ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - A record that has belonged to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta for over a decade has been allegedly taken by a balloon festival in France.
"Unofficially we've held the Guinness world record for almost 40 years, we've held it officially for the past 10 and we'll launch 343 (balloons) mid way through the second wave," Balloon Fiesta spokesman Tom Garrity said.
But fiesta officials are stopping short of saying they're going to try hard to get the record back at this year's 40th fiesta.
The record is for the most balloons launched and passing a certain point within one hour. On July 27, 2011, the Lorraine Mondial Air Ballon festival in France claims to have taken the record from Albuquerque.
"I look at it as more of a stunt rather than a record," said Albuquerque pilot Troy Bradley, who has set 58 world records in a balloon himself. "It's an organizational record more than a ballooning record."
Fiesta organizers say they're more concerned about putting on an entertaining, safe event that getting the record back. Bradley agrees.
"The world still wants to come here. Regardless of what other people do in other events around the world this is still the mecca for ballooning. People want to come to Albuquerque," Bradley said.
"If the fiesta decides it wants to break the record, it will break the record," Garrity said.
Garrity added that organizers will track all nine launches this year, and if they believe the record is broken, they'll submit the necessary paper work to Guinness.
This year's Balloon Fiesta begins Oct. 1.
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