Special Thanks to The U.S. National Hot Air Balloon Championship Pilots & Crews

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For the past three years, the U.S. National Hot Air Balloon Championship Pilots and Crews have become members of our Western Nebraska family infusing over 2 million dollars into our infrastructure, and communities, in Scotts Bluff County.


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This production is a special feature produced by Long Draw Productions, the Scotts Bluff County Visitors Bureau, The Old West Balloon Fest Committee, WyoBraska Magazine, and the people of Scotts Bluff County, Nebraska to thank the Balloon Federation of America, and its U.S. National Hot Air Balloon Championship Pilots, for selecting Scotts Bluff County, NE as the home of the U.S. National Ballooning Championships for the past three years.

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Since 2019 the Balloon Federation of America (BFA) has held the U.S. National Hot Air Balloon Championships in Scotts Bluff County, Nebraska.

Each year the people of Scotts Bluff County have witnessed the sport up close at the Old West Balloon Fest; a separate event held each year in and around Scotts Bluff County, Nebraska and each year the people of Scotts Bluff County, and surrounding areas, have had the unique and distinguished pleasure of getting to know the competing Pilots and their families. They’ve all become friends, acquaintances, and supporters of the community in their own way and with the U.S. National Hot Air Balloon Championships leaving Scotts Bluff County in 2023, we will all miss their arrival, the thrill of watching them compete, and the company of their presence in the months and years to come.

On August 11, 2022, this video was shown to the Pilots, Crew, Supporters, Volunteers, and Sponsors of the U.S. National Hot Air Balloon Championships, and the Old West Balloon Fest, at the Weborg 21 Center in Gering, Nebraska as a dinner feature. The short film was produced in record time by Long Draw Productions and features the photography of Scotts Bluff County residents throughout the years. In it we’ve outlined and explained the history of the Old West Balloon Fest, as it’s known now, from its humble beginnings as The Old West Weekend beginning in 1982 through lasting until 2002.

The video also serves as thank you to the U.S. National Hot Air Balloon Championship Pilots for becoming extended members of our community over the past three years.

After this video was publicly shown at the Pilots Dinner on August 11, 2022, Colleen Johnson, Old West Balloon Fest Director/Meister, and Old West Balloon Fest Committee member, made the announcement that despite the U.S. National Hot Air Balloon Championship competition concluding in Scotts Bluff County after three years that funds would be provided from Scotts Bluff County Tourism to hold a qualifying competition in Scotts Bluff County in 2023. This is great news for Scotts Bluff County residents who’ve become accustomed to seeing the competition balloons over the North Platte River Valley.

The U.S. National Hot Air Balloon Championships have financially infused the communities of Scottsbluff and Gering, Nebraska to the amount of 2 million dollars in revenue in three years.

| CREDITS & RESEARCH

Thanks to:

Irene North – Writer & Research
Dennis Ernest – Narrator
Brenda Leisy – Scotts Bluff County Visitors Bureau
David Wolf – Director of Legacy of the Plains
Nikki Eagan – Flyover Brewing Company
Hailey Rickey
Allan Bell
The Keener Family
WD Lewellen, Mike, and Jodi Lewellen
Mike and Colleen Johnson
Jonathan & Tomas Wright
Jacque Payne
Shannon Brunner
Hunter Kosman
Long Draw Productions
Balloon Federation of America
Old West Balloon Fest Committee
City of Scottsbluff, NE
City of Gering, NE
City of Mitchell, NE
Joe Patterson
Paul Anthony
The family of Tom Neuesca
Artlist.io
DJI ©
Nikon Corporation ©
Atomos Corp ©
B & H Photo Video
Scotts Bluff County, Nebraska


Story & Photography by: Hawk Buckman



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