We quit our day jobs and bought a hot air balloon business!

If you’ve ever considered quitting your day job and running away with the circus, we can totally relate.

Here is our story:

After years of wishing for a simpler, more adventurous life, FAA certified balloon pilots Keely and Damien Mahony, decided to do just that. They quit their Florida jobs and “ran away with the circus”.  They registered a new company name, “The Flying Circus Inc.”, purchased a 30 year old business and ran for the hills.  Running the long admired Black Hills Balloons was their ticket to a healthier life.

However difficult, they both agreed the change was critical to enjoying life to it’s fullest.

Damien, a punny (forgive the pun) Irish immigrant spent his days flying the largest hot air balloon in the US, but said goodbye to his GM position at Orlando Balloon Rides.  Managing one of the most well-oiled machines in the balloon ride business, primed Damien for more.

Keely, although in love with her Marketing Philanthropy position at Hard Rock International, which combined her love of music, marketing and charity, walked away from the “the coolest job ever” (she heard this daily). She traveled the world and collaborated with legends like Rihanna, KISS, Imagine Dragons, The WHO, Yoko Ono Lennon and U2, but her desire to do something different wouldn’t go away.

Where are they now?

The two together are a dynamic duo. Combined, they have over 40 years of flying experience and 20 years of marketing experience. They’ve flown celebrities, hiked Panama, swam the Mediterranean, shared (bad) jokes with passengers from around the world and made countless friends along the way.

Recently married, Keely and Damien spend their winters focusing on travel, volunteering and balloon maintenance.  Summers, they fly and share the Black Hills with some of the most adventurous and fun-loving visitors to the area.  They hike in the afternoon and enjoy life away from a desk and a computer, doing what they love; living.

When you fly with Black Hills balloons, know that you’re flying with people who’ve made every sacrifice to be here; to share this day and moment with you.  Our hope, however high, is that you’ll be inspired to do the same; to enjoy the simple things and take time to smell the mountain air.

Keely and Damien Mahony of Black Hills Balloons