bands such as the Who, the Kinks, Badfinger and the Beatles. The band performed at Pickard Park last year and at Simpson College’s 150th celebration in 2010. The band members also play original tunes as well as covers of songs by popular alternative and indie rock groups, and they regularly perform acoustic shows.

Tony Bohnenkamp July 29, 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. Tony Bohnenkamp is a Des Moines musician who has been active in the music industry for more than 20 years. He is the owner of a recording studio, a well-known dueling pianist, the drummer for the Nadas, the singer for

Lunchbox and a composer. He has performed at the Blue Moon Piano Bar, Jordan Creek Town Center, Diamond Jo Casino in Dubuque and will perform at the Iowa State Fair.

Sydney Lett Band July 30, 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. Sydney Lett is a young country music singer and guitarist from Des Moines. She performs songs by artists Miranda Lambert and JoDee Messina. Sydney has performed “Count the Stars,” a song written for Iowa soldiers and their families, at several central Iowa send-off ceremonies for military troops heading overseas and at community events. She has shared the stage with Jason Brown and Wisconsin country band of the year, the Back Home Boys. Lett has also shared the stage with country artists including LeAnn Rimes, Blake Shelton, Trailer Choir, Gloriana, Joe Nichols, the Lost Trailers and Diamond Rio.

Sydney Lett performs July 30 on the Classic Stage. PHOTOS SPECIAL TO THE RECORD HERALD

The Rumley Brothers Aug. 1, 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. The Rumley Brothers are a country rock band from Iowa. Members are from Leon, Osceola and Humeston, and See BANDS, Page 23

Tony Bohnenkamp performs July 29 on the Classic Stage.

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Meet the bands Continued from Page 22

Mercer, Mo. The band includes Tyson, Wyatt and Jason Rumley, along with Josh Thompson and Chat Gwinn. They play their own brand of country with the songs of their heroes and country legends like George Strait, Dwight Yoakum and more modern acts like Dierks Bentley and Justin Moore. In 2011 the boys released “Grandpa’s Outlaws.”

The Jim Biehn Band Aug. 2, 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. James M. Biehn began playing the trumpet at the age of 10 and then guitar at Norwalk High School where he won multiple soloist awards and helped his high school band win first place in the state competition two years in a row. He attended Southwestern Community College in Creston and became

proficient in music theory, jazz keyboard and big band/vocal arranging. He began teaching guitar in 1998 at Ground Zero Music in Indianola and by 2001 he had officially quit his “day job” and has been teaching guitar and bass guitar full time ever since. He has played with bands including the Nadas, the Jeff Banks Band, Hyde Park and Soapbox Prophets. He is a first-call studio musician in central Iowa, and has contributed to albums by the Nadas, Bonne Finken, the Josh Davis Band as well as various commercial works. In 2005, he was the winner of Lazer 103.3’s Guitar Battle, which earned him the opportunity to play onstage with the band Tesla. In 2006 he accepted an adjunct faculty position at Southwestern Community College teaching guitar. He instructs a studio of about 75 students and in 2009, opened the Central Iowa Music Lab.

The Rumley Brothers play the Classic Stage on Aug. 1. PHOTOS SPECIAL TO THE RECORD HERALD

The Bob Pace Band Aug. 3, 5:30 and 7:30 p.m.

The Jim Biehn Band performs Aug. 2 on the Classic Stage.

Guitarist Bob Pace has entertained Midwest audiences for more than 40 years. He led the Tuesday night house band at Blues on Grand for almost 20 years. He’s a member of the Iowa Blues Hall of Fame and the Iowa Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. He has also won the Iowa Blues Challenge solo/duo competition with Steve E. George.

He plays Fridays at the Gas Lamp and Wednesdays at Zimm’s on Ingersoll Avenue in Des Moines. Pace has opened for blues icons Jimmy Vaughan, Johnny Winter, John Mayall, Tab Benoit, Tower of Power, Delbert McClinton and countless others. He picked up his first guitar at age 10 and was serious by 14.

