Saturday, July 2, 2011

Road Rally promises 'Shell of a Good Time'

Fun-seekers wanted for a "shell of a good time."

The popular Fourth of July tradition is ready to hit the road for a 32nd rally on Sanibel. Start the engine and put your thinking skills into high gear for the Sanibel-Captiva Optimist Club’s Road Rally set to begin at noon Monday in the parking lot of Timbers Restaurant following the Independence Day parade.

For those who have never heard of such an event, the Road Rally is a scavenger hunt for answers done via automobile. But it is not a speed contest.

"No need to speed," stressed Richard McCurry, an Optimist Club member and part of the planning committee. "If you get a speeding ticket, you are disqualified."

It is based on time, correct mileage and correct answers to the clues you’re given. And the clues can stump the cleverest person. Three years ago, the test was designed using rhymes – a method that apparently left many scratching their heads. But not to worry, rhyming is out and this year will be just plain brainteasers.

About 35 to 40 vehicles will vie for prizes and the chance to hold the No. 1 spot in the Road Rally. Points are awarded for elapsed time and correct answers to a series of questions about clues along the rally route. Prizes will be given for best decorated vehicle and top rally finisher.

The $35 entry fee per car also includes a T-shirt designed by Katie McCurry. Road Rally organizers provide contestants with detailed directions and fun questions you find the answers to along the way. This year, the rally will begin and end at Timbers, 703 Tarpon Bay Rd. You may pre-register by picking up a form at Bailey’s General Store, the Sanibel CafĂ©, in the local newspaper or register just after the parade at the Timbers starting line.

A post-Rally party will be held at Sanibel Grill, where prizes will be awarded and a 50/50 drawing. You don’t have to be a contestant in the rally to join the after-party.

"This has been an island tradition that brings the locals and visitors together," said Stan Howard, president of the Optimist Club.

Since the Sanibel-Captiva Optimist Club took over the beloved event in 1998, it has helped raise money for the club’s annual four-year scholarships and other charities like Community Housing & Resources, a non-profit organization that administers the Below Market Rate Housing program in the City of Sanibel.
"The motto is ‘Friend of Youth,’" said Randy Carson, club member and part of the rally planning committee, along with president-elect Dani Howard.

In addition to the Road Rally, the San-Cap Optimist Club hosts Wave of Hope each November, which is a 5K walk along the beach to help raise funds for the Children’s Cancer Center and F.I.S.H. of Sanibel; the Wine Festival each February typically called Sanibel Uncorked; the Junior Anglers program, held every Monday for eight weeks in the summer; and the Taste of Sanibel, when restaurant gift certificates are raffled. SHANNEN HAYES

The Optimist Club is a 501c3 corporation with all of its funds going directly to helping the kids.

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