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Bridging the gap

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Introducing a new generation into the world of ballooning

According to the Balloon Federation of America, about 80% of balloon pilots will age out of the sport in the next 10 to 20 years. In order for ballooning to continue as a sport and pastime, the younger generations will need to become more involved.

And that’s...

A sight like no other

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What it takes to put on an amazing balloon rally

The Gallup skies will soon be full of bright colors as the Red Rock Balloon Rally welcomes about 140 pilots to town on the weekend of Dec. 2.

In an interview with the Sun, Bill Lee, the president of the Red Rock Balloon Association, said the event usually brings in about $2.5 million to the City of Gallup’s economy as people from around the world visit hotels and eat at restaurants. He said last year saw a record attendance number after they took a year off for COVID; roughly 30,000 people attended the mass ascensions.

To prepare for such a big event, the committee in charge of coordinating it began meeting in June to prepare...

Memories are made at the Red Rock Balloon Rally

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Going up in a hot air balloon just once is an adventure for most of us. For Peter Procopio, it was just the start.

The first time he saw a hot air balloon drifting over Gallup – not long after he’d moved from New York in 1977 – he was transfixed. He followed it and met the pilot, Alan Wilson. Soon after, he ended up trading a construction job to converting Wilson’s carport into a garage for ballooning lessons from Wilson and his wife, Kaye.

The rest is history, and that 41-year history became the Red Rock Balloon Rally in 1981. The first event had just 25 balloons. Eventually that number swelled to 200, and now rallies draw about 150 participants each year. The Red Rock...

Veterans housing program continues building new homes, employing Navajo veterans

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Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Navajo Veterans Administration Director James Zwierlein visited the construction site of a new three-bedroom home that is currently being built in the community of Nenahnezad, N.M., for a Navajo veteran and his three children on Oct. 27. This is one of at least eight homes for veterans that are in progress through the Navajo Veterans Housing Program.

At each of the sites, Navajo veterans are employed as construction workers even if they have no prior experience in the construction field. Veterans with no prior construction experience have also been hired to be apprentices under experienced workers to allow them to learn new skills while earning...

‘Gallup’s Bird Lady’ to participate in national fashion show fundraiser

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Gallup local Sarah Wilson, also known as “Gallup’s Bird Lady,” will participate in the Global Down Syndrome Foundation’s 13th annual “Be Beautiful Be Yourself” fashion show.

“I’m excited for the competition,” Wilson, who is 38 years old, said in an interview with the Sun. “I’m excited to wear my dress. It’s burgundy.”

The fashion show is the largest Down Syndrome fundraiser in the world. According to a press release, the show has raised over $24 million for life-saving and life-changing research and medical care to date. This is the first time in three years that the event has been held in-person.

According to a press release published by the Global Down...

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