21 Feb 2023

Sharing Memories from 1973 – First World Hot Air Balloon Championship

Video Chats with Denny Floden, 1st World HAB Champion & John Davis, Albuquerque Ballooning Pioneer
By Debbie Spaeth, Chair, CIA PMR Subcommittee

In February 1973, the world came to Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA for the 1st World Hot Air Balloon Championship. The event was a success, and the details are shared in the series of stories on the FAI Ballooning website.

Here, Denny Floden and John C Davis IV share their personal memories from that 1st World Hot Air Balloon Championship.

Denny Floden, aka Captain Phogg, has the distinction of being the First World Hot Air Balloon Champion. Listen as Denny chats about his experiences and memories at that 1st World HAB Championship. 

John Davis, one of Albuquerque’s ballooning pioneers, was a resident of Albuquerque when the world came to Albuquerque in 1973. John and his wife, Carol Rymer Davis, had seen the balloons at the 1972 Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta (the 1st ‘Fiesta’ with 13 balloons) and knew Ballooning was something they wanted to do.  They decided to buy a balloon and take lessons.  

Listen in as John shares the early history of the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta and its’ place in World balloon competition.

Denny Floden, aka Captain Phogg Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Sid Cutter Estate

Carol Rymer Davis & John Davis (Circa 1981) Courtesy of John Davis


John Davis with his family at the 2022 FAI Ballooning Hall of Fame Ceremony in Albuquerque
Photo credit: Lynne Newton

1973 World photos - waiting for inflation - credit Carol Rymer Davis

1973 World photos - inflation - credit Carol Rymer Davis

Top picture: Denny Floden on commemorative flight @ 2022 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta; Photo Credit:  Debbie Spaeth