The Great Reno Balloon Race 2012

The Great Reno Balloon Race is a three-day event in Reno, Nevada that is held each September. By coincidence I just happened to be in town on the first day of the 2012 races. At dawn 87 hot air balloons lifted from the Rancho San Rafael Park in a mass ascension to launch the event.

The Great Reno Balloon Race 2012
Balloons getting ready to head into the skies

The first balloon into the sky was a significant moment for the city of Reno. The balloon also had a fly past of 3 North American T-6 Texan aircraft to commemorate those lost in the aircraft crash at the Reno Air Races in 2011. It was a touching moment for all those that were present.

Filling a  hot air balloon
Prepping the first balloon for lift off
missing man memorial pass t-6 texan reno balloon races 2012
A “missing man” pass by the T-6 Texans as the first balloon lifts into the sky
Reno Balloon Races Nevada
The balloons start to lift off in numbers

Standing there in the early morning as all these hot air balloons were inflated and lifted into the sky really was something special. Slowly but surely the sky was full of balloons. Such a spectacular sight!

The Great Reno Balloon Air Races 2012
So colourful!

The colours and different shapes of the balloons was a sight to behold, from traditional designs to a panda bear, stage-coach, Pepsi Can, goldfish, Smokey the Bear, a shark and my all time favourite….a giant Darth Vader helmet (this balloon had come all the way from Belgium for the event)!

Darth Vader hot air balloon reno balloon races 2012
Rise Lord Vader!
Star Wars Cosplayers Reno Balloon Races 2012 Darth Vader Stormtrooper
Star Wars Cosplayers at the races
Darth Vader Balloon Reno Nevada 2012
I was pretty happy (I love Star Wars)!
Reno Nevada Hot Air Balloons
Balloons of all shapes and sizes take to the air over Reno
Ladybird Panda Hot Air Balloon
The ladybird takes shape
The Great Reno Balloon Races 2012
Balloons all about
Reno, Nevada USA Hot Air Balloons
I wish it was possible to take a photo of all 87 at the one time!
Smokey the Bear hot air balloon reno nevada 2012
Some of the themed balloons such as “Smokey the Bear” are long time crowd favourites
Pencil Boy hot air balloon reno nevada 2012
Pencil Boy!
Goldfish hot air balloon Reno 2012
The Goldfish balloon was quite well done

This was a really unique experience for me as I had only ever previously seen maybe 5 or 6 hot air balloons in the sky at any one time. I am glad I just happened to be in Reno on the right day to see the event take off!

The Great Reno Balloon Race 2012 Reno Nevada Hot Air Balloon
A moment to reflect on a fantastic morning

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Deano says:

    To see a great video of this event please check out this on Apron 6

  2. Danielle Schwiesow says:

    Any ideas as to where or who I can get a 2012 Reno great balloon race official event pin from? I’ve been searching because I attended the event last year, but the item was sold out when I went to purchase….

    1. Deano says:

      Hi Danielle,

      I am not sure but you could try contacting the organisers who may be able to help or ebay is a possibility I guess?

      Good luck


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