Handicap Trophies - Balloon Race

This image was published in the June 27, 1909 Indianapolis Star. The subjects are the two trophies that were awareded for the handicap event that was a secondary competition to the national balloon championship hosted at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on June 5, 1909. The trophy on the left is the Merchant's Association of Indianapolis Trophy donated by the business group to recognize the winner of the event. The trophy on the right was donated by Indianapolis Motor Speedway Founder and President Carl Fisher.  Three balloons were entered in the handicap race - the Indianapolis, the Ohio and the Chicago. The national championship was for balloons not larger than 78,000 cubic feet in capcity and not less than 50,000. The Chicago had a capacity of 110,000 cubic feet while the Indianapolis and Ohio were both 40,000. The winning balloon proved to be the Indianapolis piloted by Dr. Goethe Link and his assistant Russe "R.J." Irvin, both from Indianapolis.
The two men of the winning balloon decided to draw to decide who reeived which trophy as their permanent property. Dr. Link ended up with the Merchant's Association trophy and Irvin select Fisher's cup. The exact verbiage that appeared with the photo as a caption appears below:
"Dr. Goethe Link and R.J. Irvin of this city, who won both the trophies offered in the national balloon race handicap recently executed, have drawn to determine which cup would be each other's permanent property. Irvin drew the one offered by Carl Fisher and Link the one offered by the merchants of Indianapolis. Both trophies are handsome emblems of the honor won by these two local aeronauts, being valued at $500 each. Irvin and Link now rank at the head of the rapidly increasing ranks of "flyers" in Indiana, because of having stayed in the air in the longest number of hours as well as having sailed the longest distance. They landed in the mountains of Tennessee. Although classed as "beginners" before the race, they now bear the distinction of being "veterans," both being recognized pilots."
You can also find an image of the national championship trophy elsewhere on First Super Speedway. Although not mentioned in this article, other reports indicate that Fisher's award was for duration and the aero club trophy was for distance.

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