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Balloon in the breeze

Feb 6, 2013 - By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer

Cloud Kisser II gives tethered rides for winter carnival.

The 2013 Wild West Winter Carnival continued Saturday, and Riverton's City Park was booked for the morning, starting with tethered hot air balloon rides.

The city's Cloud Kisser II balloon was ready to lift off, after the winds settled down. Thick ropes tied the balloon down but gave it enough room to rise about 100 feet off the ground.

As pilot Ginny Holcomb pulled on a rope that fired the propane burner, shooting hot air into the balloon to help it ascend, the loud noise caught the attention of the Riverton residents lining up to board it.

Children watched and asked whether it was a good idea to board the massive, tilting balloon.

Austin Romero, 3, changed his mind about getting on the balloon after he stared at the balloon up in the sky.

"I don't like balloons," he cried to his mother.

Drew and Kara Bott brought their two daughters, 15-month-old Kendra and 3-year-old Elsie, to their first hot air balloon ride Saturday. Elsie expressed excitement to her parents about the ride but also hesitated when she heard the loud noises coming from it.

Most participants overcame their anxieties and enjoyed the ride.

Cloud Kisser II was purchased by the city in 1994 and is expected to get a complete material replacement by its manufacturer in the next few months.

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