Born and raised in Meridian, MS, Matt doesn’t remember not being around balloons. His father Larry started flying balloons in 1979 when Matt was 2 years old.
Matt received his Hot Air Balloon pilot certificate in 1994. Today, Matt has almost 1,000 hours of balloon flight time and is the FAA Designated Examiner for the state of Mississippi, conducting check-rides issuing balloon pilot certificates.
Matt holds a Bachelor’s degree in Commercial Aviation from Delta State University in Cleveland, MS. Matt has over 12,000 hours of flight time between airplanes and balloons and he is currently a pilot on the Boeing 757/767 for UPS flying packages around the globe.
Matt has flown balloons all over the United States as well as in England and Italy. The Cotswold’s in England being his favorite place to fly. While he really hasn’t flown many famous people in balloons, He has flown many celebrity’s in airplanes, including: Muhammad Ali, House Speaker Paul Ryan, James Earl Jones, Anderson Cooper, Senator Patrick Leahy, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Little John, and Tim Irvine from The Food Network’s Restaurant Impossible.
Matt’s Hobbies outside of flying include Fine Wines, Cooking, and Hunting. Matt is married to his beautiful wife Stacey and has two Children Irie, 8 and Orrin, 2. Matt has spent much time in the New Orleans area over the years visiting many of his family members that call New Orleans home. His cousins were raised here and his Aunt and Uncle still reside in River Ridge.
Matt is very excited to be the Balloon Meister of the Bayou Road Balloon Festival for his third year in a row!