New Mexico February 17, 2019
Why Hot Air Ballooning Should Be The New Official Sport Of New Mexico
There are a few things that New Mexicans will defend to the death: chile, the Zia symbol, and ballooning. We’re talking about hot air ballooning here. Not only is the Land of Enchantment home to the largest hot air balloon festival in the world but we’re also obsessed with the high-flying pastime. In fact, hot air ballooning might as well be our new official state sport, and here’s why.
First things first. New Mexico is home to the world’s largest hot air balloon festival, and more than 700,000 people have attended it every year for the past two decades.
In comparison to other big sporting events like the Super Bowl, which only a little more than 70,000 attend each year, the turnout for the balloon fiesta is huge. Many people watch the Super Bowl on T.V., but people fly in from all over to see the awesome balloons flying high.
People don’t just love hot air ballooning when it’s convenient, or when their "team" is doing well.
There are no bandwagon fans for ballooning. Although the weather conditions need to be right for a hot air balloon to launch, (typically cooler, the right wind conditions, and little rain,) but New Mexicans will show up at the crack of dawn to see a hot air balloon take flight, rain or shine. There are no fair-weather fans for this ‘sport.’
Hot air ballooning is done competitively, and just for fun.
Just like other sports, hot air ballooning can be done with friends and family for fun, or if you’re serious you can enter a competition like America's Challenge Gas Balloon Race if you want to take on other ballooners competitively.
There’s an official hot air ballooning season.
When the leaves start changing colors, and the air is crisp and cool, you know that hot air ballooning season is coming up fast. However, unlike other sports, you’ll see balloons up high throughout our state all year long. Just because the Fiesta isn’t here yet doesn’t mean we’re not ballooning.
New Mexicans of all ages love hot air ballooning.
We all know those sports fans that dress up their kids in their favorite jersey’s and raise them to be fans, well the same goes for ballooning. In 2011, Bobby Bradley became the youngest solo balloon pilot, and there are many pilots ballooning well into their 80’s. This is one sport that’s truly for everyone.
Hot air balloon memorabilia is by far the coolest to rep.
If you’ve been to the Fiesta, there’s a good chance you helped to put a balloon away and were rewarded with a card from the pilots or bought a big balloon hat or stained glass ornament from the Fiesta grounds. Many New Mexicans have been collecting the new pins that come out every year, and rep them each with pride. No matter what, hot air balloon gear is always the coolest to wear.
If there’s one culture that New Mexicans will defend to the death, it’s hot air ballooning.
Right next to chile, of course. While we love New Mexico’s Zia quarter design, when the news broke in 2008, there was a huge uproar. Many locals were flabbergasted that our state quarter did not feature a hot air balloon. If we can’t have it on our official currency, maybe it can at least be our official state sport.
Do you think hot air ballooning should be New Mexico’s new official sport? What other reasons would you add to the list? Let us hear your thoughts and opinions in the comments!
Not only would hot air ballooning be the coolest sport,
here are 8 more ways New Mexico has quietly become the coolest state in the country.