The JASPER Hot Air Balloon is made by Lindstrand Balloons USA. It is a sixty-nine thousand cubic foot envelope. That means approximately sixty-nine thousand basketballs could fit inside the balloon. The balloon burns propane for fuel, and expels about 15 million BTU's when burning. Hot air balloons are at the mercy of the winds, so it is only flown when the surface winds are ten miles an hour or less. The balloon is flown the first two hours after sunrise and the last two hours before sunset to avoid thermal heating during the midday hours. Like other Jasper Performance Products, the JASPER Balloon competes at races designed to test the balloon and pilot skills. We compete at both the local and national levels. The pilot, Warren D. Smith is a commercially rated pilot with ratings in fixed wing and seaplane aircraft as well as lighter than air. Warren won Rookie of the Year honors at the 2004 United States Hot Air Balloon National Championships sanctioned by The Balloon Federation Of America.
JASPER-sponsored bass angler, Chad Morgenthaler, recently held his annual Benefit Bass Fishing Tournament on Rend Lake in southern Illinois.This event was held in the fall for the first time in the seven-year history of the Tournament. The day turned out to be a cold one for the competitors. The weather didn’t matter to Ricky Byrnes and Earl Sigley. The Illinois duo caught five bass totaling 19 pounds, 15 ounces. That’s over six pounds more than the second place team of Ed Daniels and Jeff Atchison. Byrnes and Sigley earned $2,500 for the victory, plus a $500 bonus for catching the biggest bass of the tournament. The winners caught their fish on rock and wood structures. "Rend Lake in the fall, when the weather gets cold like this, they eat," Byrnes said. "They’re feeding because they feel winter coming on, so we threw them swim baits, spinner baits and crank baits and caught our fish that way." The Chad Morgenthaler Benefit Bass Fishing Tournament has raised a total of $180,000 in its seven-year history for various causes. This year’s benefit raised nearly $17,000 for the Illinois Conservation Foundation, Five-Star Industries and a number of local high school fishing teams. "These guys really reached deep this year," said Morgenthaler. "The money is going to some great causes."