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Sep 4, 2011 5:38 PM by Dr. Anya Winslow

Balloon card fever

"I've always loved stuff that flies in the air," says 14-year-old Ian Helmcke.

For Ian and his family, going to the Colorado Balloon Classic has become a tradition. They have been going since 1999, and there is one thing that he's hook on -- balloon cards.

These cards are shaped like baseball cards, but instead of having a picture of a ball player, they have a photo of a balloon. On the flip side, there is some information about the balloon and the pilot. Almost all of the pilots have them made and give them away.

The best part about these cards as 11-year-old Jonathan Lowe says, "You don't have to buy them and it's from the Balloon Classic, which gives you memories, and I enjoy that they're free."

Helmcke helped Lowe got hooked on these cards. Together, they have been collecting for close to twenty years.

"I've been collecting since I've been 3-years-old," says Helmcke. Lowe can't remember exactly when he started collecting, but his siblings say it's been about six or seven years.

Neither boy plans to stop growing their collection anytime soon.

"I'll probably keep collecting forever...'till I'll die," says Helmcke. "The ones that are most special to me, I'll probably have them framed," he adds.

"I don't think I'll sell them. I'll probably give them as a hand-me-down to my kids so that they can get into it, too," says Lowe.

"Ahh, it's not eighty, it's sixty-seven," sighs Lowe as he counts up his cards. His stack is a touch smaller than Helmcke one hundred and three card stack.

This year, Helmcke wasn't able to attend the classic, so, he needed to enlist Lowe's help to collect, but could he really trust his friend to collect?

"Awe, I'm going to be very nice," says Lowe. "I'm probably, like, if I go up to a hot air balloon to get a card, I'll probably just ask for two," adds Lowe.

Now, you really can't ask for a better friend than that.

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