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America's Challenge

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.

2015 America's Challenge

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Gas Balloon News & updates

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Oct 11, 2014

Update Saturday, October 11, 10:30 PM MDT (0430Z)

Pilots, crews, and officials for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta’s 19th America’s Challenge gathered tonight to celebrate a safe and successful race and to congratulate Anulfo Gonzalez and Angel Aguirre of Spain on their victory.

Oct 9, 2014

Update Thursday, October 9, 9:00 AM MDT (1500Z)

The Command Center reports that the final team aloft in the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta’s 19th America’s Challenge distance race for gas balloon has made a picture-perfect stand-up landing south-southwest of Lebanon, Kentucky.

Oct 9, 2014

Update Thursday, October 9, 5:15 PMMDT (1115Z)

There’s a phrase in America: “It’s all over but the shouting.”  Well, at the America’s Challenge, it’s never all over until the last team is safely on the ground, the crew has reached and packed the balloon, and the teams are all on the way back to Albuquerque.

Oct 8, 2014

Update: Wednesday, October 8, 11:30 PM MDT (0530Z)

The America’s Challenge Race Command Center has just received word that Kryzsztof Zapart and Mateusz Rękas of Poland (Team 6) have executed a safe night landing near Perryville, MO, about 60 miles (96 km) south-southeast of St. Louis and not far from the Mississippi River.  They traveled 941 miles (1,514 km) in 46 hours aloft, and are the apparent second place finishers in the race.
Oct 8, 2014

Tue 10/8/14 10:45 PM MDT (0445Z)

Only two teams remain aloft in the America’s Challenge distance race for gas balloons, flying through the night in the quest to travel further than their fellow competitors and claim the title in one of the world’s most prestigious races.

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