Balloons over Bavaria - Frankenmuth, MI
Scores, Photos, and Reports submitted by Nancy Engel, Jim Engel, and Dottie Humbert
Hot air balloons return to the skies over Frankenmuth, MI this memorial day weekend for the annual Balloons over Bavaria event. The four day event has previously hosted the Great Lakes Regional Championship. The title does not apply this year, but there is no plan to dial back the competition.
The event kicked off Friday evening with a sponsor flight and a crowd favorite balloon glow. Saturday morning dawned with very light winds leading to only one task being called. A FIN at the main field proved extremely challenging with only three pilots achieving scores.
Quicker winds met the pilots Sunday morning. Four tasks were called including a Max Distance Double Drop task that officials shaped into a doghouse in homage to the other event in town this weekend - Dog Bowl - showcasing dogs competing in agility tasks.
As of this posting, Paul Petrehn leads Jeff Pestun by only 16 points after five tasks. Chuck Walz, Shawn Raya, and Steve King round out the top five - all are still within striking distance. Weather forecast looks good for the remaining flights Sunday evening and Monday morning. Watch this space for updates.
Update 5/27/2013: Two more tasks were called Monday morning to finish off the competition in Frankenmuth. Paul Petrehn slammed the door on the field with a first place (0.5 meter) drop on the first task of the day, and second place on the second task. A performance that increased his lead over second place Jeff Pestun, and secured the victory.
A successful weekend on all accounts. This was the first year in event history to have balloons in the air during all flight windows. Thanks to Jim and Nancy Engel for all their hard work and a special thanks for sending updates to us!