America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Race competitors liftoff Monday night

Balloon Fiesta

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Teams from across the world took flight Monday night in one of Balloon Fiesta’s premier competitions: the America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Race.

The America’s Challenge is a gas balloon distance race that lasts for days. The winner gets bragging rights for the next year.

On your mark, get set, fly! These balloons are made to go the distance. The America’s Challenge is one of the world’s most prestigious balloon races and the start of the race begins at Balloon Fiesta Park.

These balloons are filled with gas and take to the skies for days, racing each other in hopes of going the farthest. Some go as far as the Great Lakes or even Canada.

“It’s very impressive, especially when you learn about the race, and they’re up there for days,” a spectator said.

“How do they survive up there? How do they eat, how do they do everything up there for so long?” said another.

The nine balloons in this race come from all over the world.

“International teams from Austria, from France, and the Germans are here,” Aleksandar, a spectator, said.

This year, the local New Mexico team is a favorite to win the challenge. But for people watching the take-off, they’re just excited to see the start of the great race.

“We’re just having a great time. This was something we wanted to do for many years. It’s just amazing. It’s magical.”

Last year, the event was canceled due to a scheduling conflict with another major gas balloon race. In 2017, the Swiss team won the race, ending up in Newfoundland, Canada.

You can track the balloons by clicking here.

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