Great Reno Balloon Races, 2006

Note: These pictures are about 320 x 240. I do have 1260 x 980 images of each of them. If you'd like one, let me know. :-)

The races start out with the Eagle rising as they play the national anthem.
EagleRising
Eagle
The below are several views from up in the balloon. It was a very hazy day due to a forest fire over the hill -- all the smoke had settled in the valley.
BalloonsAboveTheHighway
BalloonsOverTheHill
There are two Bee balloons. They have some sort of purpose. I do not know what it is. Maybe they're supposed to try to show you where the targets are? But they went the other way. Stupid bees. Never trust a giant insect-shaped balloon, that's what I say, by golly.
Bee
FlyingBee
I like the look of the balloon in front of the rising sun and the way it lights up.
BeforeTheSun
This is how it starts out. A tarp on the ground.
Beginning
Hey, man, those guys already have their balloons half inflated! You going to let them beat you or what?
Beginning2
Ahhh, the doomed chipmunk. That is, I think it's a chipmunk. Sadly, they suffered a blowout when they landed near a baseball field. Barbed wire + balloon = double-plus ungood.
DoomedChipmunk
Just another pic of a balloon about to eclipse the sun.
Eclipse
The Energizer Bunny balloon. It kept going, and going, and going, until, in a tragic turn of events, it was run over by the Wells Fargo Wagon balloon. Rest ye well, little Bunny, rest ye well!
EnergizerBunny
Hey, look, it's Nemo! But he's a giant mutant head!
Fish
This balloon was sponsored by the Northern Nevada Dairymen. Need I say more?
GotMilk
GotMilk2
Here are some pictures of the balloons inflating. You start out with a big giant fan that blows air into the envelope of the balloon until it's full enough to start the flames without catching the balloon on fire. It's a bit tricky, and yet, in three years of balloon races, I've never seen anyone catch their balloon on fire.
Inflating
Inflating2
Inflating3
Inflating4
Inflating5
MoreInflation
MoreInflation2
The inside of the balloon as it's being blown up is just one of the coolest sights to me. I don't know why, but something about the light is really nifty.
InsideTheBalloon
InsideTheBalloon2
InsideTheBalloon3
InsideTheBalloon4
InsideTheBalloon5
Our pilot, Bob Raper, gives instructions as we're getting the balloon ready to go.
PilotGivesInstructions
The next few pictures are of the Mass Ascension. Tons of balloons getting ready and launching all at the same time.
MassAscension
MassAscension2
MassLaunch
MassLaunch2
MassLaunch3
MassLaunch4
MassLaunch5
MassLaunch6
Finally, we took off and looked down on some of the slower balloons.
MoreBalloons
Look, there's Jesus!
JesusOnTheGround
Landing
LookingBack
Flying
HazySky
HazySky2
I had to color correct Humpty Dumpty here because the sky was so hazy, you couldn't really see his face.
HumptyDumpty
IntoTheSunrise
While we were up, we caught a glimpse of Jesus over behind some other balloons. He appeared to be landing. "Jesus is going DOWN, man," said some wisecracker.
Jesus
Noah's Ark was also a nifty balloon.
NoahsArk
OnTheGround
Here are some of our neighbors in the sky.
OurNeighbors
RisingAbove
SmokeyBear
SoloFlight
SoloFlight2
Sunrise
Surrounded
TheField
TheField2
TheField3
TheField4
ThroughTheRopes
As we were landing, we came very close over the top of another already landed balloon. We yelled down at them, "Hey, do you mind if we land on your envelope?" Didn't hear their answer, so we opted for the ground instead.
TopOfBalloon
TopOfBalloon2
TopOfBalloon3
TowardTheField
TowardTheField2
TowardTheFIeld3
UpAbove
ValleyView