Longview, TX — Two-time world champion balloonist John Petrehn is hoping to ride a heat wave from his native Kansas all the way to a U.S. National Hot Air Balloon Championship this week in Longview.
“This is the first time in my life I am coming to Texas to cool off,” Petrehn said from Kansas City, Kan., just before leaving for Longview. Over the weekend he and other competitors have been honing their skills and becoming familiar with the local landscape during practice flights over the city.
Though hot in Longview, it has been nothing like the 107 degree temperatures gripping Kansas before he left, he said.
Aside from leaving behind the triple-digit temps, Petrehn said he is anxious to take on defending national champion Nick Donner, who will be in Longview defending his title.
“We have a very friendly rivalry, but I am going to knock him off his throne,” Petrehn said.