While the 46th Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta drifted into the sunset a few weeks ago, the numbers are in and this year’s event was an incredible success. An estimated 887,970 people watched more than 650 balloons from 21 countries take to the New Mexico sky with colorful, mesmerizing and even hilarious designs, certainly driving home the event theme: “Inflate Your Imagination.”
Maurice Petrehn of Olathe, Kansas, took home first place in the hot air overall competition with his balloon “Farther On,” while Kentucky’s Nick Donner took second and Rhett Heartsill’s “Texas Star” took third. Switzerland’s Nicolas Tièche and Laurent Sciboz also set a new distance record in winning the 22nd America’s Challenge gas balloon race.
But the biggest winners were the people who gazed in awe as these incredible balloons hit the sky, and since we couldn’t all be there to gasp and point together, photographers Gary Rosier and Marty Stephens did their best to capture the magic during this incredible week in the Duke City.
(Is your balloon pictured? Shoot us an email with the name and details and we'll be happy to include them.)