Brookfield - A Great Place to Land


41st Great Pershing Balloon Derby (2017) results:

1st  - Aaron Foelske      Channahon IL
2nd - Scott Armstrong   Urbandale IA
3rd - Jon Thompson      Kissimmee FL
4th - Tyler Thompson    Des Moines IA
5th - Jim Wolters          Holts Summit MO
6th - Todd Isley            Carlisle IA
7th - Matt Riley             Kansas City MO
8th - Ben Humphreys    Columbia MO

John Petrehn Memorial Cup

Todd Isley  Carlise IA

Basil Downey Memorial Launch Site Nite Lite

Scott Armstrong Urbandale IA

Great Pershing Balloon Derby Winners Thru The Years

1977 James Baker
1978 Jeff Thompson
1979 Jerry Brown
1980 No Flights – Weather
1981 Nick Saum
1982 Jim Thompson
1983 No Flights – Weather
1984 Jim Thompson
1985 Col. Rowland Smith
1986 David Rapp
1987 Don McMullen, Jr.
1988 Dennis Cox
1989 David Edmister
1990 Gary Tarter
1991 Gary Tarter
1992 Gary Tarter
1993 Jim Wolters
1994 Jan Sines
1995 Frank Hines
1996 Jim Thompson
1997 Maury Petrehn
1998 Jim Wolters
1999 Maury Petrehn
2000 Ken Schroeder
2001 Maury Petrehn
2002 Gary Tarter
2003 No Flights – Weather
2004 Gary Tarter
2005 Benji Clemons
2006 Bill Clemons
2007 Cory Bloom
2008 George Thomas
2009 Jeremy King
2010 Jeremy Rubin
2011 Johnny Petrehn
2012 Johnny Petrehn
2013 Todd Isley
2014 Brad Craig
2015 Brad Craig
2016 Todd Isley
2017 Aaron Foelske

Dorothy Grafton Memorial Sponsor of the Year Award

2009 Lloyd Grafton Farms, Inc.
2010 Gerry Elson Agency - Gerry Elson Family
2011 Rhodes Funeral Home
2012 Tooey's
2013 DD-Norm-BillyO-Reams
2014 Myron Peacher Memorial (Carolee and Ronnie Hall and Cole Griggs)
2015 Family of J Monroe Rusk
2016 NCM Graphics
2017 Hauser Electric

History of the Event

This is the 41st year the Great Pershing Balloon Derby has held Balloon Federation of America sanctioning. This is the Longest Running Continuously Sanctioned Balloon Event in the Nation.

History of the Great Pershing Balloon Derby (GPBD)

The Pershing Memorial Development Association along with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MoDNR) launched the GPBD competition as a way to raise funds for a Pershing Museum. This group later became the Pershing Balloon Federation (PBF) and sponsored the GPBD through its 7th year. Starting with the 8th GPBD and continuing through today, the event is sponsored by Green Hills Ballooning, Inc.

The 1st GPBD was held September 30 - October 2, 1977. The event had 40 balloons and was held at the Pershing State Park. The 2nd GPBD was moved to Labor Day Weekend and started a tradition of balloons in Brookfield over Labor Day weekend which continues through today. The 3rd year the event attracted 70 balloons and saw the use of Observers for the first time. The GPBD was the first US event to use Observers whose purpose is to act as impartial judges to help make sure all of the competition rules are followed. The 4th, 5th and 6th events saw 60 - 80 balloons entered in the competition. The 7th GPBD was much smaller due to funding problems which caused it to be the last year the event was sponsored by the PBF.

The 2nd through the 8th GPBD events averaged 40 balloons and were held in locations owned by the following land owners: Hugh Braymer family, Charles Kaye family, Tom Jesaitis family, and Earl Farrar/Alexander Land and Cattle Company. The 9th GPBD event moved to land owned by the Myron Peacher family and is still being held on this land today. Also at this time, most non-launch site activities were moved to the Brookfield Elks Lodge which continues to be the headquarters for the event today.

With the disbanding of the PBF, the GPBD almost came to an end. Early in 1984 John Petrehn, a balloonist from Kansas City, held a meeting in Brookfield to see if the event could continue. From the meeting Green Hills Ballooning, Inc. was established.

The 10th through the 13th events were once again cosponsored by the MoDNR. Through these years an average of 40 balloons participated. Spectators averaged 10,000 with a high of 14,000 in 1986. Since these years, the GPBD has seen the addition of such things as a crafts festival, baby show and queen contest held in the Brookfield Twin Parks. The 17th GPBD added a Nite Lite to the Sunday night of the event and has proved to be one of the most popular of all Launch Site activities. From the 14th GPBD to current the average number of balloons entered in the completion is 45.

In 2006 at the 30th GPBD, the event was recognized by the Balloon Federation of America (BFA) as the Longest Running Continuously Sanctioned Event in the Nation.

In 2015, Green Hills Ballooning, Inc. and the GPBD hosted the BFA North Central Regional Championship for the fifth year in a row.   This year will be the GPBD's 41st year as a BFA Sanctioned Event, still recognized as the Longest Running Continuously Sanctioned Balloon Event in the Nation.

While details for the 41st GPBD are being finalized now, plans are currently underway for the 42nd GPBD Labor Day weekend 2018. Green Hills Ballooning Inc. would like to thank all sponsors, landowners, volunteers and spectators for helping make the Great Pershing Balloon Derby successful.


This is a list of all of the pilots participating in this years event.

2 Tyler Thompson

Our Location

Myron Preacher Memorial Launch Site
Just West of Brookfield

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