Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Teams accept challenge of new flying contest.(Balloon Fiesta)

Byline: Franchesca Stevens

* Forty-one pairs go the distance in the balloon race where the winner is the one who makes it the farthest

Blair Kaufman and Nick Meleski of Albuquerque may want to take more than what Kaufman calls "just a light snack" and some bottled water on their hot air balloon flight Monday. After all, Kaufman, an experienced commercial hot air balloon pilot and assistant principal at Washington Middle School, is hoping he and his friend will make it as far as Roswell.

The two pilots will be riding in Meleski's 105,000-cubic-foot balloon, "Sventato," at the New Mexico Challenge Long Distance Hot Air Balloon Race.

It's a new contest at the Balloon Fiesta and starts at daybreak. Forty-one teams, consisting of two pilots each, are registered to compete. …

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