The Great Reno Balloon Race

A week and a half ago I was honored to have been included in Press Day at the Great Reno Balloon Race, partnered up with my friend Amy who never fails to hook me up with the most interesting of gigs.

To say that I was worried to go up in a hot air balloon was an understatement. I have what they call a fear of heights, but I call it a crippling bout of despair and horror. But I mean, come on. Who passes up this kind of opportunity?

So we arrived in Reno the night before, where we stayed in a very nice room at the Silver Legacy. Around 5:45am the next morning, we headed out to the site to get checked in and matched up with a pilot.

There was a lot of waiting around to see if the wind would die down, before any balloons could safely go up in the air. Half the sky was bright blue with white clouds, and the other half (in the direction the wind would be taking us) was filled with dark gray ominous clouds.

A couple of balloons started to go up, but our pilot decided that it was too dangerous and didn’t want to waste a trip up to just have to come right back down.

His little granddaughter Eleanor entertained us for a bit with her cuteness, and then someone walked up and gave her a feather to play with, which she got a kick out of but the rest of us adults were very concerned about. I sure hope someone took the feather away and washed her hands immediately.

More and more balloons were going up, but they seemed to only be the ones that had corporate sponsors,

so right around the time we started to think we weren’t going to go up in a balloon and we wasted all this anxiety for nothing, Rebecca from the PR company who hooked the whole thing up, worked her magic and found us a pilot and a sponsor.

He inspected his balloon, fired it on up,

and had two shaking girls pile into the basket while people held it down for us to have time to sign the releases.

Within seconds we were lifting up off the ground and rising very, very fast!

It wasn’t as scary as I thought it’d be, except for the extremely loud firing off of the flames just inches from our heads.

We got a view of Reno I never knew existed.

Before we knew it, we were landing in the middle of a street in front of the amphitheater at UNR, and we were giddy with joy since we didn’t die.

Then we all teamworked it up and helped put away the balloon and basket and equipment.

I was so thankful that I was included in this event at all, but extra happy that we didn’t miss out on a balloon ride. We were worried there for a couple hours, but it all worked out, and now I can say I conquered another giant fear.

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