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 is learning the art of ballooning photography. She and Bud were happy to announce the birth of their daughter, Emma in September of 2018 and their second daughter, Joey in January of 2022.

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 the girls.

Our Crew

Kevin Carty – Crew Chief

Mike Bush

Lucas Sherman

Dallas Jensen

Michelle Crawford

“What people are saying about us”

  • star rating  The crew was amazing and genuinely there to give you the best experience possible. They definitely love what they do! And then there are the views! Wow!

    avatar thumb Andy B
    October 10, 2023

    star rating  Recommend!  - What an amazing experience!

    Every member of the team was so nice and personable. They offered donut holes and hot coffee before taking off, which was a great... read more

    avatar thumb Jessica H
    October 10, 2023

    star rating  Fall colors up high - What a beautiful way to view the fall colors this season. Friendly, funny, and informative crew. They greet you with smiles, kindness, humor, and also leave you with... read more

    avatar thumb yvonne h
    October 10, 2023
  • star rating  Unforgettable experience - Beautiful day for a balloon ride. We were met by friendly staff and had a great experience from the entire crew at Wild West Ballon Adventures. If experiencing... read more

    avatar thumb williamalspach
    October 8, 2023

    star rating  Awesome experience  - This was a dream of a lifetime! Bob and Stacia are very friendly. The ride, the views, everything was perfect!

    avatar thumb lisa b
    October 6, 2023

    star rating  Ahhh-mazing Experience! - We celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary with an early morning balloon ride and it exceeded expectations!

    Totally felt safe and we enjoyed learning a bit about the area even... read more

    avatar thumb Steamboat323
    October 6, 2023
  • star rating  I had a great ride with Bud in his balloon! You start out with the mountains in the distance and within 15 minutes you are gently flying above them. And... read more

    avatar thumb 411Tamara
    October 4, 2023

    star rating  Best view of Steamboat! - Great trip and amazing views - a little history of the town and area that we cruised over - I would totally do this again!

    avatar thumb Meredith L
    October 1, 2023

    star rating  The best views - Great people and amazing views! The staff work hard and really take care of you during the experience.

    avatar thumb Sarah D
    October 1, 2023