Competitive flight winners announced during 2013 Louisiana Hot Air Balloon Championship event

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
2013 Louisiana State Champion Robert Ambeau.

The 2013 Louisiana Hot Air Balloon Championship events in Ascension Parish have come to a close and winners have been announced resulting from the competitive hot air balloon races. Three categories of competitors saw $25,000 in prize money awarded.

The three categories of competition were the 2013 Gonzales Competitor’s event, which consisted of pilots throughout the United States competing for the title of overall winner and garnering points for national competitions; 2013 Louisiana State Championship event, which consisted of Louisiana pilots competing for the title and a guaranteed place at Nationals for the winner; and the 2013 Louisiana Lagniappe event, which consisted of pilots from across the United States competing amongst themselves without points being garnered for national competition.

The competition included judge declared goals such as gravity drops where pilots were asked to drop an item as close as they can to a target, hesitation waltz flying where pilots were asked to move from targets set close together and a Gordon Bennett Memorial drop, where pilots were asked to drop an item around the lake at Lamar-Dixon and have the distance recorded in relation to a marked target within the field.

“There were three events held inside the Louisiana State Hot Air Balloon Championship, but the main event if you will was the 2013 Gonzales Competitor’s event,” said Harold “Bubba” Cliver who organized the competition flights. “This is where the best pilots in the world competed. It is where the big cash prize purse was, $20,000 in total prize money. The second competition was the Louisiana State Championship. This is the competition that had to be created with just the pilots who reside in Louisiana to determine the official Louisiana State Champion as recognized by the Balloon Federation of America. Lastly was the Louisiana Lagniappe event. This is where sport pilots competed. These are good pilots, but their specialty is not in flying in major competitions. It is a fun thing for them, and they predominately don’t like the harder challenges that require a full understanding of everything associated with big league competition.”

Winners and categories are as follows:

2013 Gonzales Competitor’s Event

1. Maury Petrehn, KS, 11872 points

2. Johnny Petrehn, KS, 11554 points

3. Nick Donner, KY, 11281 points

4. Chase Donner, GA, 11188 points

5. Jeff Sweet, NC, 11102 points

6. Kinnie Gibson, TX, 10801 points

7. Gary Heavin, TX, 10751 points

8. Robert Ambeau, LA, 10695 points

9. Joe Zvada, TX, 10383 points

10. Kevin Hershman, AR, 10199 points

11. Joe Heartsill, TX, 9551 points

12. Richard Sabin, TX, 9132 points

13. Sandy Graf, TX, 8692 points

14. Joe Paddie, TX, 8377 points

15. Joel Sturvevant, MO, 7959 points

16. Mark Yeakle, OH, 7606 points

17. Paul Petrehn, MI, 7480 points

18. Wayne Standefer, TX, 7228 points

19. Rick James, TX, 6432 points

20. Kenny Jay, MO, 6109 points

21. Frank Anger, MS, 5175 points

22. Shawn Krause, LA, 4280 points

23. Pat Harwell, LA, 3834 points

24. John Good, LA, 3571 points

25. Hector Corominas, FL, 3260 points

2013 Louisiana State Championship Event

1. Robert Ambeau, 5808 points

2. Karen Kent, 5797 points

3. Bob Pulaski, 5565 points

4. George Richard, 5500 points

5. David Miller, 5200 points

6. Shawn Krause, 3014 points

7. Tedmund Habetz, 2600 points

8. John Good, 2600 points

9. Leslie Jeansonne, 2400 points

10. Pat Harwell, 2200 points

2013 Louisiana Lagniappe Event

1. Wil LaPointe, OK, 5622 points

2. Karen Kent, LA, 5308 points

3. George Richard, LA, 5225 points

4. Bob Pulaski, LA, 5090 points

5. David Miller, LA, 4881 points

6. Steve Stokoe, FL, 4688 points

7. Tom Warren, FL, 4545 points

8. Ann Kirby, TX, 4524 points

9. Gary and Eileen Jones, MS, 4511 points

10. Mark Fritze, FL, 4508 points

11. Ben Drennan, FL, 4404 points

12. Ellis Calvert, AL, 4257points

13. Cyndi Joseph, TX, 4257 points

14. Jack Semler, IN, 4257 points

15. Bob Evans, TX, 4257 points

16. Chris Jones, TX, 3587 points

17. Dean Durr, MS, 3126 points

18. Tedmund Habetz, LA, 2695 points

19. Stephen Esser, PA, 2535 points

20. Tim Slattery, MS, 2535 points

21. Doug Gantt, FL, 2335 points

22. Leslie Jeansonne, LA, 2335 points

23. Mark Daniel, AL, 1665 points

For more information on the 2013 Louisiana Hot Air Balloon Championship, or to see photographs of the event and balloons, visit or the Facebook page: Bring Hot Air Balloons to Ascension.