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”

  •   What a wonderful, memorable experience! We were happy to witness the entire process, from stretching out the balloon, to filling it, and then the ride itself. All the staff... read more

    900terie
    6/28/2020

      This was an awesome experience! Bud and Stacia were great hosts and pilot! They went above and beyond with everything. We would highly recommend it!

    scottlJ7080OP
    6/21/2020

      My girlfriend and I had a wonderful time. I was a little worried at first that I would get vertigo or a random fear if heights, however the trip was... read more

    abn7183
    3/05/2020
  •   The owners Bud and Stacia are so friendly and welcoming. Started the day with a shuttle where we were greeted at the launch with HOT coffee, muffins and mimosa’s...followed by... read more

    Robert S
    2/14/2020

      This experience was just awesome. Both my gf and I were a little nervous going in but after just a few seconds off the ground, we felt great and totally... read more

    324zacb
    2/03/2020

      Bud, Stacia, and their crew at Wild West Balloon Adventures provided a wonderful experience for me! Bud is very professional and thorough with rider safety and enjoyment! He and his... read more

    AggieGirl84
    1/17/2020
  •   Our ride was a lovely experience! It was a great last day of our vacation! Riding a hot air balloon is a unique and memorable experience that everyone... read more

    coolexperiences
    12/09/2019

      This was an amazing and unique way to take in the beauty of the Steamboat area. I was hesitant as I have a fear of heights, but I wasn't even... read more

    nolangoes
    11/12/2019

      Believe all these 5 star reviews - this was great! The owner (Bud) was our pilot and he and his chase crew were both fun and professional. I'm a bit... read more

    texprincess44
    10/06/2019
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