“My hats off to you and the people of the Scotts Bluff County area for making this an event that I want to return to next year. You did a super job and should be congratulated for your success with the Old West Balloon Festival re-inflated.”

Rich Lawthorn

Pilot, Humpty Dumpty

Good Morning To Everyone in Western Nebraska!

Many things come to mind when a Balloonist decides to travel to distant locations to fly their Hot Air Balloon.  The considerations are always debatable from Pilot to Pilot however, there are a few constants that provide the motivation to attend.  As pilots, our choices are nearly limitless when selecting the 14 to 18 desired events to attend each year.  It is said that there are 2 events each weekend somewhere in the United States.  Take your pick.

In my mind, there are many reasons to be in Western Nebraska during the muggiest, hottest time of the year.  Hail – well, not so much?  The number 1 Reason – The People!  Pilots do not like the feeling of being ‘performers’ regardless of where we go….. we desire to share the love and joy of flying Balloons with local townspeople who want to share our love of the sport!  Meeting and visiting with people from differing backgrounds & locations who enjoy the emotional connection of being kids again with our toys, and not caring what your ‘balance sheet’ reads.  The big Plus is, establishing lasting friendships with interesting people who care for such relationships. 

Beautifully stunning locations are boundless like Steamboat Springs or Snowmass Colorado or even Annonay France or Murren Switzerland however, those residents like the ‘Balloonists’ provided that they are putting on a show – not necessarily to get to know one another and find new, lasting friendships making memories such as those found in Western Nebraska.

Then as lists go, the next 6 or 7 items to attend any rally like your rally at Scottsbluff/Gering/Mitchell are not the same and few reduce down like making candy to what we genuinely like…. We love seeing all the welcoming smiles and warm laughter! 

Our most sincere “Thank You” to All the People and blessings to all the sponsors and volunteers!! 

The “Big Top” Balloon belongs to all of you too!!

Mark Whiting

Pilot and Ringmaster, Big Top