Saturday, July 21, 2007


As promised in Introducing Suzy Blue in my July 9th post I will share some of the additional events that we were involved with during 1981. We have just taken possession of our new Barnes balloon and then attended the Memphis Rally as I wrote about in the previous post. The above picture was taken at the Awards Banquet at the end of that rally. The two couples seated are from Tulsa and made the trip with us. Mickey & I are the couple standing to the left and the couple standing to the right are Mickey's older brother, Doug and wife Helen who lived in Memphis. It was at this banquet that Mickey received the $150 check as the 3rd place winner in one of the races. The drawing for a free TV to one of the landowners was also held here and it was a couple on whose land that we had landed that won the TV. It was a fun and glorious night for the 10 of us.
After returning to Tulsa we received the following card from the landowners on June 13, 1981. It reads:
"We enjoyed your letter and all the EXCITEMENT and the colored TV is just beautiful. Everything was great-write up in newspaper-everyone read it and they still tease us.
All you nice people up there can put your balloons on our fields just any old time O.K.
Yes, we are going to frame the certificate. It was sure nice of you. You're the nicest people we've ever met.
God Bless and thanks again.
Edith & Ed"

The gentleman you see here in the balloon is Anthony Mason. Anthony was a news reporter on our local channel 2. On June 22 they filmed a segment with us of Anthony taking a balloon ride. You can see the camera man outside the basket as they are preparing to lift off. Anthony is now a CBS new correspondent on the national level.

This is the Channel 8 news helicopter that flew along beside Suzy Blue filming Anthony's flight and reporting. This segment appeared on the 6 & 10 o'clock news that evening. You can imagine how excited we were with this coverage.

Mickey had taken and passed his Commercial Balloon Licensing on June 6th. Prior to that he had been flying with a Private Balloon License. This meant that we could now do commercial work with the balloon in addition to our pleasure flying.

This is a picture of part of our Tulsa crew that helped us during the balloon launch and chase. It includes the same 2 couples who accompanied us to Memphis plus 3 of their sons. Our 17 year old son, David, is in the second row with his arms crossed and our 12 year old son, Marc, is in the balloon. The boy next to David was one of his friends. Mickey & I are kneeling in the
front.We have our Suzy Blue Crew shirts on in this photo. We had not purchased them when the Memphis Rally was held.

The article to the far left appeared in the Tulsa World, Friday, July 3, 1981 and is a picture of Suzy Blue. The article reads: " STUDYING CURRENTS EVENT Motorist stop to watch one of four hot air balloons approach a landing site north of the Gilcrease Hills area Thursday. The balloon was one of the colorful flight of four making a short hop on the wind currents from near downtown."

The picture next to it is of the very first paying customer of Suzy Blue and our first Champagne Flight. This is the couple that was in the balloon with Mickey when the picture in the article was made. The Champagne Flights were priced at $75 for one or $150 for two people. It was for an hour flight. At the end of the flight we always opened a bottle of Champagne for the passengers, crew and visitors. This is the traditional Balloon Prayer that is given as the Champagne Toast.
May the winds welcome you with softness.
May the sun bless you with his warm hands.
May you fly so high and so well
that God joins you in laughter
& sets you gently back into the loving arms of
Mother Earth
We would then present them with the signed Champagne Bottle and a Suzy Blue pin.

Governor George Nigh made a Proclamation on May 5, 1981 that Tulsa was the Balloon Capitol of Oklahoma and this was part of the 75th Diamond Jubilee of Oklahoma Statehood in 1982. There were a lot of activities in connection with this. One was a balloon rally on June 21st where balloonist outside of Tulsa came to join in for a total of 29 balloonist. We also did three separate launch times on other occasions at Discoveryland where the musical Oklahoma is preformed in an outdoor theater during the summer. 5 balloons flew for the annual Golf Classic and that evening attended a great performance featuring Roy Clark. It was a lot of fun activities and events that occurred. Tulsa is now, this year, celebrating its 100th Jubilee.

On July 4th the Tulsa Balloonists all traveled to Sherman, Texas for a 2 day rally but bad weather prevented us from flying. That is one of the hazards of ballooning. The weather has to co-operate with you!!!

On September 26 & 27 we did a balloon promotion in Durant, Oklahoma giving tethered balloon rides from 3 till 6 each day.

These are just a few of the many and varied activities we were involved with during our first year of owning Suzy Blue. There are too many to tell it all but I've picked out several to give you an overall picture.

