ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - America’s finest gas balloonists are descending onAlbuquerque early this October to compete in one of theworld’s premiere distance ballooning events – TheAmerica’s Challenge.
The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta America’sChallenge race for gas balloons launches, weather permitting, at6:00 p.m.Saturday, October 3, 2009 from Balloon FiestaPark. Ten teams representing the United States andCanada are competing in this year’s race.
The object of the America’s Challenge is to fly thegreatest distance from Albuquerque while competing within the eventrules. The team that travels the greatest distancewins. The balloonists often stay aloft more than two days andmust use the winds aloft and weather systems to their bestadvantage. The competition is difficult and sometimesdangerous. But despite this, flights of more than 1,000 milesare not unusual, and the winners sometimes travel as far as Canadaand the East Coast.
Several top competitors are returning to AlbuquerqueInternational Balloon Fiesta to compete in this year’sAmerica’s Challenge:
- No Gravity: Richard Abruzzo & Gary Johnson, U.S
- Calvin: Philip Bryan & Elbert Mann, U.S
- Bucky's Dream: Andy Cayto & Kevin Knapp, U.S
- Fat Bastard: Brian Critell & William McNutt, U.S
- Yellow Beast: Danielle Francoeur & Linda Ellis, U.S/Canada
- Foxtrot Charlie: Barbara Fricke & Peter Cuneo, U.S
- FLYNH3: John Kugler & Ralph Sheese, U.S
- Casy Lynn: Bert Padelt & Louis Vitanza, U.S
- Spirit of Springfield: J. Michael Wallace & Kevin Brielmann, U.S
- Delta Goodie: Cheryl White & Mark Sullivan, U.S
The America’s Challenge is the U.S. qualifier for theCoupe Gordon Bennett. The top three American pilots will earnthe right to represent the United States in the next Gordon Bennettwhich will be held in September 2010 at Leeds Castle, GreatBritain.
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