Meet the balloon pilots: Stars and Stripes, Margarita, Smokey Bear |

Meet the balloon pilots: Stars and Stripes, Margarita, Smokey Bear

Twenty-three pilots will fly their hot air balloons high above Steamboat Springs on Aug. 29 and 30 during the Steamboat Springs Pilot & Today Balloon Rodeo. Here’s a little bit about some of the balloons, and their pilots, that you can expect to see soaring in the skies this weekend.

Blair Kaufman
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Aerostar S60A — Stars and Stripes

Blair Kaufman has flown hot air balloons in Germany, Dubai and Mexico.

Steve Scheer
Castle Rock, Colorado
Aerostar RX8 — Margarita

Steve Scheer started his ballooning career in Albuquerque, New Mexico, before moving to Colorado. He has been a pilot since 2003 and flown at rallies all over the Southwest and a few trips to Mexico. He said hot air ballooning is “all about the adventure.”

Katie Berning

Peg Billson
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Aerostar SP1 — Smokey Bear

Peg Billson will be flying the iconic Smokey Bear balloon. She said she loves to see the joy on children’s faces when they see the “wonderful and knowing” eyes of Smokey Bear.

For more information about the festival, visit and follow the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s full coverage of the event.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User