Rick Bowles has been a longtime Balloon Fiesta volunteer. After his 42nd year volunteering, he is retiring.
In this month’s Inside the Basket, Rick shares how he became involved with this event. From piloting to volunteering, we celebrate and thank him for his dedication to Balloon Fiesta.
How long have you been involved with Balloon Fiesta?
I have been involved for 42 years and have been in charge of the greeters for the past five years. I began running the program after Kay Sant retired.
Please give me a brief overview of your volunteer position and how you became involved with Balloon Fiesta.
In 1975 I was going to fly at Balloon Fiesta. But, Sid Cutter said that he needed help and that I could fly anytime during the year. That year, I helped with everything from balloon crews to field maintenance. I helped with scoring, launching, and safety as well.
What was your role at this year’s event?
I was a greeter this year, what I like most about this position is meeting people. I enjoy talking to people and helping them understand ballooning. I’m a balloonatic, so I enjoy talking about balloons. I began ballooning in 1969 and was a gas pilot before I was a hot air balloon pilot.
Do you have a favorite balloon?
This year I liked the Armadillo. I’ve flown and crewed the balloon Nelly B and with Sid Cutter on Tractor. They’re all good balloons.
What advice do you have for Balloon Fiesta guests visiting for the first time?
Get there early to take it all in, ask a lot of questions, take a lot of pictures.