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

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

Twenty-three pilots will man their hot air balloons high above Steamboat Springs on July 13 and 14 during the Steamboat Springs Hot Air Balloon Festival. Here’s a little bit about some of the balloons, and their pilots, that you can expect to see flying high.

Blair Kaufman
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Aerostar S60A — Stars and Stripes

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

Sam Parks
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Aerostar N87SB — Smokey Bear

Sam Parks’ first gas balloon flight launched from Denver and landed in Quebec after 62 hours aloft and traveling over 1,600 miles. He said they had to be evacuated out of the forest by helicopter, and he called it a great adventure.

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.”

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

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