About Us

About Us

A Bit About Us


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


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


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  Great experience! Bud, Stacia and the whole crew were wonderful. Very informative, fun filled morning viewing the Yampa valley from above!

    October 6, 2022

    star rating  Such a delightful trip with friends. A bucket list for me. It is a well run operation. The owner, Bud, Is a great commentator and story teller. A must do... read more

    October 5, 2022

    star rating  It was a wonderful experience. Bud was a great pilot and his crew did a great job too. We really enjoyed learning the history of ballooning.

    September 30, 2022
  • star rating  Bud did an incredible job piloting us on a wonderfully memorable flight, Mackenzie took amazing photos and provided excellent hospitality, while Kevin and the ground crew setup the ballon and... read more

    September 27, 2022

    star rating  Had a fantastic time on our high flying adventure! Gorgeous views. Bud, Mackenzie, and the rest of the team were wonderful. They answered all our questions and made us feel... read more

    September 27, 2022

    star rating  Bud, Stacia, and the whole crew was excellent!
    It was a beautiful flight, Bud the pilot (and there's a great story about Bud and Stacia. Then there's a... read more

    September 26, 2022
  • star rating  I highly recommend this experience with Wild West Balloon Adventures. My wife and I were celebrating our anniversary with a hot air balloon ride, and the experience exceeded our expectations.... read more

    September 26, 2022

    star rating  I have been wanting to do this for many years. The pilot was great as well as the rest of the staff. I was disappointed that we did... read more

    September 26, 2022

    star rating  Without fail, the WWBA team delivers spectacular vistas along with great insights to the area form above. A “must do” for our guests and we continue to enjoy the experience... read more

    September 25, 2022
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