SYNOPSIS

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WIND RIDERS is a feature length documentary that explores the art and sport of hot-air ballooning and the thrilling - and often dangerous - sport of gas balloon racing.

We enter this world through the stories of three exceptional pilots who have dedicated their lives to this sport: American balloonists, Bill Hughes, Richard Abruzzo and Carol Rymer Davis.

Abruzzo and Rymer Davis comprise a championship gas balloon racing team.  As their extraordinary, untold story unfolds, we see them compete in challenging, long-distance races and defend their world title in the Gordon Bennett, the planet's oldest aviation race.  We witness them fighting to maintain control of their balloon in treacherous weather; float with them in a tightly cramped basket; and experience their struggle to endure the limits of both mental fatigue and physical exhaustion.  Abruzzo and Rymer Davis make no compromise in their quest for the world's title – and for doing so, they tragically pay the ultimate price.

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In contrast, hot-air balloon pilot, Bill Hughes, a former Air Force pilot, quietly shares his passion for the sport by flying passengers over great stretches of upstate New York.  Bill's famed balloon displays a seagull logo that honors Richard Bach's iconic novel, "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" - the story of a young gull searching for life's purpose and defying conventionality.  As Bill shares his knowledge and love of ballooning, it becomes clear, much like Jonathan, that Bill has found great purpose and meaning in his flights.
Ballooning attracts millions of spectators around the world, yet the number of pilots has been declining since the 1980s. This film not only portrays the sheer beauty of ballooning with the hope of spawning a renaissance in the sport, but also crosses genres of the sport and drama by unflinchingly depicting personal stories that are touching, poignant, tragic and inspirational.
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