Balloons take flight over Boise

Bonnie Shelton takes a balloon ride

BOISE -- As the sun rose over the foothills, so did dozens of balloons in Ann Morrison Park Thursday morning.

On day two of the Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic, about 30 balloons lifted up into the sky.

KTVB reporter Bonnie Shelton had the chance to ride with balloon pilot Tony Rivara.

Rivara is from Truckee, California, but he's been bringing his balloon to the Spirit of Boise for 20 years.

"I learned (to fly), basically in Reno. I had a pilot down there I crewed for for over a year and he gave me lessons," said Rivara. "I like being in the air."

After being in the sky for only a few minutes, it's easy to understand why. The ride is smooth and peaceful. That is, until you need to move. A quick hit from the burner heats the air inside the balloon, lifting it higher into the sky.

Rivara told us the Treasure Valley is one of his favorite places to pilot.

"I love coming to Boise. People are friendly. It's a nice place to fly," he added.

For the retired 67-year-old, flying is a hobby and a passion.

"The balloon's got 700 something hours, so do I." said Rivara. "I enjoy flying. I like to do it safely, and I'd like to do it another day."

Thursday marked another safe landing in a southeast Boise neighborhood. The entrance even inspired a performance.

A woman who lives nearby came outside her house playing the bagpipe.

Rivara said that's just one more reason he loves the Spirit of Boise event. It's the little things, like a surprise musical performance, that keep him coming back.


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