Spirit of Annie Award

Nominations due March 31

The “Spirit of Annie” award, established by the Northeast Ohio Balloon Pilots Association in memory of a very special observer, Annie Pryne, will be awarded whenever an observer, organizer, official or event volunteer most typifies the dedication, hard work and love of ballooning and ballooning people that set Annie apart.

Annie’s spirit was indomitable and nothing, not even age or terrain, stood in her way when she accepted the responsibility to make sure all competitive pilots were treated equally and fairly. The vision of Annie, spray paint can in one hand and tape measure in the other, standing in the middle of an intersection protecting a baggie or the memory of Annie wading through a wet cornfield measuring back to an intersection, personifies not only Annie’s spirit but the spirit of observing.

In the 1980’s Annie decided with her husband Gil to become an observer and she approached that job with all the enthusiasm and dedication to excellence that she approached every challenge in life. The “Spirit of Annie” award is dedicated to keeping alive the spirit of Annie, a warm, caring, and invincible individual.


  • To be awarded only when a nominee meets all qualifications, i.e. will not necessarily be awarded on an annual basis.
  • To be awarded to an observer, organizer, official or event volunteer who best personifies the spirit of Annie Pryne and her belief in “being the best you can be.”
  • A nominee will have been an observer, organizer, official or event volunteer for no less than 5 years.
  • A nominee will hold a creditable presence in the sport of ballooning, respected by observers, officials, organizers, pilots and crew.
  • A nominee will show willingness to share experience and knowledge.
  • A nominee will have a positive attitude.
  • A nominee will have a commitment to the sport and the improvement of all aspects of competitive ballooning and will be strong enough to speak out when needed.
  • Most importantly, the nominee must have the ability to enjoy and interact with people.


It is understood that this is the only special award currently being presented by the HACD to an observer, organizer, official or volunteer.

  • Requests for nominations will be initiated by NOBPA. These requests will be forwarded to national and local publications to be published during the months of February and March. Nominations will be sent to the NOBPA President or other Selected Committee Chairperson designated by NOBPA. Nominations will be accepted until March 31.
  • Nominations will be reviewed by the NOBPA Board or other selected Committee Chairperson and forwarded to the 5 most recent living award winners and the HACD Board by April 15.
  • There will be a total of 7 votes, 1 NOBPA, 1 HACD, 5 past recipients. Votes will be reported back to the NOBPA Board or other Selected Committee Chairperson by May 15. The NOBPA Board will tally the votes and determine the winner, no later than the June Board meeting. The winner’s name will be sent to the HACD Board and the 5 past winners who voted.
  • The award will be presented at the US Nationals or a national type event by an appropriate designee appointed by NOBPA.
  • The Northeast Ohio Balloon Pilots Association will be responsible for all financial obligations of the award and the type of award to be presented.

How to Nominate

Nominations shall have the following content:

  • Name and contact information of the person submitting the nomination
  • Name and contact information of the nominee Explanation of the capacity the nominee has served and time period
  • Specify in detail the full justification for the nominee to be deserving of the award.

Nominations should be submitted to Paul Suttle, NOBPA Awards Committee, at suttlejp@roadrunner.com.

Prior year recipients


Year Recipient
2021 Dave Bagley
2020 Sheri Berry
2019 Bill Clemons
2018 Lynn Sullivan
2017 Doug Clark
2016 Ted Watts
2015 Debbie Spaeth
2014 Gary Britton
2013 Mike Gilligan
2012 Linda Gavigan
2011 No recipient
2010 Bob & Dottie Humbert
2009 No recipient
2008 Maury Sullivan
2007 Jim McKenney
2006 Barb Davis
2005 Beverly Zanella
2004 J.W. Bird
2003 Morgan Schrader
2002 Jim McLaughlin
2001 Jim Dieball
2000 Kim Wilson
1999 Josh Swallow
1998 Patty Cramer
1997 Mike Tuten
1996 Donna McTavish
1995 Sally Shields
1994 Tom Tyler
1993 Gil Prine