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Sunday, July 17, 2011 2:15:05 PM - Monroe Ohio

Photo: Maria Langendorf with Brenda Withrow (R) Spirit of the Challenge award winners

by Ann Mort

The 2011 MidUSA Ohio Challenge Hot Air Balloon Champion is Nicholas Donner from Fisherville, Kentucky. He was also champion in 2009 and placed fourth in the 2010 event.

Rick Cusick from Lima, Ohio, flying a balloon named Arrythmia took second place. He was the 2005 Challenge champion and also won the 2011 State of Ohio Championship which ran concurrently with the Ohio Challenge at this year’s event. By winning the Ohio Championship, Cusick has automatic placement in the 2012 U S National Hot Air Balloon Championships – one of only 50 coveted places in the field.

Photo: Chase Donner with Dr. Mark Frazier

Third place in the MidUSA Ohio Challenge was Chase Donner (Rick’s brother) from Indianapolis, Indiana, flying a balloon named Acolus.

Winners were announced after the last competitive flight Sunday morning at an awards brunch held at the site of the Ohio Challenge festival.

Long-time committee scoring team member, Brenda Withrow was named “Spirit of the Challenge” winner for 2011.

Thanks to the support of sponsors who continually help keep the cost of admission to a very affordable price, and a hard working volunteer committee, the Ohio Challenge will return for its 10th anniversary the third weekend of July 20-21-22, 2012.

Information about the recently completed and upcoming event can be found on the website.

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