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More than hot air

click to enlarge PHOTO BY JON KELLEY

Five years ago Ed Riggs, or Big Bald Ed, met a guy making balloon animals for tips outside of a bar in Tucson, Ariz.

"I had a plan," he recalls.

Riggs managed to find out the apartment building where the balloon artist lived he just wasn't sure which apartment. "I moved from here down to Tucson and I got a job at the convenience store right next to that apartment building, hoping that I'd run into this guy and he'd show me a couple of things. It worked out real good, too, because we turned out to be the best of friends."

It's not widely known how people get into balloon work. You have to be likeable. You have to be eccentric. You have to stalk people you don't know to learn their skills.

Riggs moved back to Colorado Springs and found (created?) a market. He now tours the city, constructing balloon creations that rival his mentor's.

Riggs' repertoire includes such kid-pleasers as flowers, butterflies, unicorns, motorcycles, teddy bears that hug your arm, teddy bears that go on a heart, frogs, horses, ducks, space aliens, dinosaurs, Elmo hats, ladybug bracelets and turtle bracelets.

Big Bald Ed often can be found on the north side at the Waffle House, Hooters (during family time!) and Denny's, and on Colorado Avenue outside of Meadow Muffins.

  • More than hot air

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