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New leader has roots in Classic By Steffi Lee Special to The Record-Herald


ndianola native Staci Scheurenbrand is no stranger to the National Balloon Classic. “I’ve been a huge fan of the Classic since I was a little girl,” Scheurenbrand said. “I remember the balloons flying off of Simpson College. My husband was on the board a few years back and I used to do some volunteering with him.” Now she’s in charge of making sure these balloons actually take off. Scheurenbrand is the new executive director of the National Balloon Classic. She was previously the director of WeLift Job Search. “I was presented this opportunity and the more I learned about it, the more excited I got about it,” she said. “I love working in nonprofits and I love working in organizations that are in my own community and work on behalf of my own community.” Giving back to the community is

what she’s really focusing on. Scheurenbrand knows the economic impact the event has on Indianola and she says that is an exciting aspect of her new position. Her background in marketing, communications and nonprofit management from Simpson College is also a perfect fit for this position, she said. Scheurenbrand has one word to describe her opportunity to work with hot air balloons: humbling. “It’s really truly an honor,” she said. “It truly is. All the memories I have of this event are all good memories. Some of the best memories of my childhood are running around and meeting the pilots. It’s been in the community for over 40 years.” Scheurenbrand says she hopes to continue the tradition of keeping the spirit and energy for the Balloon Classic alive. She hopes to learn and observe from her first time running the event. After thoroughly understanding the dynamics first hand,

Scheurenbrand said she hopes to use her learned concepts to implement in years to come. “My biggest goal is that everyone who comes to the Classic hopefully sees a great show,” she said. “Even if the balloons don’t fly due to weather, they still leave thinking, ‘Wow, Indianola’s a great place to be.’ ” Under her leadership, she says no one will be a stranger to Indianola and the National Balloon Classic. And this is the attitude she hopes to garner from the rest of Indianola’s residents as well, because experiencing the Balloon Classic throughout her life has taught the Indianola native one thing: a sense of community. “We need to stay respectful and stay committed to our well-respected roots,” she said. “There are already so many things about the Classic that already work. It’s really like a family. From the pilots to the volunteers and the board of directors. It’s just a complete honor being a part of it.”


Ron Nollen of Hartland, Wis., flies his NASCAR themed hot air balloon, Last Lap, over the National Balloon Classic field in Indianola in 2012. MICHAEL ROLANDS/RECORD-HERALD

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 • 25

Events to fill air for racers, spectators Mornings are competitive, while evening activities focus on crowd involvement. By Blair Schilling Special to The Record-Herald


ordes of balloonists and spectators will soon descend on Indianola and the surrounding area for the annual National Balloon Classic, July 26-Aug. 3. A multitude of races and skills competitions will test balloon pilots during the festivities. Morning activities are used to determine the National Balloon Classic champion. Competitions feature multiple events each day as balloonists complete various tasks and accumulate points. In the evenings, balloon events focus more on entertaining spectators. Bill Clemons, race director of the National Balloon Classic, said the evening activities center on crowd involvement.

“The evenings are geared more toward the crowd participation,” said Clemons, who is in his sixth year as race director. “The hula hoop drops, the fish in the pond, the key grabs — those are geared in the evenings for the crowd to watch and they may actually kind of participate because they root the guy on and hope that he does good.” The crowd-focused activities allow spectators to view balloonists up close as they compete for prizes in various games. Many of the evening activities test the participants’ ability to drop markers from their baskets. They attempt to drop rings around various objects or compete in contests like tic-tac-toe. Among the most popular and lively National Balloon Classic events is the Don Kersten Memorial Task named for an infamous flight by the U.S.

