The America's Challenge Gas Balloon Race was founded by the Balloon Fiesta in 1995 due to the vision and efforts of Mark Sullivan, former Balloon Fiesta President and recipient of the Montgolfier Diplome (one of ballooning's highest honors), who saw the need for America to be identified with the world's most prestigious ballooning sport.
The America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Race is modeled after the Coupe Aeronautique Gordon Bennett, but it differs from the older event in allowing balloons from all countries, without limits on the number of entries from each. The team that travels the longest distance wins.
Update 11 AM MDT (1700 UTC) October 27, 2016
In a race which may have set a new standard for directional diversity, patience paid off as Albuquerque's Peter Cuneo and Barbara Fricke outlasted the field to win their fourth America's Challenge distance race for gas balloons.
Update 0745 MDT Sunday, October 9, 2016 (1345 UTC)
The Command Center reports that Peter Cuneo and Barbara Fricke of Albuquerque, the last team aloft, has landed near Monroe City, Missouri, about 20 miles west of Hannibal, MO, as the apparent winners of the 21st Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta America's Challenge distance race for gas balloons. All results are provisional until the teams complete their debriefing with Scoring Officer Jim Byrd and their tracking data is confirmed.
Update 1815 MDT Saturday, October 8, 2016 (0005 UTC Sunday, October 9)
Darkness is approaching in the American Midwest and in Texas, the locations of the final two balloons in the 21st America's Challenge distance race for gas balloons.