First ever women’s US championship to take place in New Mexico

October 10th, 2017

Sixteen women are set to compete at a single sex national competition at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta this October.

The Women’s National Hot Air Balloon flights in Hot Air Balloon balloon rides Hot Air Balloon Championship, which is accredited by the Balloon Federation of America (BFA), has been set up to encourage the participation of women at the elite-level of piloting. It is the first time a women’s only competition has taken place.

It was in 1999 that the last women’s title event took place, as a sub-race within the US Nationals. The female competitors were compelled to race with their male counterparts, but be awarded two separate scores: one Championship score and another comparative score against the other women in the field.

There were just seven female pilots in the competition, which had a total of 54 challengers, with Cheri White declared the 1999 women’s champion.

Now, with over double the number of entrants, the event will launch from Balloon Fiesta Park and will see the women contest for the title at the Rio Rancho arena, Albuquerque. All entrants must be female US citizens and be holders of the 2016 Hot Air Balloon Division competition card.

Hot favourite Cheri White will battle rivals and former team-mates in a series of unique tasks. The ladies will get the chance to show off their skills in front of the vast crowds expected at the Fiesta.

Featuring daily flights, laser light shows, and balloon glows, the festivities are jam-packed into this world-famous, nine-day celebration.

This ladies-only competition concludes on the morning of October 11th with an awards ceremony taking place the following day.