Great Texas Balloon Race founder on race's impact - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Great Texas Balloon Race founder on race's impact

Pilot Bill Bussey gives the low down on the high ups. Photo by Jamey Boyum KLTV. Pilot Bill Bussey gives the low down on the high ups. Photo by Jamey Boyum KLTV.
GREGG COUNTY, TX (KLTV) -

It’s been going on for four decades, and it’s taking off again this week: The Great Texas Balloon Race. 

According to Great Texas Balloon Race founder Bill Bussey, the race has grown over the years.

“It's given an impact to the city of around $3 million each year,” Bussey said.

The race has ballooned over forty years since its inception, and residents have grown accustomed to it.

“This is something that the citizens of East Texas take ownership in; 'we' have a balloon race, it’s not 'they' have a balloon race,” Bussey pointed out.

Bussey and the board like that. Thousands attend the race, and a study a found that:

“Seventy-two percent come from outside of Longview,” Bussey explained.

Bussey says some plan vacations around the race, and they have to stay somewhere. He says RV parks fill up.

“And of course we have the direct affect of hotels and food, gasoline, et cetera, you know,” Bussey said.

But he says it’s not set up to generate money for the board of directors.

“No one gets paid anything. It’s strictly volunteer,” Bussey stated.

They depend on support of the citizens to stay afloat.

“They want free access; we have terrible expenses. You don’t get Travis Tritt for nothing,” Bussey said.

In fact, Bussey says he pays for his parents' way in.

“If I can buy my parents tickets, then I can ask my friends to step up to the plate. You know, support something,” Bussey said.

In the beginning there were only a few balloons, but not anymore.

“We have a pretty big deal, you know, so that’s what we like, is for folks to take ownership in it,” Bussey added.

And though it might seem obvious to say it, he hopes the sky’s the limit for the Great Texas Balloon Race.

Copyright 2017 KLTV. All rights reserved         

  • NewsMore>>

  • Study claims In-N-Out is favored by Texans over Whataburger

    Study claims In-N-Out is favored by Texans over Whataburger

    Saturday, October 21 2017 4:01 AM EDT2017-10-21 08:01:01 GMT

    A study by Business Insider and Foursquare claims to determine the most popular fast food chain in every state. The results of the study, according to Business Insider, were based upon which chain received the most visits on average per location. Many Texans are crying foul, however, as the study claims that Texas' favorite fast food is ...steady yourself... In-N-Out Burger, a chain based in California.  While Texans have no beef with the California chain, most of us claim...

    More >>

    A study by Business Insider and Foursquare claims to determine the most popular fast food chain in every state. The results of the study, according to Business Insider, were based upon which chain received the most visits on average per location. Many Texans are crying foul, however, as the study claims that Texas' favorite fast food is ...steady yourself... In-N-Out Burger, a chain based in California.  While Texans have no beef with the California chain, most of us claim...

    More >>
  • Week 8 Scores

    Week 8 Scores

    Saturday, October 21 2017 1:04 AM EDT2017-10-21 05:04:48 GMT

    Here are the Red Zone week 8 scores for football games across East Texas.

    More >>

    Here are the Red Zone week 8 scores for football games across East Texas.

    More >>
  • Player injured during Marshall vs Greenville game

    Player injured during Marshall vs Greenville game

    Friday, October 20 2017 9:24 PM EDT2017-10-21 01:24:34 GMT

    A Greenville player was carried off the field Friday night with an injury. 

    More >>

    A Greenville player was carried off the field Friday night with an injury. 

    More >>
Powered by Frankly