From the publisher: Balloon Rodeo a go |

From the publisher: Balloon Rodeo a go

After what has been a logistical struggle to come up with a plan that is safe and fun, I’m excited that Steamboat Pilot & Today will be able to host the 39th annual Steamboat Hot Air Balloon Rodeo at the end of this month. 

The Balloon Rodeo will not be the same as in years past, but we’re confident our new plan for Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 29 and 30, will provide memorable twists on this iconic event as we all struggle to find joy amid a pandemic that has forced the cancellation of so many Steamboat events. 

After investigating a dozen or so scenarios over the last four months, we’re moving forward with a plan that will feature more than two dozen beautiful balloons — half of them new to our event — soaring over Steamboat Springs. 

The big differences this year are that we will not allow public access to our launch site at Bald Eagle Lake, and we will not have a Balloon Glow, traditionally held on Saturday night. Last year, those events drew an estimated 12,000 people. That’s math on public gatherings that just doesn’t compute this summer as we work to stay within limits on crowd size and social distancing. 

Instead, we’ll bring the show to the skies and let you enjoy the colorful spectacle from a vantage point of your choice, exercising social distancing throughout the city.

Access to the launch site at Bald Eagle Lake will be tightly restricted to pilots, crew, staff and sponsors, with all undergoing medical checks before being cleared to the launch site. We’ll have security at the lake entrance, so don’t waste your time trying to get in to see the balloons inflate. Instead, find one of the many terrific spots around town to enjoy the morning view.

Pilot & Today will also livestream the launch and flights, so the community can safely follow the action from afar.

Vectra Bank has come on board this year as the presenting sponsor of the Balloon Rodeo, and this event could not happen without its generous support. As part of Vectra’s sponsorship, you’ll want to check out this Friday’s Pilot & Today, when the bank and Pilot & Today will launch a fun Balloon Rodeo contest that will reward creativity, benefit local nonprofits and earn one lucky entrant a hot air balloon ride for two people at this year’s event.

For details on the Balloon Rodeo, visit, subscribe to our free Balloon Rodeo email newsletter (sign up at and read Pilot & Today in the weeks leading up to the event. 

Pilot Proud

I hope everyone saw our 28-page “Pilot Proud” special section in Friday’s paper celebrating Pilot & Today’s 135th birthday and the Routt County history we have had the privilege to document. 

The section is loaded with wonderful stories of our history as the Routt County Pilot, Steamboat Pilot, Steamboat Today and later Steamboat Pilot & Today. There also is a list of “Top 20 stories that shaped Steamboat,” front pages and ads from over the decades, columns from current and former employees, dozens of great photos, a look back at the “Black Widow” murder case and much more. 

I’ve been publisher for only two years, barely 1% of the company’s storied history, so the Pilot Proud section is a treat for me to dig in to. I think longtime readers will enjoy the look back as well. 

Many thanks to longtime Pilot & Today reporter Tom Ross for doing much of the research and reporting in the section. We miss Tom and are glad to have his voice back in our pages again. 

You can read the entire section and more Pilot Proud coverage online at 

Best of the Boat

Nominations for the 10th Best of the Boat competition closed Sunday. We will take this week to sort through all those nominations, then launch a three-week voting period from Aug. 10 to 31 to determine which local businesses, organizations and personalities are Steamboat’s best. 

 As of Friday afternoon, we had already surpassed last year’s nomination total, one more indication the Best of the Boat competition will be fierce as we head into the voting round. 

You can cast your votes at And you can find all of our 2019 winners in Best of the Boat magazine, which is available at racks throughout Steamboat. 

Colorado Hunter

We have just wrapped up production of the 2020 edition of Colorado Hunter magazine, which focuses on Western Colorado, including Routt and Moffat counties, but has distribution throughout Colorado. 

This year’s 132-page issue will be available in mid-August and is loaded with great content. In addition to the latest news on fees and regulations, the issue includes trends in gear; tips for hunting all big game in the region; deep dives into hot topics like COVID-19 and its impact on hunting and the controversial ballot measure to formally reintroduce wolves to Colorado; and an inspiring profile of a Silt woman’s experience in competing against the world’s best in the “Ultimate Huntress” competition. 

And to better serve hunters throughout the year, we are launching a Colorado Hunter email newsletter to highlight content we’ll post throughout the year. The newsletter is free, and if you subscribe before Oct. 31, you’ll be eligible for a $200 gift card from Murdoch’s Ranch & Home Supply. Sign up now at

To reach Logan Molen, call 970-871-4224, email or follow him on Twitter @lmolen

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