National balloon championship won in East Texas - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

National balloon championship won in East Texas

A national champion earned his title in the final day of the Great Texas Balloon Race in East Texas. Four days of national competition came down to the final flight, and a chance to represent the United States in the world championships. It was a dash to the finish as pilots racked up final points at East Texas Regional Airport, in what organizers say was the most successful race in the events history.

"I'm confident that we set records in attendance we have the greatest board the greatest group of volunteers. We're dealing with the best of the best with the pilots that we have , and so the two blended very well. Its just spectacular to watch," says race chairman Frankie Parson-Riggins.

A record was set with 9 overall ringers on the center pole, and again pilots scoring was dead on target.

"You had to do really well, I was under a meter on the task yesterday and that was good for 19th place," says pilot Chase Donner.

The 25 year old Donner was high scorer and earned a national championship.

"Its a great honor there's such a quality field here and its a very well run," Donner says.

The top three qualify for the world championships in Brazil in 2014.  East Texas will host the next two nationals. While Chase Donner won the national overall championship, pilot Brooke Owen took first place overall in the Great Texas balloon race.

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