Ballooning Hall of Fame member. “Back in 1966 … (Kersten) was flying out of Indianapolis Speedway and hit an outhouse that had a lady inside of it,” Clemons said. “It was probably one of the first ballooning lawsuits that happened. She wasn’t hurt, or nothing, but she was certainly embarrassed.” As a tribute to Kersten, balloonists attempt to tip over an outhouse in the event bearing his name. While evening festivities are often whimsical in nature, morning races take a more serious tone as participants take to the air seeking the National Balloon Classic title. Timed races and accuracy drops test balloonists’ skills. One event that can run in either the evening or morning, according to Clemons, is the hare ‘n’ hound race in which a “hare” lead balloon takes flight before setting a mark which the pursuing “hound” balloons then attempt to hit with their own dropped markers.

Multiple races run in the mornings with a top score of 1,000 points for each event. The balloonist to compile the most points by the conclusion of the weeklong competition earns the title. “In the morning, there is a hardcore group of competitors that come from all across the country that are world champions, national champions that are vying for the Indianola title. To win in Indianola is a huge thing amongst balloonists,” Clemons said. Approximately 100 balloonists are registered for this year’s events. The race director, who first competed in Indianola as a balloonist in 1987, noted the unique aspect community involvement plays in the National Balloon Classic. “We have over 100 different landowners that have given us permission to use their yards for target areas — that’s pretty impressive,” Clemons said. “That’s a great credit to Indianola and the landowners.”

26 • Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Specialty Balloons

New sponsors, vendors offer exciting additions By Steffi Lee Special to The Record-Herald


Specialty balloons this year include Wicked, Spunky the Skunk, the Purple People Eater and Freedom (an eagle). SUBMITTED PHOTO

isitors to the National Balloon Classic are in for a treat. “We’re welcoming new sponsors,” said Staci Scheurenbrand, executive director of the National Balloon Classic. “We’re welcoming new vendors and we have an entertainment director who lined up some wonderful bands for every night of the Classic.” From July 26 to Aug. 3, Indianola’s skies will burst with color with hot air balloons flown by pilots from all over the world. But because it is a weather-dictated event, coordinators have scheduled plenty of new family entertainment and children’s activities. “We have an all new Kids Land,” Scheurenbrand said.

The Kids Land activities include carnival games, face painting and inflatables for children to enjoy. The ride operator, Andy Williams, has a large balloon that fits up to 14 people. The traditional Nite Glow Extravaganzas are scheduled for July 26, July 31 and Aug. 1. Fireworks displays are scheduled for each Saturday. The Indianola Open Air Market on the Indianola town square is scheduled for July 27. For nine days, spectators will get a chance to not only see pilots from all over the world fly colorful balloons, but they will also get a chance to experience what Indianola has to offer from morning until evening. “We’re building upon the traditions of the past,” Scheurenbrand said.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 • 27

National Balloon Classic Hall of Fame

Three to join honored ranks T

his year’s United States Ballooning Hall of Fame committee has selected three inductees for induction. The three chosen are Dennis Floden of Florida, Bill Murtorff of Texas and Dr. Clayton Thomas of Massachusetts. The committee includes representatives from the Balloon Federation of America and the National Balloon Museum and must consist of at least five members. Inductees are selected in a merit-based process that looks at the individual’s achievements, contributions, character, sportsmanship and longevity in ballooning. The induction of the new candidates will be at 1 p.m., Sunday, July 28, at the National Balloon Museum. Admission to the event is free, and refreshments will follow the ceremony.

Dennis Floden Dennis Floden, also known as Capt. Phogg, has more than 45 years experience in ballooning as a competitor, teacher, manufacturer, ambassador and representative of several Dennis of America’s commercial Floden brands. Floden was the first World Hot Air Balloon champion in 1971, and has flown in numerous places, including England, Croatia, Serbia, Sweden, Russia, Canada and many states. He also recognized balloons as a media front, and began flying with more

commercial intents. This developed into his most well-known accomplishment, which was Kellogg’s Tony the Tiger hot air balloon. Floden has now retired to Anna Maria Island, Fla., and is planning to attend the induction ceremony.

