GERING — “Ballooning 101” Training that was planned for National Tourism Week had to be rescheduled due to weather; the new date is Friday, June 14.

You can get ready for the top 50 hot air balloon pilots in the country, their crews, entourages and visitors coming for the U.S. Nationals Hot Air Balloon Championships this August by attending the “Ballooning 101”. The training promises to be a fun-informative, hands on experience on the launch site for Old West Balloon Fest; you’ll need to get up early, but it will definitely be worth your time. All questions on ballooning will be answered; How do you put the equipment together, what is the balloon made from, what type of fuel is used, the different sizes of the balloons, where do you launch and land, what direction will you fly, what does the chase crew do and much more.

“Ballooning 101” will be offered to SPONSORS of Old West Balloon Fest-U.S. Nationals Competition and tourism and services industry front-line employees. Colleen Johnson (Event director for Old West Balloon Fest) and Mike Johnson (Co-owner of High Plains Hot Air Balloon Company) will lead the training filled with general information about balloons and ballooning. Breakfast burritos and beverages will be served for attendees. At the end of the training; a raffle will be held with the names of pre-registered attendees of “Ballooning 101”. Four lucky winners, two (2) front-line employees and two (2) OWBF-U.S. Nationals sponsors will win a balloon ride to be taken that morning, weather permitting.

Training will be held on Friday, June 14 at 7 a.m. at the High Plains Hot Air Balloon Company hangar at the Mitchell Air Field; address is 60417 Mitchell South Road, Mitchell. Training starts promptly at 7:00 A.M. all attendees are encouraged to arrive 15 minutes early; dress in layers, wear closed toed shoes, and be ready for an exciting and informative event. “Ballooning 101” is being offered free of charge for OWBF-U.S. Nationals sponsors and tourism industry frontline employees. The training event will last from 7:00 am to approximately 9 a.m. (unless you are one of the lucky winners of a balloon ride, then plan on 10 a.m.).

Pre-Registration is required; register by emailing the Gering Visitors Bureau at or the Scotts Bluff Area Visitors Bureau at Registrations for “Ballooning 101” are due by Wednesday, June 12 at Noon. “Ballooning 101” is sponsored by the Gering Visitors Bureau, Scotts Bluff Area Visitors Bureau and High Plains Hot Air Balloon Company.

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