Facing a Diamond Jubilee celebration in 1981, community leaders asked: "What could we do to celebrate that is unique, lasting and will grow in popularity?"
Riverton native George E. Peck suggested the idea of a hot air balloon rally. Tom Barrow of Billings agreed to be the first Balloonmeister, and he recruited 15 balloons to fly in Riverton in July 1981. Tom served as the Balloonmeister for the first three years, turning duties over to John Ditmer of Greeley Colorado in 1984. Ditmer, had won the "hare and hound" contest two of the first three years of the Rendezvous rallies. He served as Balloonmeister for three years until a heart condition grounded him.
Rendezvous then turned inward for Balloonmeisters, with Bob Peck serving for four years, succeeded by Garry Burnette, who served for two years, followed by Roxie Holbert, one of several local people trained as balloon pilots, who served as Balloonmeister in 1993. Currently Riverton has three dedicated flyers in Pat Newlin, Steve Scott and Mike Shelley. Since 2001 Pat Newlin has served as the balloonmeister.
In 1989 Al Evans, a veteran aeronaut at many Riverton ralleys, asked the citizens of Riverton why they didn't have their own balloon. Riverton answered the challenge, volunteers raised $25,000 and in 1990 Cloud Kisser was Riverton's official balloon.
Don't miss the Annual Riverton Rendezvous Balloon Rally July 17th - 19th, 2020