History of the Taos Mountain Balloon Rally

1995 Schedule of Events

The Taos Mountain Balloon Rally is three packed days of activities. All are open to the public. Most are free. The first Taos Mountain Balloon Rally was in 1983 when founder John Sena, who was president of both the Western Bank and the Taos County Chamber of Commerce, wanted to bring business in to Taos during a very slow time. With only a little time and less money, the first rally was organized. Twenty-four pilots attended the first rally on a first come first serve basis. Compare that modest beginning with the present. Pilots return year after year.The number of pilots has tripled, and those on the waiting list may wait two or three years for their chance to ascend from Weimer Field.

There is something special about hot-air balloon enthusiasts. Rose Marie Nabours, president of the Taos Mountain Balloon Rally Association, is typical of the breed. Her enthusiasm about the balloon rally is contagious, even an interview about the event is infected with her anticipation. Nabours is the key organizer of the rally.

She transitioned from a severe case of agoraphobia to become an avid fan of the sport. The 1995 rally is the 13th and she has participated in all of them.

One reason pilots love Taos is because a regional wind condition makes it easy to ascend, fly, yet return to the balloon's original location. Known as a "box" wind condition, you can go up to one altitude and fly in an easterly direction, change altitudes and fly north, change altitudes and fly west, change again and come back virtually to your starting point.

The rally is also popular because there is only one area where balloon landings are prohibited, a unique factor in this era of fences and No Trespassing signs. Anyplace else that balloon pilots land, they are welcome. In addition, the weather is cooperative. When the pilot selection committee meets each May, chief among their concerns is each pilot's safety record. This criterion has resulted in an impeccable safety chronicle for the Taos Mountain Balloon Rally. There's never been a serious incident, i.e.,one that required Federal Aviation Administration or the National Transportation Safety Board.An emphasis is placed on the pilots' personalities because the rally is a community affair. Taos boasts a long list of reliable sponsors, who support the pilots year after year.