What do a secret envelope, a checkered flag and matching wits with a fifth-grader have in common? The Third Annual United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County Rally 4 Kids.
More than 150 enthusiastic men and women participated in a weekend car rally that took 75 drivers and their navigators from QAD’s Summerland campus to the Santa Ynez Valley and back. This year’s Rally was the most successful yet, selling out with a wait list and far exceeding last year’s numbers with nearly $350,000 net raised in support of the United Boys & Girls Clubs and its programs.
The Rally 4 Kids was co-chaired for the third year in a row by event co-founders Diana Starr Langley & Monte Wilson and was supported by a fantastic event steering committee including all-stars Karla Blackwell, Scott Campbell, Jeff Clark, Louise Cruz, Caroline Harrah, Gretchen Lieff, Grace Neumann, Carla Tomson, Maria Wilson, Leanne Wood and Christina Zolotova. Major event sponsors included the duPont Registry, Sheila Herman, Michael Hammer and the Armand Hammer Foundation, Deckers Brands, SeaDream Yacht Club, Sunstone Vineyards and Winery, Exclusive Resorts, Ferrari Los Angeles, Montecito Bank & Trust, Pat & Ursula Nesbitt, Eric & Nina Phillips and Lieff Wines.
The two-day car lover’s extravaganza kicked off on Friday evening with a sunset cocktail party for drivers and their navigators at an exclusive Montecito estate. The rally began Saturday morning as drivers began their 100-mile adventure, which included a scavenger hunt, a contest of local trivia and a road rally.
Once back in Summerland, weary teams converged at Bella Vista Ranch & Polo Club for a celebration dinner, entertainment by The Tearaways, a live auction masterfully emceed by Andrew Firestone, dancing and the chance to show off their cars, admire others, and share stories from the day’s adventures.
In all, about 350 guests enjoyed the finale event. The 2015 winner, Chris Ebertz, was slated to present the award to this year’s winner. But after it was announced that Ebertz and navigator Lark Cobb had won this year’s contest, the duo took the stage and joked about getting to keep the trophy for another year.
Second-place winners were Karen Kahn and Roy Hildestad, who drove a 2013 Porsche 911. Third place went to Peter Sperling and Sean McCue in a 2014 Lamborghini Murciélago 640 LP Roaster.
The rally was not about speed, but rather required teams to locate places, answer trivia questions and demonstrate physical skill. After leaving QAD, participants drove to the Santa Barbara Bowl, where they got to experience the stage in a way that only performers and their roadies usually do.
Once on stage, a member of the team was required to hula hoop for 20 seconds to earn the clue about the next secret location. That happened to be Roblar Winery in Santa Ynez. From there the adventure continued driving along winding country roads to The Solvang Motorcycle Museum and then to The Farmstead where more challenges and trivia awaited.
From the Valley, teams traveled back to Santa Barbara, where they stopped at the Goleta Boys & Girls Club and matched wits and knowledge with some of the club’s kids, engaging in a version of Are You Smarter Than a 5th-Grader? Although all teams were able to earn their next clue, we hear the kids “schooled” most of the participants, giving them a real run for their money.
The evening was buzzing with energy from start to finish and all 350 guests were kept warm long after the sun went down thanks to Tina Datta of Sun Electric who provided gorgeous pashminas for all who attended. Next year’s rally is once again bound to sell out, so if you want to participate, mark your calendar and buy your ticket early.