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.

Have Questions about the America's Challenge Gas Balloon Race? We have a FAQ page with the most common Questions and Answers, click here!

2017 America's Challenge

Gas Balloon News & updates

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Oct 7, 2017

Update 1:20 PM MDT (1920Z) Saturday, October 07, 2017

The eight teams competing in the America’s Challenge distance race for gas balloons are beginning preparations for a late Saturday afternoon launch.   It should be a spectacular evening at Balloon Fiesta Park as the gas balloons depart on their journey across America, followed by the Twilight Twinkle Balloon Glow and a terrific fireworks display. 

Oct 6, 2017

Update 4 PM (2200Z) Friday, October 6, 2017

Conditions are looking favorable for a launch Saturday evening, October 7, for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta’s 22nd America’s Challenge distance race for gas balloons.

Oct 4, 2017

Update: October 4, 2017

Who are the men and women who will be competing in this year’s America’s Challenge, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta's distance race for gas balloons?

Sep 12, 2017

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. 

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