The Special Shape Rodeo started in 1989 and now has become the most popular event at the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta®. Since the Balloon Fiesta started the Special Shape Rodeo in 1989, many events around the world have now added some kind of special shape event to their program.

The first Special Shape Rodeo balloons launched on Thursday and Friday afternoons and were lucky enough to fly both days. This event was such a success that it created major traffic jams and produced huge crowds. Twenty-eight shapes participated in the first event and the Special Shape Rodeo was on solid ground. The Shape Rodeo grew each year with 35 shapes in 1990, 45 shapes in 1991, 62 shapes from eight countries in 1992, and a whopping 108 in 1996, the largest Special Shape Rodeo at the time.

In 1993 the Special Shape Rodeo added a third flight that would take place Thursday morning and by 1998, Special Shapes were so popular that they were the only balloons to launch from the field on Thursday and Friday mornings and glow from the field on the same evenings– totaling four events dedicated strictly to Special Shapes. The shapes glow has come to be called the Special Shape Glowdeo™. 

2023 Special Shape Gallery

 (112 shape pictures below. Be patient. It may take a moment to load all the pictures. Not all 2023 shapes are presented.)

For a list of the Balloon Names and Pilots, scroll to the end of the pictures.

Balloon Name

Pilot Name




1 DOWN 8-2 GO James Phelan Lincoln IL United States
ADELAIDE THE KOALA Ben Alford Bristol England United Kingdom
AIRABELLE, THE CREAMLAND COW William Ritchie Golden, British Columbia V0A Canada
ALICORN Toby Brown Denver CO United States
AMELIA BEARHART Michael Ford Albuquerque NM United States
ARMADILLO SHERIFF Ricky Dillbeck Interlachen Fla United States
ASTRO THE ALIEN Lee Hooper Radstock Somerset United Kingdom
BABY T-REX Rex Jennings Vernal UT United States
BABYMONSTER Francisco Naccarato Ribeirão Prêto São Paulo Brazil
BALLOONAFUL SUNRISE Cornelius Davison Phoenix AZ United States
BANDIT Diane Karlsson Chandler TX United States
BARNSTORMER Colin Graham Belgrade MT United States
BEAGLE MAXIMUS James Cassell Albuquerque NM United States
BELLA THE BULLDOG Simon Wrighton Jersey UK United Kingdom
BELZEBUTH Laurent Lajoye Scy Grand est France
BLASER SWISSLUBE David Strasmann Affoltern I. Emmental Bern Switzerland
BOB THE LIGHTHOUSE Josh Cato Reno TX United States
BUD E. BEAVER David Adler Yuma AZ United States
BUSBY THE KINGS GUARD Paul Burrows Bristol North Somerset United Kingdom
BUSTER THE BULLDOG Claire Monk Glastonbury SOMERSET United Kingdom
BUZZY Vicki Fogue Columbia MO United States
BUZZY THE BEE Janice Sines Ashland MO United States
CARNIVAL Mark Meyer Vass NC United States
CHEEZY Nathan Dieringer Menasha WI United States
CHRIS P. BACON Jordan Cox Carmel IN United States
COCO THE CLOWN Gary Sines Ashland MO United States
COOCKO MAG Jose Eduardo Alves De Souza Barueri São Paulo Brazil
CYNTHIA SEAL Henry Rolfe Battle Creek MI United States
DANGLY BITS John Pata Rio Rancho NM United States
DARTH VADER Trent Bishop Columbus OH United States
DAZ Matthew Hurst St. Peters MO United States
DUMA Philip Bowles Chippenham Whiltshire United Kingdom
DYNO Christopher Monk Glastonbury SOMERSET United Kingdom
ELVIS BALLOON Deborah Young Albuquerque NM United States
FIRST IN FLIGHT Scott Griswold Selkirk NY United States
FLYING BUS Rubens Kalousdian Sao Paulo São Paulo Brazil
GIZZMO William Robison Fort Worth TX United States
HAM-LET Douglas Gantt Rio Rancho NM United States
HIGH TOP FLIER William Vavra Reno NV United States
HUG A BEAR Filip Audenaert Waasmunster   Belgium
HUMPTY DUMPTY Richard Lawhorn Louisville KY United States
HYLA THE FROG John Viner North Muskham Nottinghamshire United Kingdom
IN THE BUFF Barry Ballinger Lubbock TX United States
ITSY BITSYI Seth Hunter Avon IN United States
IVO Justin Cox Carmel IN United States
JOELLY Michael Glen Mesa AZ United States
JOEY LITTLE BEE Christopher Glen Spokane WA United States
JOTA BALLOON Luiz Paulo G. R. Assis Cesário Lange São Paulo Brazil
KERMIE THE FROG Todd Monahan Queensbury NY United States
KEYSTONE WILLY Wil Lapointe Indio CA United States
LILLY LITTLE BEE Robert Romaneschi Peoria AZ United States
LINDY Glen Wooge St. Louis MO United States
LION Jacob Vaillanourt Trois Rivieres Quebec Canada
LITTLE DOG Valdemir Taveira Osasco São Paulo Brazil
LULU William Randell Coopersburg PA United States
MAGIC LUNA Lupercio Lima   São Paulo Brazil
MANDRILL Warley Macedo Boituva São Paulo Brazil
MARIO THE RACE CAR Donald McClinton Prospect KY United States
MASTER YODA BALLOON Benoit Lambert Court St Etienne   Belgium
MASTER ZABA David Baker Thatcham Berkshire United Kingdom
MILKYWAY William Kinser Edmond OK United States
MISS AUTUMN Patricia Newlin Riverton WY United States
MISTER Z Daniel Stukas Central SC United States
MONTIE THE BLACK SHEEP Gregory Ashton Meridian ID United States
MR. WINTER Cameron Wall Enumclaw WA United States
OFF THE WALL Karalyn Mumm Reno NV United States
OGGY THE FRIENDLY DRAGON John Semler Westfield IN United States
OWLBERT EYENSTEIN Gary Moore Lake Havasu City AZ United States
PANTHER James Hodge The Villages FL United States
PARTY! Sheryl Reichert El Cajon CA United States
PEACOCK Andrew Holly     United Kingdom
PEG LEG PETE Dave Reineke Mahomet IL United States
PENCIL BOY Gerald Schuler Reno NV United States
PIKO Sylvain Tremblay     CA
PRINCESS NELLY Peter Van Overwalle Nazareth Oost Vlaanderen Belgium
PUDDLES Kristopher Hlebechuk Wasilla AK United States
PUDDY CAT Brian Chase Moscow PA United States
RED DEVIL Kelly Sasser Phenix City AL United States
SAHUARO GRANDE Boby Nilz Marana AZ United States
SEABED Marcos Antonio Bonimcontro   São Paulo Brazil
SIMBALOO Ian Sharpe Bucknell Shropshire United Kingdom
SMOKEY BEAR Elizabeth Wright-Smith Albuquerque NM United States
SNOBIRD Donald Edwards Soldotna AK United States
SOMETHIN' FISHY Sean Eakin Tomah WI United States
SPEEDY Edward Buzzard Albuquerque NM United States
SPIDER PIG Scott Gneiting St Goerge Ut United States
SPLASH Jonathan Hodge Madison Heights MI United States
STEGGY George Theodoro Ary Ribeirão Preto São Paulo Brazil
STORK Mark Komadina Rio Rancho NM United States
STRIKER William Grogan Cleveland NC United States
SUNNY BOY Benjamin Drennan Cordele GA United States
SUSHI Aaron Dieringer Reno NV United States
SYDNEY Thomas Randall Placitas