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.
A distinguished field of seasoned competitors will gather in Albuquerque in October to take on one of the toughest tests of skill and endurance in ballooning: the 22nd Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta’s America’s Challenge distance race for gas balloons. This year’s competition is scheduled to launch (weather permitting) at approximately 6 PM on Saturday, October 7 from Balloon Fiesta Park. Eight teams are scheduled to compete this year.