A Bit About Us

History

Wild West Balloon Adventures was started in 1998 by Ian Cox, a longtime Steamboat local.  Ian began flying balloons in the Yampa Valley in 1982.  Originally from England, he moved to Steamboat in 1979.  With his passion for the outdoors and an entrepreneur’s mindset, ballooning was the perfect fit for him.  Shortly after starting Wild West, Ian bought Pegasus Balloon Tours, and successfully operated both businesses with his wife Shelley for two decades.  After a few years on the crew, Bud Whitehead began flying balloons with Ian in 2011.  He and his wife Stacia bought the business on January 1st, 2018. To this day, you will still see both the “Wild West” and “Pegasus” balloons flying over the Steamboat valley.

Meet The Team

Bud Whitehead - Owner at Wild West Balloon Adventures

BUD WHITEHEAD

Owner | Head Pilot

Bud Whitehead moved to Steamboat in the summer of 1999.  At the time, he was studying recreation management and tourism at Arizona State University. He decided to spend the summer in Steamboat to beat the Phoenix desert heat and get some work experience at a hotel.  He loved the Steamboat lifestyle, came for a second summer, and then moved to Steamboat full-time after graduation.

After spending about 10 years in the local hotel industry, Bud decided it was time for a change.  Seeing the balloon in the sky from time to time inspired his curiosity and he called Ian, the owner of the balloon company to see if there were any open positions.  The next day Bud was an official member of the balloon ground crew.

After a couple exciting years of part time balloon chasing, Bud and Ian decided it was time for Bud to take his ballooning to the next level and start flying.  Bud logged his first flying hours in 2011, and now has over 1,000 hours of flight experience above Steamboat.

He and his wife Stacia bought the business from Ian and Shelley on Jan. 1st, 2018.  When Bud is not flying the balloon, he loves to play sand volleyball, mountain bike, camp, ski, and spend as much time as he can with his wife and daughter.

Stacia Whitehead - Owner at Wild West Balloon Adventures

STACIA WHITEHEAD

Owner | Marketing Director

Stacia grew up in Steamboat, getting to build snow sculptures for winter carnival and watching the balloon festival launch from the meadows during the 90s.  After graduating from Colorado Christian University in Denver, she spent a few years in Seattle.  But needing a good dose of sunshine and missing the allure of Steamboat, she moved back in 2005 and is happy to call this her forever home.

After working with the Orthopedic team in the operating room at Yampa Valley Medical Center as an Orthopedic Sales Consultant for 11 years, she made the decision to join the ballooning world once she and her husband, Bud bought the balloon business.

Stacia is the marketing guru for the business, and makes her world famous muffins for each flight. She and Bud were happy to announce the birth of their daughter, Emma in September of 2018.

Like Bud, she loves to play sand volleyball, mountain bike and camp, but prefers snowboarding over skiing.  She also loves yoga and spends as much time as she can with Bud and Emma.

Our Crew

Kevin Carty – Crew Chief

Pete Mays

Mike Bush

Lucas Sherman

“What people are saying about us”

  • star rating  Beautiful experience from start to finish. The entire crew is so friendly and welcoming. We felt safe the entire flight, truly an experience worth having!

    M1971SWjessm
    6/23/2021

    star rating  Such an incredible experience. The owners Bud and Stacia were extremely professional yet did an amazing job at making everyone feel comfortable and welcomed- they remembered everyone’s names and even... read more

    elenamS8184TK
    6/22/2021

    star rating  The whole adventure was exciting and memorable. The most amazing thing was the “balloonar eclipse”. Bud, the owner/operator, was a great story teller, and his wife provided the... read more

    GoPlaces816932
    6/21/2021
  • star rating  Traveling with our 7 yr.old granddaughter, who was completely comfortable and enjoyed every bit of he ride.

    BonnieP32
    6/16/2021

    star rating  Our family had a fabulous time. It was an amazing experience. We enjoyed beautiful scenery and hospitality. Bud and Stacia were professional, competent, organized and very kind. Thank you Wild... read more

    I1491RMannf
    6/16/2021

    star rating  Absolutely awesome experience. Everyone in our large group of 8 was doing this for the first time, and we all felt very safe. Especially being afraid of heights, this is... read more

    618shaand
    6/13/2021
  • star rating  First time hot air balloon ride and Bud and his crew made it very enjoyable! Beautiful scenery and views of the mountains, valley and Yampa river. I would do it... read more

    Elaine P
    6/09/2021

    star rating  The balloon ride from Wild West was a wonderful time! Highly recommend it!! The owners Bud and Stacia were very organized, professional and genuinely nice people. We felt well taken... read more

    denverbobcat
    6/08/2021

    star rating  The pilot, staff, and ground crew were professional and engaging. My wife and I had a wonderful flight.

    D2625EUdavidi
    6/08/2021
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