U.S. Marshal Service To Monitor Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta


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U.S. Marshal Service To Monitor Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

By Daniel Guevarra

September 30, 2010 - The United States Marshal Service, District of New Mexico, will be assisting local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies in the 2010 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. The annual event will take place October 2-10. The fiesta expects 750-1000 balloon pilots to participate from all over the world and the event attracts over 10,000 spectators a day totaling over one million for the event.  

During the nine days of Balloon Fiesta, the men and women of law enforcement devote all their efforts and resources to provide all visitors to the park with the highest quality service and protection. They maintain a 24/7 mobile, mounted, plain clothes, and foot patrol surveillance throughout Balloon Fiesta. This will be the first year the Marshal Service will deploy a ATF certified explosives detection canine at the event.  

After the balloons have all flown from Balloon Fiesta Park, law enforcement agency personnel will move vehicles and equipment onto the field to give the public the opportunity to get a close-up look at fire and police equipment; talk with firefighters, police officers and emergency personnel. The event will feature a variety of displays from several agencies including helicopters, hovercraft, mounted horse patrol, patrol vehicles, emergency response vehicles and a ladder truck.


The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is a yearly balloon fiesta that takes place in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA during early October. The balloon fiesta is a nine day event, and has around 750 balloons. The event is the largest hot air balloon festival in the world. In addition, it is widely considered the most photographed event in the world. 

The balloon fiesta began in 1972 as the highlight of a 50th birthday celebration for KOB Radio. Radio station manager Dick McKee asked Sid Cutter, owner of Cutter Flying Service and the first person to own a hot air balloon in New Mexico, if he would fly his balloon "Roadrunner" as part of the festivities.

The two began discussing ballooning, along with conversation and help from Oscar Kratz, and McKee asked what the largest gathering of hot air balloons to date had been. 19 balloons in England, Cutter replied. Kratz asked "Can we get 19 here?" Cutter agreed to try. He got commitments from 21 pilots, but bad weather kept some of them from arriving in time. The first fiesta ended up as a gathering of 13 balloons on April 8, 1972, sponsored by KOB.


The first event was located in the parking lot of the Winrock Shopping Center with 20,000 spectators and with balloonists from Arizona, California, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada and Texas taking part. McKee, Cutter, and Kratz are the three men who had origninally started the balloon races. The first fiesta was actually a "Roadrunner-Coyote Balloon Race", with 1 balloon being the "Roadrunner" and the others being "Coyote" balloons. The winner of the race was the Coyote who landed closest to the Roadrunner.  

Members of the Public Safety for this event will include the Albuquerque Police Department, Albuquerque Fire Department, Bernalillo County Sheriff?s Department, Bernalillo County Search and Rescue, New Mexico State Police, U.S. Marshal Service, City of Albuquerque Emergency Management, State Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Rio Rancho Department of Public Safety, Lovelace Emergency Care Center, Public Service Company of New Mexico, and American Automobile Association (AAA), and they are responsible for the enforcement of all traffic laws, local jurisdiction criminal codes, and upholding all AIBF policies and regulations.


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