Twenty-seven hot air balloons took off from Bowman Field in Louisville Saturday morning for the Kentucky Derby Festival’s 41st annual U.S. Bank Great Balloon Race. But when it was all said and done, only one balloon and its pilot could be declared the official winner of the race.
This year it was pilot Jerry Copas who guided his French Lick Resort balloon the closest to the “X” and claimed first place in the Great Balloon Race.
Copas, who was featured in an article in The News and Tribune last week, landed his bag of Bluegrass Seed just one foot, two inches away from the targeted spot in Saturday’s race. The next closest pilot was three feet, seven inches away from the mark.
Copas has flown balloons for corporate advertising campaigns for 33 years and competed in the Kentucky Derby Festival Great Balloon Race for 27.
Copas told The News anad Tribune for a story last week that it was the Kentucky Derby Festival’s Great Balloon Race that really sparked his interest in ballooning.
“I was a kid, about 10 or 11 years old. They first brought the hot air balloons to Louisville to do the race the first time that year.”
He earned his pilot’s license at 18 and has been flying ever since.
If you missed the April 24 News and Tribune story about Copas, you can read it online at newsandtribune.com.