ClovisFest hot air balloon pilots ready for action


Pilot Bob Locklin, also known as “Magic Bob”, heats up his balloon and prepares to take off.

Any hot air balloon pilot seems to have not only a passion for flying, but also a passion for pleasing others, as demonstrated by hot air balloon pilot, Bob “Magic” Locklin.

Locklin will serve as Balloon Meister for the Clovis Fest Balloon Celebration on Clovis Fest Saturday and Sunday, September 24-25.

During this part of the celebration, balloon fanatics and families will have the opportunity to see how the hot air balloons are inflated, as well as the chance to take a captive ride in which the balloon itself will rise to hundred feet. while being tied in place.

During the Clovis Chamber of Commerce’s “Wake Up Clovis” zoom call, Balloon Meister “Magic” Bob was asked about everything from balloons to how he got that nickname.

A magician for over 20 years, Locklin was once introduced on stage as “Magic” Bob, and the name stuck.

With 25 years of experience in hot air ballooning, it was a “lock” that “Magic” would be asked to be Balloon Meister, not only does he have the experience, he has been in charge of hot air balloon events at Clovis for 20 years.

“We like to involve people, show ourselves and show them how it works. At ClovisFest, we invite people to look at the basket, let them take pictures, things like that… For many people, the first time they see it, they can’t believe how big these balloons are .

And that seems to be the most important side to getting people to support the bloated aspect of ClovisFest. For $10-15, spectators are allowed to ride in balloons to “get a feel” of what it’s like to be in the balloon.

“You have a good chance of feeling it, and the kids love it.”

Locklin warns younger people, however, that the burners that fill the ball can be a bit noisy when working.

Locklin then made sure to make it known that each hot air balloon’s plane must be built each time it is to be used. This requires the help of several hands, at least three per ball, and preferably five to six.

“Anyone interested in [ballooning] at all, tell them to come and volunteer. We will bring them to the pilots meeting, because we can always use the help. We’ll teach you on the spot,” Locklin said.

Clovis Chamber of Commerce President Greg Newman, acting as a moderator between “Magic” Bob and the zoom viewers, noted that the balloon experience is a fun experience, especially the captive ride opportunity. .

And with the addition of the “balloonist breakfast” – champagne – “Magic”, Bob relayed the information that champagne is just a form of long-standing tradition on hot air balloons.

“It all started in 1783 when the first guys to fly in a hot air balloon came down to earth, people didn’t know what it was. So they started attacking.

In order to calm potential aggressors, hot air balloons would attach bottles of champagne to the bottom of their wicker baskets to keep the peace.

If you want to see hot air balloons at work, you can get a front-row seat at this year’s ClovisFest. You can embark on all there is to offer from a hot air balloon during the celebration from September 24-25.