The Great Reno Balloon Race

Here are a few photos from the Great Reno Balloon Race held about a month ago. I had started this post then, but my computer malfunctioned. But, it’s never to late to show some cool photos. I had so many to sort through. I hope you enjoy them.

The Great Reno Balloon Race starts early if you want to catch the Glow Show and the Dawn Patrol. I think it’s worth it, but it did require my family to rise well before the crack of dawn at approximately 4:30 am. Yes, that part was painful. It was actually a miracle that were able to do it. Even more of a miracle that I didn’t have a cup of coffee until about 6:30 am. Oh, but it was worth it.


Balloons twinkled like stars, choreographed to music. It was quite a spectacle and the crowd was awe-struck (and probably half asleep).

Yes, it’s very dark! There are seven balloons in “Dawn Patrol.”
These balloons are qualified to fly in the dark. Atmospheric conditions will change as the sun rises.


The sun is on its way.


The moment we had all been waiting for had arrived. Once they are swelling with hot air, it doesn’t take long for the balloons to begin their ascent.  There were 87 balloons that participated with at least twelve of them in special shapes, including a Pepsi Can, Darth Vader, Tweety Bird, Shark, and a Wells Fargo Wagon. All balloons were sponsored this year. I understand it’s quite costly to own on of these balloons, estimated at least $50,000, and this does include the cost of racing them. I envisioned them all lifting off at once. But it didn’t quite happen like that. They mostly lifted in spurts in small groupings.

When Darth Vader ascended, they played the Star Wars theme.


It is a race, although you’d never know it. They seemed to float rather aimlessly. The balloons attempt to hit some mysterious “X” post in the sky. I never saw them anywhere. Participants throw bean bags (or something) at a target with their insignia to prove, indeed, they were there.

Not all balloons finish the race. This one landed in the parking lot.

Here’s a nice view of Reno on our walk back to our car. Shark and Tweety Bird never made it off the ground. Poor Tweety never even filled up.

The kids probably had the most fun playing with their cousins and running through the open fields.

Of course, spotting a snake on our walk back was pretty hard to beat, too.

I’m sure one day my kids will ask me, “Remember that time we saw the balloons?” Yes, I remember. It was a beautiful day. If you ever get a chance to go to a balloon race, I highly recommend it.

174 thoughts on “The Great Reno Balloon Race

  1. Congrats on being FP! I love chasing these balloons over the cornfields in Iowa and Nebraska. We wait for the cooler weather in the fall so we can see more balloons in the air — it is a great thrill to see them so close. Love the pictures!

    1. The Bumble Files

      Thank you, Katie. It’s amazing how massive they are up close. I can see why it must be a pretty big production to race one of these balloons. They must look beautiful over the cornfields. I can just picture it. Thanks for the visit.

  2. These photographs are so beautiful, I wished to be there too. We have balloons too in the mid Anatolia, maybe you know, in Cappodicia. Fascinated me. Thank you and also congratulations on being Freshly Pressed. With my love, nia

    1. The Bumble Files

      Thank you, Nia! There is something magical about a hot balloon, and seeing them all floating together is wonderful experience. Thanks for stopping by. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos.

    1. The Bumble Files

      Thank you, Eric. I like the night shots, too. Everyone loved Darth Vader. I have some cool ones of Darth floating in the sky I like also. Darth is the only one who had a theme song. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos!

    1. The Bumble Files

      Great, Joanna! I’m happy my pictures inspired you. I think you would really enjoy it. I hope you get the chance. The snake, indeed, was alive! As it was early morning and it was cold, he was barely moving. I think he was harmless, but he looked daunting!

    1. The Bumble Files

      Thank you, Java Girl! Darth was the cool one. He looked especially cool floating around in the sky. I hope you enjoy your Friday, too, and your weekend!

  3. Beautiful photos! The Darth Vader one is hilarious, and I love the image of all the balloons as they’re about to take off. Seeing the two people in the foreground helps to put the size and scale into perspective. Great post!
    best, e.v.

    1. The Bumble Files

      Thanks, E.V.! There is something funny about seeing a huge, floating Darth Vader head, isn’t there? He’s definitely a crowd favorite. I, too, like the photo of the balloons as they were taking off. I was attempting to capture the event as it unfolded. Thanks so much for your nice comments!

