Gas Balloon Race Canceled

New Mexico – Officials in charge of an annual cross-country gas balloon race have decided to cancel this year's event after strong winds delayed the start of the race Saturday night.

Officials made the decision to call off America's Challenge after a briefing at noon on Sunday.

The event, which coincides with the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, will not be rescheduled. This is the first time in the race's 14-year history that it has been canceled.

Balloon fiesta spokeswoman Kathie Leyendecker says an active weather pattern is making conditions unpredictable across the country for the next several days, and the forecast for an evening launch in Albuquerque on Tuesday or Wednesday also is questionable.

She says the balloon fiesta plans to continue with the race next year.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.