Bill Murtorff Bill Murtorff began flying lessons in 1971 and achieved more than 3,800 flights in almost every possible flight condition. In the late ’70s and early ’80s he served two terms on the Balloon Federation Bill of America board as Murtorff president. He is the only pilot to have participated in all 26 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiestas and published a Houston Balloon Association newsletter for more than 20 years. At the time of his death, Tom Hamilton remembered Murtorff in Balloon Life and quoted him as saying, “I always tried to get the stories that others were afraid to print.” He had retired in Mexico and died in 1998.

Dr. Clayton Thomas Dr. Clayton Thomas, also known as the “Dare-Devil Doctor of Dingley Dell,” was born in Illinois in 1921, earned his medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia and a M.P.H. degree from Harvard University School of Public Health. He and his wife, Margaret Ann, have four

children, all of whom became certified commercial balloon pilots; one has a ballooning business and another operates a repair station and the Balloon School of Massachusetts at Dingley Dell at Clayton Brimfield. Thomas Thomas participated in development of techniques which contribute to safe flying today, and founded the Balloon School of Massachusetts and Balloon Port. He was certified as a pilot of gas balloons with helium, logged approximately 1,800 hours as a commercial balloon pilot and also flew single engine planes and helicopters. Thomas cannot attend the induction ceremony, but recently received the plaque at a special recognition in Massachusetts.

National Balloon Classic Foundation Helen Bartholomew Mary Geiger Orrie Koehlmoos Gib McConnell Larry McConnell Eldon McElroy Darcy Moeller

Rich Nelson Donald Prine Donna Rieck Dennis Shull Jim Thorius Michael Van Hamme Martha West

Balloon Classic social media Facebook: pages/National-Balloon-Classic/ 385205488208976 Twitter: INBClassic, use hashtag #inbclassic2013 Instagram: INBClassic Email: Website:

28 • Wednesday, July 24, 2013

2013 National Balloon Classic sponsors Presenting Sponsor Community Bank Medical Trailer Herold Trailer Sales Mercy Clinics Farmer Appreciation Night Indianola Chiropractors Community Bank Warren County Fair National Balloon Classic Pilot Recognition Banquet Balloons Over Iowa Iowa Balloonist Association

National Balloon Classic Sponsor Building Hy-Vee of Indianola Sponsors ABCM/Westview Care Ctr. Al and Mel Appenzeller A Special Event DJ Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company Balloons Over Iowa Bank of the West Barker Implement Bartholomew Farms BASF Bayer CropScience

Bendon Plumbing, Heating, and A/C Bob’s Custom Trophies Drew and Diane Bracken Cal’s Fine Food and Spirits Joe and Erma Campopiano Casey’s General Stores Cemen Tech Central IA Insurance/Todd Isley City State Bank Charles Collins, DDS Tom and Keri Comfort Community Bank Country Financial - Rob R. Keller Country Propane Crain Chiropractic Karen Creager and Steve Barker Crouse Cafe Dental Professionals, PLC — Drs. Jacobsen, Pins, Vespa and Main Details Plus Inc. Doll Distributing LLC Downing Construction Dick and Phyllis Drake Edwards Electrical Engineering Equipment Ellis Law Offices

Embassy Suites Des Moines Downtown Funaro’s Deli & Bakery Fusion Fitness Gib’s A&W All American Food Good Samaritan Society — Indianola Greater Des Moines Convention & Visitors Bureau Gary and Kamie Haynes Herberger Construction Herberger Family Herold Trailer Sales Hy-Vee of Indianola Indianola Chamber of Commerce Indianola Family Dentistry Indianola Municipal Utilities Indianola Pizza Ranch Inc. Indy 66/Jiffy Xpress Iowa Balloonist Association Iowa Realty Iowa Water Management Corporation J.E. Meadows & Co. L.C. Jefferson Plaza and Orchard Plaza Jerico Services Inc. Jim’s Johns

