The "Dawn Patrol" show starts at 5:30 am Saturday and Sunday. After a ground demonstration, they take off.
There are people who prefer spending the night at the launch site rathe than getting up at 4:00 am. Under the blanket is a young couple, a child, and a puppy.
Some teams layout plastic sheeting to keep the balloon off the damp grass.
Other teams unpack the balloon onto the grass.
Most balloons arrive in a small trailer, usually towed by a SUV. "Magic Moments V" is piloted by "Scorch."
The balloons undergo a "cold inflation" using a gasoline powered fan like the one at the bottom of the picture. Then the propane burners are used to finish the inflation. As the heated air expands and rises it lifts the balloon to a verticle position.
I have attempted to identify some of the balloons using photos in the program guide. It's a tricky job of pattern matching. There are probably some mistakes. The balloon at the top of this photo is "Unincorporated" piloted by Diane Karisson of Chandler, TX.
There are Breitling watches that cost far more than the Breitling sponsored silver balloon on the left side of the photo. Hot air balloons cost $20-30,000. Some Breitling watches cost over $100,000.
I count 48 balloons in this picture. That means you are looking at about one-million dollars worth of balloons.
Most balloon "envelopes" are made of nylon or dacron. Near the burners a non-flammable material is used.
The lower left balloon is "Falling Star" piloted by Karen Brown of Reno. The balloon second from right is "WWJD" piloted by Bill Woodhead of Grants Pass, Oregon and sponsored by St. Paul's Methodist Church.
"The Little Bees" were raising money for charity by offering tethered rides for a $5 donation to "The Children's Miracle Network." They have their own website (TheLittleBees.com) and are on Facebook! Left to right they are Lilly, Joelly and Joey.
The Little Bees reflected in Evans Pond.
Smokey Bear was one of the few "special shape" balloons in Reno this year. Smokey is piloted by Bill Chapel of Albuquerque, NM. Smokey is jointly sponsored by the US Forest Service, the BLM and the Nevada Forest Service.
Smokey is up, up, and away.
Wells Fargo is a major sponsor of the Reno Balloon Races. "Centre Stage" is owned and piloted by Elizabeth Wright-Smith of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The silver balloon is the "Breitling Orbiter 3" piloted by Brian Jones from England. Breitling is an upscale Swiss watch maker.
The yellow and blue balloon is "Cheers" piloted by David Wakefield of Sacramento, CA and sponsored by Harrah's Reno.
Evans Pond near the launch field lets you see twice as many balloons.
Geri was alert enough to catch these Canada geese flying over the pond. They were nowhere near the balloons.
I think they look like Christmas tree ornaments floating in the sky. Geri sees them as jewels. A friend of ours says they remind him of Chinese lanterns.
That's Jim with his very heavy backpack full of photo gear. He is capturing the "Mass Ascension Launch" on video tape.
Most the balloons here probably have a capacity of around 60,000 cubic feet of air.
Only sponsors get to ride in the balloons. Balloon baskets are usually made of rattan or wicker.
The balloon on the right appears to be "Check-It-Out" piloted by Mike Kijak of Windsor, California.
The balloon on the left is Outlander piloted by Dean Davey of Victorville, California
The photos in this album were taken at the Great Reno Balloon Race September 10-11, 2010 in Reno, Nevada.