Below if the last event which we did during 1981 with Suzy Blue . This was held Sunday, November 22, from 2 to 4 pm. and was the opening of the new West Side Library. Suzy Blue was featured and 300 helium balloons were launched at 2:30. This was an honor for us because we had been Southwest Tulsa residents since coming to Tulsa in 1964 and we had our Real Estate Company located in Southwest Tulsa.

This is a picture at the Library tether. You can see we were fighting the winds that day. A hot air balloon can be launched in winds up to 8-10 mph. For tethering a hot air balloon you need the winds 5 mph or less.

I know this has been a pretty long post. There is so much to tell that I am having difficulty in selecting items to feature. In the next Suzy Blue post I will feature some of the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta.

Please let me know by way of a comment if you are enjoying these and want to hear more about Suzy Blue.


Kristie said...

Let me be the first to say I enjoyed reading about this what an exciting 'hobby'!!!!

Anonymous said...

It just amazes me that you really did this stuff. I have always had a huge facination with the balloons. They are so graceful and beautiful to watch. I love it when I hear the noise of the flame outside and I run to look in the sky to see the glorious site of a balloon.
As I said before, you will never get me in one, but i still love to see them.
We have a festival near here in Kalamazoo and Dave has photographed it. His dad has riden in one, but never me :)
Great story Susan. I love hearing about it!

Linds said...

I agree that it is absolutely fascinating to all of us to learn all about your hobby. You clearly loved every minute of it all! I wish you still had your balloon, and flew over your part of the world. I would love to see the photos!

groovyoldlady said...

I'm ba-ack!!

Who would have ever suspected that there was a traditional balloon prayer? Wow.

I'm game to read MORE. Your stories are so outside the realm of my earth-bound life!

Lori B said...

Thanks for telling us more about your hot air balloon.
How neat to win 3rd place.

weavermom said...

What fun! I want to ride!

PEA said...

Oh yes, do continue to tell us more...I find it absolutely fascinating that you and Mickey were involved in this!! It must have been so wonderful meeting all these people and travelling all over the place, all the while getting great recognition!!! xox

Myrna said...

Exciting and fun times, for sure!

I think you were brave to go up that many times. I might be talked into a tethered flight. I think flying over the hills and fields would be more than I could handle. It is a beautiful sight to see balloons flying against a bright blue sky.

Interesting stories--Keep 'em coming!

diana said...

i, too, find it fascinating that you were so involved with this. so interesting and sounds like it was loads of fun.

thanks for sharing.

inspired said...

Up Up And away ;o]zrhfxjl

Barbara said...

This must have been so much fun Susan and given you such lasting memories.
Obviusly you were up there with the celebrities at the time. Keep them coming.

Momma Roar said...

Your stories are always so enjoyable to read! I wanna read more - but take your time getting it together - I know it takes time with all the scanning and writing.

I agree with Ginger - I love hearing that sound and then running to look above the house for them. I don't think we've had one fly over our new house, but at our other house - it seemed like every weekend.

FUN post - I wanna ride too!

Frazzled Farm Wife said...

I enjoy hearing all of your stories!

jennifer said...

Susan You and Mickey need to write several books about Suzy Blue. One for the state of Oklahoma history... to preserve the historical record(we forget we are living history)

Then you need to write a children's book for the grandkids and beyond.

Then you need to write a modern day story of a couple who made the life in Tulsa wonderful!

I love the stories, but please consider what I said.

Love from NM

annie said...

Love the stories Susan! Hot air balloons are just beautiful, your stories just make me want to ride in one!

Tammy said...

This was the first post I read about your hobby, and I can just imagine how exciting this was! I would love to go for a balloon ride just once in my life! I know I would be scared, but it would also be thrilling!


Wow!! So very exciting. I know you must have so many good memeories concerning these special times. God bless, connie from texas

Sue "Sioux" Seibert said...

Wow, these are really interesting!! The only time I was ever up close and personal with a balloon was in about 1982 when we visited my in-laws during the Albuquerque Balloon Fest. It all was breath-taking, surreal. I loved it!

Pearls of Wisdom said...

I love hearing about Suzy Blue thanks so much for sharing. We use to go to the festivals in California and had some launch near our home.

Angel ():)

MightyMom said...

wow, what a busy year you had!! why did you give it up??
sure tell lots more.