Balloon Race Officials

This image was published in the June 5, 1909 Indianapolis Star and shows four of the major players in pulling off the national balloon championships hosted at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The event was started the same day as the newspaper was distributed. The men are, from left to right: Charles Glidden, Carl Fisher, Alan R. Hawley and Charles J. Edwards. Glidden was the founder of the automobile endurance competition known as the Glidden Tour. The image complemented an article that also ran in same morning edition paper.
Fisher, the founder and the driving force behind the development of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, had demonstrated a fascination with aeronautics and had integrated balloons into marketing his automobile business by flying a car over Indianapolis the previous October. Hawley was a leading executive with the Aero Club of America. Edwards was another senior manager of the American Aero Club assisting Hawley.
For Fisher, the president of the new Indianapolis Motor Speedway which was under construction at the time, the balloon races had required months of preparation. Even before the event had taken place it was a success in that it had captured the imagination of people across the country, especially those that fancied themselves as aviators. Indiana Governor Marshall had agreed to attend and a stellar field of competitors had been assembled.

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