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      Ottumwa Pro Balloon Races cross the finish line

      Sunday marked the last day of the 2012 Ottumwa Pro Balloon Races.

      37 balloon pilots from six states came to Ottumwa to compete in the 35th annual balloon races this past week. And what a view they had!

      â??This weekend they were assigned tasks and they were to fly to an â??Xâ?? on a map and they flew to the points and threw a baggie out of their balloon and hopefully it landed on the â??Xâ?? and the people closest in all the different tasks was the winner. It was a fabulous week. We had a fabulous weekend. We flew Friday night and had a wonderful night glow Friday night and the weather got in the way Saturday. But we did fly Saturday morning. We were able to fly a four-part task. Saturday night the weather kind of -- you know -- got rainy and icky but there was still a band and everything. We had a great time. And we were able to fly again this morning,â?? said Holly Dommer, Ottumwa Pro Balloon Races co-chair.

      Dommer said she anticipates that the races this year made more money than the previous two years.

      And for safety reasons, the Ottumwa Fire Department was on site for the entire duration of the races.

      â??We stand by to help with the balloons in case there's ever a fire emergency. We go and stand by the Beach when they fill up the propane tanks and help out with the fireworks,â?? said Nathan West, Ottumwa Fire Department.

      The Ottumwa Pro Balloon Races have proven to be a long standing tradition in the community and is something a lot of people look forward to each year.

      â??He's five and so we've been here almost every year. I think we've missed one year. I came here when I was younger so itâ??s kind of a tradition for the family to keep going,â?? said Ashley Glenn, Ottumwa resident.