Taking to the sky

Karey Bishop — Iowa Realty Bob and Susie Kling M&M Sales Company Mahaska Communication Group/IMU Partners Mary Donaghy Insurance McCoy True Value Hardware Medicap Pharmacy Mercy Medical Center MidAmerican Energy Company Miller Electric Misty Soldwisch — RE/MAX Innovations News Radio 1040 WHO Noble Ford Ohnemus Construction Overton Funeral Home Parker Signs & Graphics Inc. Peoples Bank Peoples Company of Indianola Pierce Brothers Repair Mike and Carol Polson Power Protection Products Principal Financial Group Quality Plumbing, Heating and A/C RE/MAX Innovations The Record-Herald and Indianola Tribune

National Balloon Classic members $150 Robert and Bonnie Baldus Donald and Patricia Brandt Chuck Kerr, CLU Mike and Sue Coppess Indianola Veterinary Clinic LLC Robert and Patricia Salik Marv and Barb Van Sickle


Bill Smith of Storm Lake pilots Condor II and B.J. Anderson of Clive helms Dreams Do Come True during the Aug. 1, 2012, evening flight of the National Balloon Classic in Indianola. MICHAEL ROLANDS/RECORD-HERALD

Route 65 Harley Davidson Shop S&H Electric Doug Shull Shull & Co. P.C. Simpson College Snyder & Associates Inc. Southtown Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram Spindustry Digital Sports Page Grill Summerset Winery The Kuhns Group Theisen’s of Indianola Tim McConnell Photography Trembly Plumbing & Heating Van Ryswyk Insurance Vanderpool Construction V R ID Cards Marlene Wall Wal-Mart Warren County Economic Development Corp. Waste Management of Iowa Weinman Insurance Wells Fargo Steven West, DDS WHO-TV 13 “Wicked” The Broadway Musical

Alan Dyer and Jeanne Baker Dani Clark Deer Run Golf Club Randy, Sue and Emily Edwards Dorothy Ehlert Executive Laser Wash Fareway Stores Inc. Marylin Gorham

Bill and Kris Gross Doug and Jodene Hansen John and Joan Hartung Carol F. Kenney Ned A. Kluever Legacy Asset Management Inc. Sam and Jane Martin McKee Family Shorthorns Leroy and Kathryn Moore Dennis and Linda Nicholson Sharon Phillips Steve and Jenny Scheurenbrand Bob and Janice Shelton State Farm Insurance Chad Kuehl Agency Sternquist Construction Randy and Lisa Stone Jon and Margaret Vernon

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 • 29

Shutterbug’s paradise Crafty shooters can create lasting images with a few tips By Michael Rolands


he National Balloon Classic is a target-rich environment for photographers. Believe it or not, that can be a problem. Point a camera in virtually any direction and you will get a good photo of a colorful balloon. But after looking at photo after photo of beautiful balloons against a blue sky, you may be wondering why all of your shots are beginning to look the same. The difference between a good photo and a great, memorable image often comes down to careful composition and an eye for detail. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your National Balloon Classic photo opportunity. Keep your perspective Fully inflated balloons can be massive.

A sky full of them is an awesome sight. Communicating that scale through a photo requires a few tricks. One way is to include something in the frame to provide a sense of scale. This can be a house, a truck, a person — almost anything that will give the viewer of the photo an idea of just how large the balloons are. Eyes on the skies A balloon in a bright blue sky can make a good photo. That same balloon against a backdrop of dramatic cloud formations lit by the setting or rising sun can be the source of a much more memorable shot. Seeking out dramatic skies is a trick landscape photographers have been using since the dawn of photography. Taking full advantage of such a sky requires cropping loosely enough to include both the balloons and the clouds.

