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Gary Ruble, a longtime Indianola pilot, at the National Balloon Museum with a model of the hot air balloon he flew for years.

Marlene Wall’s first calls seeking volunteers for a new balloon event in Indianola drew more laughs than help.

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Gary Ruble of Indianola in his early years as a hot air balloon pilot.

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Gary Ruble and a group of friends were leaders in using balloons for marketing. For years, he and his partners flew the A&W root bear balloon, complete with a banner of the bear that they made themselves.

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When hot air ballooning first started in Indianola, balloons took off from what is now the intramural field at Simpson College. This photo is from a flight in 1972.

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Balloons crowded close together as they prepare to launch in Indianola. While only 11 balloons flew in Indianola the first year, by 1976 more than 200 balloons participated as either competitors or pleasure flyers in the Indianola event.

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Iowa Governor Robert Ray came to Indianola to fly during the National Balloon Championship.

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