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Ballooning in Medora

MEDORA -- A sunrise skyline could also be filled with additional vibrant colors, that of hot air balloons and the public is invited to assist with the process.

The Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation is hosting its eighth hot air balloon event as part of Badlands Appreciation Week and wind and weather permitting, six balloons will be launched at about 6 a.m. today from the east side of the Badlands Motel.

While riding in the balloons is by invite only, the public is encouraged to watch and are invited to assist in balloon launch preparations which requires some lifting and pulling.

John Boulger of Fargo, who has been ballooning since 1983 and participating in the Medora event since it started, said it takes five people to put a balloon in the air safely, but more is better.

"It'll be great to have more people from Dickinson come out and help on the crew," Boulger said.

Those interested in helping should show up at about 5:30 a.m., Boulger said, and if all goes well, the balloons will be set up at about 5:45 a.m.

This year's event has six pilots, professional and semi-professional, from across the upper Midwest, TRMF sales and public relations director Annette Schilling said in an e-mail.

"Balloonists come to Medora at their own expense, to have the opportunity to fly in this awesome environment," Schilling said in an e-mail.

Having flown across Australia in a balloon, Boulger said flying the Medora area is his favorite.

"It's drop dead gorgeous no matter which direction you go," Boulger said. "When you get up over the Badlands ... you think they go on forever."