Tom's Open Road
Crazy Babbling Sunshine
Public Television: Season 8
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
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Politics has been a big part of Tom Rutherford's life. His father was in politics, so at a young age he held various positions, like a reading clerk and a page. But along his path into politics, Tom also found a passion as a radio DJ at the age of 14, working for NBC's KOB station. Several years later, in 1972 while still working as a DJ, Tom also became fascinated with balloon racing. He helped organize the first-ever balloon race in Albuquerque, N.M., held at the radio station. The event was so popular that it grew year after year, eventually becoming an international event called the International Balloon Fiesta. But, of course, politics was still in Todd's blood. That same year, at age 25, he ran for the New Mexico State Senate—and won, becoming the youngest person elected to the Senate. After 24 years as State Senator, Tom founded The Rutherford Group, a lobbying organization, where he know works with his son. Today, Tom is still the field announcer for the International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque.