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). Sullivan, a renowned competitor in all of the major gas ballooning events, saw the need for America to be identified with the world's most prestigious ballooning sport.
A renowned Albuquerque balloonist, Mark Sullivan, saw his own brainchild take off in 1995 with the new America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Race. Modeled on the Gordon Bennett, it differs from the older event in allowing balloons from all countries, without limits on the number of entries from each. Members of the world’s best teams pitched in to make this American original a success.