Travis Tritt Headlines the Great Texas Balloon Race

Editorial StaffFestivals, Hot Air BallooningLeave a Comment

Country singers Travis Tritt is scheduled to make an appearance at the Great Texas Balloon Race in late July in Longview, Texas, near Shreveport.

The Great Texas Balloon Race will achieve a milestone this year. This summer, in 2017, it will mark the 40th year of the race.

According to the Great Texas Balloon Race website, “It’s a world class event attracting the very best competitive pilots from across the United States and the world.” The website currently lists 48 different pilots with a variety of balloons in all different colors that are planning on making an appearance at the race. Travis Tritt is the music headliner of the event and is scheduled to play on Saturday, July 29 at 9:30 p.m. Before Tritt plays on Saturday, The Darren Morris Band is scheduled to play at 6:30 p.m. On Friday, July 28, the east Texas band Teazur is scheduled to play at 9:30 p.m.

The race will take place from July 28-30. The concert will take place at the East Texas Regional Airport.

The price of tickets on Friday are $15; on Saturday they are $20. They are available at Outhouse Tickets websites. Admission for just the ballooning events at the airport is free on the morning of July 30. The festival is scheduled to kick off at 6:30 a.m. on Friday with a flight over Longview. Balloon glows will take place both Friday and Saturday at 8:50 p.m. Various other competitions will take place over both days, although the website states, “All times are approximate and schedule may change without notice.”

The Great Texas Balloon Race was started in 1978 by three people, Dr. Bill Bussey D.D.S., Frankie Parson Riggin, and Mary LeTourneau. Dr. Bill Bussey was a world-record hot air balloon pilot. Parson and LeTourneau were Longview Mall managers. The original deal was that Dr. Bussey had to attach a banner advertising the mall to his balloon. Two years later, the balloon glow was created, which became an “instant success.” Because of the increase of attendance over the years, the event was moved in 1985 from the Longview Mall to the Stroh Brewery complex. Between the years 1987 and 1989 the race took a temporary hiatus.

In 1990, it returned to the East Texas Regional Airport which has become the race’s home.

The Controlled Navigation Trajectory Event, also known as the “Ring Toss,” is sought to be the most exciting race to the pilots. The pilots have one chance each to steer their balloon towards a 12 inch ring which is on top of a 20-foot pole. Travis Tritt was signed by Warner Record Bros. in 1989 and has released seven studio albums, including a greatest hits record in 1999. Tritt has also been awarded two Grammy Awards both for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals. He received one Grammy in 1992 and the other one in 1998.

According to Tritt’s website, the Great Texas Balloon Race will be one of eight concerts he will perform at in July and one of two that he will perform in Texas in his cross-country tour from now until November.

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