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Rainbow Ryders Expands to Queen Creek, Arizona

Rainbow Ryders hot air balloon ridesRainbow Ryders Hot Air Balloon Ride Co., the nation’s largest hot air ballooning company, has expanded into Queen Creek, AZ, with new services launching November 13, 2014.

Sunrise rides will take off from Schnepf Farms Thursdays through Saturdays and show visitors a unique perspective of the Sonoran Desert.

The Queen Creek service expands Rainbow Ryders Arizona presence. Rides are also scheduled from their Deer Creek office and in Albuquerque, NM. Plans are underway for further expansion into other western cities.

“Queen Creek and the East Valley are exciting tourism destinations in the Valley of the Sun,” explained Scott Appelman, President of Rainbow Ryders Hot Air Balloon Ride Co. “The focus on family friendly events and activities for both residents and tourists made this a natural fit for us. Many people’s bucket lists include hot air ballooning, and our business is devoted to bucket list fulfillment.”

The service officially was unveiled at a VIP event in October. At that event, Queen Creek Mayor Gail Barney said, “The Town is eager to introduce visitors to the beauty and uniqueness of Queen Creek. What better way to start your day than with an amazing sunrise and an introduction to all of the agri-tourism and equestrian destinations and activities in the community.”

Rainbow Ryders Named Best Hot Air Balloon Rides in the US by Fodor’s Travel

Fodor’s Travel announced their list of 10 Best Hot Air Balloon Rides in the U.S.Fodor's Travel, naming Rainbow Ryders Hot Air Balloon Ride Co., based in Albuquerque, New Mexico to the list. Fodor’s, a renowned travel guide for both national and international destinations, showcases interesting points of interest for travelers and makes recommendations.

Writing about Rainbow Ryders, Fodor’s said: “Albuquerque is famous for its annual International Balloon Fiesta, which brings hundreds of hot air balloons together for an incredible sight, but you don’t have to wait until next October to take part in the aerial fun.

Rainbow Ryders operates hot air balloon tours along the Rio Grande almost 300 days a year. Guided by FAA-certified pilots, the balloons move using wind currents and shift directions by changing altitudes. With baskets that can fit up to 12, bring a group along to party in the cool air of the desert morning.”

“It’s an honor to receive national recognition from one of the leading travel resources in the nation,” said Scott Appleman, founder and president of Rainbow Ryders. “We’re in the business of having fun and helping our passengers check items off their bucket lists, make their dreams come true, or just have a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and it’s great to be recognized on such a high level for doing what we love to do. We offer travelers a unique experience that creates lasting memories, and we hope to see more visitors from across the nation.”

Special Shapes Sculpt the Sky

Rainbow Ryder’s owner, Scott Appelman, talks to the Albuquerque Journal about the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta’s® special shape balloons and events.

Special shapes allow everyone to experience the magic of ballooning, Appelman says. “Unique to the fiesta in Albuquerque, people can walk around the balloons as they launch and land. The Special Shape Rodeos and glowdeos move people from watching to interacting. The balloons aren’t going anywhere. It’s the largest gathering of special shape balloons in the world.”

“In 1989 we had the first special shapes rodeos. That’s changed the face of Balloon Fiesta. It just blew up. There was so much excitement. It was a change of culture,” he says, adding it turned ballooning from a sport for pilots mostly, to an event that allowed observers to participate.

Special shapes are a larger commitment for owners, pilots and their crews, he explains. The aerodynamics are different for each shape and because of the extra fabric, they weigh more. They are more expensive and can fly fewer hours. A special shape balloon starts about $90,000 and can cost as much as an owner wants to spend with a median price of about $150,000, Appelman says.

Read the whole story at the Albuquerque Journal.

Teen Trades Open Road for Open Skies

KRQE features a story on Rainbow Ryders’ 16-year-old chase crew member Cameron Wall, soon to become a balloon pilot himself!

While most 16 year olds are just starting to drive, one 16-year-old is in the final stages of becoming a certified hot air balloon pilot. Cameron Wall took his first solo flight last month. It’s something he’s wanted to do for as long as he could remember.

“Every year, it was Balloon Fiesta time and I could remember being out on the field and loving it, seeing all the pilots having fun,” said Wall, a sophomore at Bosque School. “I just wanted to be one of them and enjoying it with them.”

Read the rest at KRQE