Be reflective Take advantage of ponds and lakes to capture reflections of the balloons. But don’t limit yourself to bodies of water. Look for reflections of balloons in sunglasses, car mirrors and more. Keep your eyes open and you may find a unique shot. Frame your balloons Look for ways to frame your shots. For instance, balloons in the process of inflating can provide a frame for balloons already in the air. Set your alarm clock To avoid crowds, plan your photo expeditions for the morning flights. You may be bleary-eyed later in the day, but your efforts will be rewarded. Be abstract The brightly colored designs on hot air balloon envelopes create a great opportunity for abstract photos. This is particularly true when the balloons are

A pair of hot air balloons float above rural Indianola during a morning flight at the 2012 National Balloon Classic. MICHAEL ROLANDS/RECORD-HERALD

inflating. Special shapes Specialty shape balloons offer unique opportunities for photographers. For instance, balloons shaped like oversized animals can offer humorous juxtapositions. As the balloons are being inflated, try moving in close to capture just a portion of the balloons — like a foot See SHUTTER, Page 30

30 • Wednesday, July 24, 2013

2014 planning in the works By Steffi Lee Special to The Record-Herald


ven though the 2013 National Balloon Classic hasn’t finished, executive director Staci Scheurenbrand says she already has a binder filled with ideas for next year. “I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that we only work for a few months out of the year to put on the Classic,” Scheurenbrand said. “My 2014 folder has ideas with more ways to grow, ways to make this exciting and a great offering for our city.” Although the Classic ends Aug. 3, Scheurenbrand said work never ends. “On Aug. 5, we’ll be hitting it right over again and starting plans for 2014,” she said. The first step in tackling the project of coordinating the National Balloon Classic is a large cleaning day. “We’ll continue to clean the field and the building,” she said. “We don’t hire those things out. We have an extremely

hardworking board of directors and an incredible army of volunteers.” Scheurenbrand says more than 150 volunteers help out with the Classic and make the event possible. “They’re just amazing people,” she said. “Some of our volunteers have been with us for nearly 25 years.” After cleaning, there is always work to be completed. Whether it deals with contacting potential new sponsors or following up with balloonists, staff members stay busy. Becky Kakac, office manager of the National Balloon Classic, is going on her seventh year with the Classic. She also agrees that it’s a mistake to think staff members are without projects and tasks during time outside of the Classic. “We’re really busy most of the year,” Kakac said. “We plan our major fundraiser. We’re constantly contacting sponsors, pilot registration starts in February, so we have a very busy calendar. We have a month-to-month calendar and we have things to do

every month.” Staff members love and enjoy planning the Classic, but coordinating an event of this size has its obstacles. “Obviously the economy has taken a turn,” Scheurenbrand said. “It’s improving, but events like ballooning and festivals, they’ve all taken a hit. The struggles lie in maintaining the event, maintaining the integrity of the event. It’s something that everyone’s cherished for over 40 years in our city.” Scheurenbrand credits previous executive director Greg Marchant for battling the tough economic times and for mentoring her whenever she needs guidance. Both Kakac and Scheurenbrand also appreciate the community’s willingness to help in all aspects of the Classic. With a strong community comes the momentum and motivation in creating ideas for Scheurenbrand’s 2014 Classic binder. “It all definitely is a team effort,” she said.

SHUTTER Continued from Page 29

or a face — with a member of the crew in the frame to provide a sense of scale. Keep your blue skies blue If you are trying to capture balloons in a blindingly blue sky, pay attention to the location of the sun. Point your camera away from the sun and you should get nice, blue skies. Point your camera toward the sun and your skies will wash out into a pale blue. If you have one, a polarizing filter can also help bring out the blue. Share your shots If you’re going to the 2013 National Balloon Classic in Indianola keep your camera handy and upload a few of your best shots on our Facebook fan page. (Search ‘Indianola Record-Herald’ online at Make sure you identify who is in each photo and we might use them in an upcoming issue of The Record-Herald.

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