Pilot’s balloon featured in 2016 Balloon Fiesta poster

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – One Balloon Fiesta enthusiast is especially excited to add to her pin collection this year and have her special shape balloon featured on the 2016 poster, the same year she’s piloting her balloon at Fiesta for the first time.

Ursula Richards has two rooms where frames full of Balloon Fiesta pins cover the walls.

However, she estimates the pins on display only make up about a third of her collection.

“It’s a lot of work. It’s a lot of blood sweat and tears,” Richards said.

For Richards, Balloon Fiesta festivities don’t just come around once a year.

“It’s a year-round thing. It’s a constant thing for me,” Richards said.

She is constantly buying and trading pins. That’s how she came to collect about 20,000 pins.

Richards has already gotten this year’s pins and, even more special to Richards, this year’s poster that features her special shapes balloon, SquawkURs.

She said she’s honored and the timing couldn’t be better.

“I got my certificate last year, last August. So, this will be my first year that I’m flying my balloon with my name on it in the program,” Richards said.

Richards will be trading SquawkURs pins on the field for those who can make it through the early mornings and long days full of excitement and picture perfect sights.

Richards said by the end of Fiesta, she’ll probably have traded and bought 400 new pins this year.

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