    1. The Bumble Files

      Good Day, Healthy Artists! Thanks for sharing. I think hot air balloons are magical, too. I don’t know what it is about them. It was wonderful to see them close up. Thanks for the visit!

    1. The Bumble Files

      Thank you, Jim. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos. It was a great way for the family to spend time together. The kids had a blast! Thanks for stopping by.

      1. The Bumble Files

        If I stay home, I end up doing chores and housework. Sometimes, I just have to get out to have good quality time with the family.

  4. I’m so glad Vader was back again this year… and now I’m a little sad I didn’t go to this one. You should have stopped at Doughboys before you went to the Dawn patrol… they open early and they have coffee.

    1. The Bumble Files

      Hi, Soul Walker. Hello again! Good tip. I’ll remember that for the future. We were in such a rush to get there, I couldn’t stop for coffee. Never again! Vader is cool. I love the floating Vader head. He’s menacing up there in the sky.

      1. Soul Walker

        I totally wish I had gone this year, if only to see Vader again… I mean, after all, he does find lack of faith disturbing and I wouldn’t want to piss him off. I think I actually still have a picture on my phone of him from last years races.

      2. The Bumble Files

        Oh, no! You wanted to piss off the Dark Force. I hope he’s still on your phone. You can always put my picture on there if you’d like. May the Force be with you!

      3. Soul Walker

        I once went to a midnight showing of one of the episodes and sat in the front row (dressed up in costume). My friends and I stood up right before the film began, turned to face the theatre, and said, “may the force be with you.” I have never heard such cheering directed anywhere near me in my life.

    1. The Bumble Files

      Hi, Beckie. You are very sweet to call me adorable! Thanks for checking out my blog. Oh, the Albuquerque Festival is supposed to be huge, isn’t it? Thousands, correct? Reno is just a warm up for that one. Thanks! Indeed, I wanted to capture the day!

    1. The Bumble Files

      Thanks for stopping by. Yes, I think Darth is a definitely a festival favorite. I enjoyed watching his floating head in the sky! And, his take off to the music was cool.

  5. Balloon fan and multi time passenger…as beautiful as these photos are (I just love the mass ascent and the glow), may you sometime have the opportunity for a ride. It is so quite and mystical, really.

    1. The Bumble Files

      Oh, really…you’re the first person to mention actually riding in one! How exciting. I would love to be a passenger, just so long as I don’t have to operate it. I bet it truly is a mystical experience. I think that’s on my bucket list. Thanks for the kind words.

    1. The Bumble Files

      Hi, Joe. Well, welcome! Thanks for the follow. I’m happy you enjoyed the photos. It’s hard to resist Darth Vader. He’s very cool floating around in the sky! He’s a festival favorite.

    1. The Bumble Files

      Hey, me too. I, too, want to fly in one, but only as a passenger. I’m sure if I was in charge of navigating, I would end up in the hills! Thank you and thanks for stopping by.

    1. The Bumble Files

      Thank you very much! I’m glad I could provide you with some inspiration. I hope you can go someday to see one. It’s worth the trip! Thanks for the visit.

  6. Once a hot air balloon came very close to landing in our backyard! I would love to experience a balloon race! Thanks for posting amazing and colorful photos!

    1. The Bumble Files

      Thank you, Donna. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos! My relatives live very close to where this balloon race is held. They often land right in their street and come pretty close to landing on the roof! I hope you have a chance to go someday. It’s really beautiful to see all the balloons floating together in the sky.

  7. Gorgeous photos! Congrats on being FP! My uncle lives in New Mexico, and they have a hot air balloon launch I’ve been wanting to see. I might just have to do it now!

    1. The Bumble Files

      Thanks, EV! Thanks for your nice comments. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos. I hope you can make it to the New Mexico event. I bet you’ll love it. The balloons do not disappoint. They’re beautiful to watch.

    1. The Bumble Files

      Thank you! Darth was a favorite for sure. It was a funny one to watch, floating around in the sky. I hope you can go to the Albuquerque one!

    1. Yes, it was a great time. It’s a fun sight to take in with the family! I stuck around for a long time to see Tweety, and eventually, I had to give up! Tweety just lay there with Shark. I think it got too windy!

  8. Pingback: Ok! WordPress, You Win! | A Clown On Fire

  9. Pingback: IT’S ALIVE « Written in Blood

  10. Pingback: Books, Boots, & a Bumble – Bloggers are Beautiful | The Mercenary Researcher

Take it away.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s