Mysterious Longview balloon race secret revealed - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Mysterious Longview balloon race secret revealed

What is this mysterious object? Photo by Jamey Boyum KLTV. What is this mysterious object? Photo by Jamey Boyum KLTV.

The fortieth annual Great Texas Balloon Race is just around the corner, and organizers teamed up with Longview’s ART from the heART program to solidify Longview with ballooning.

It’s a secret project, but we got access to an unspecified garage to give us a preview of a pretty unique..something.

It’s behind an electric garage door for now; it’s ten feet tall and weighs 1,800 pounds, although maybe it should weigh less than air.

What is it? Bill Bussey, founder of the Great Texas Balloon Race knows.

“It’s, it’s made of stainless steel,” he said.

Okay, that narrows it down.

“It’s going to have I believe seven coats of clear coat on it so it can handle the light,” Bussey stated.

Good thinking there. Not helping, though.

“And when you drive by, it’ll make you think of the Great Texas Balloon Race,” Bussey revealed.

So, it’s what, a giant Bussey head?

“Actually I would like to say it’s the entire board, but it’s really my idea,” Bussey explained.

Maybe Michelle Ford, Great Texas Balloon Race board member, can say what it is.

“This is a fabulous art piece,” she clarified.

Okay, really...what is it?

“A steel balloon that came from Iowa,” Ford confirmed.

It’s pretty impressive, really, and worth the wait. But wait, there’s more!

Artist Carmen Gadt, who is off this week, will paint a mural on it that will:

“Emulate the themes that the balloon race stands for: East..” Bussey started.

“Texas and some hot air balloons on the hot air balloon,” Ford finished.

“That’s so redundant,” I commented.

“I know, it’s going to fabulous. We’re so excited,” Ford beamed.

After it’s unveiling at the balloon race, it will become a permanent part of Longview at The Green, a park under construction at Spur 63 and Texas 31.

“We hope that it will be there forty, fifty sixty or more years,” Bussey said.

So, we will have to wait a little longer to see exactly what will be on what will be one of the world’s heaviest balloons. But once it lands at the park, you won’t have to wait for the race to see a balloon. 

Bussey hopes it will outlast him and help keep the Great Texas Balloon race alive. 

Bussey spotted smaller versions of the balloon around Indianola, Iowa, home of the Ballooning Hall of Fame. They were built by Williams Machine Shop in Lacona, Iowa and are available in a variety of sizes. Bussey hauled the ten-foot balloon from Lacona to Longview at the end of June this year.

The Great Texas Balloon Race will be held July 28-30 at the East Texas Regional Airport in Gregg County. The balloon statue will be on display there until they move it to The Green.

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