What if I told you that you could take your Mustang across some of the coolest roads the south has to offer over a four-day span that included stops on a couple of the coolest racetracks in the south, all while doing it with 75 or so of your new closest friends?
Packing your bags yet? Because it gets better! Throw in tons of organization, checkpoints, dinners, and most of all, you are going to raise a truckload of money for charity along the way! Ready? Lets go!
That is exactly what the participants of Rally Appalachia 2, and event ran by Rally North America got to do this past week. While we were not able to tag along for the entire event, we were lucky enough to head out to Waynesville, North Carolina, and catch the starting-line activities for day two!
Rally Appalachia 2 is a four-day event that takes participants to various check points across the south. This year’s event started out in Christiansburg, Virginia, and ended in Rome, Georgia, with all kinds of checkpoints in between. Each morning starts out with a starting line party of sorts. On this particular day, the event headed out from main street in Waynesville, North Carolina.
The city rolled out the red carpet for the event with roads blocked off and a nice speech from the mayor to get the event under way! The ending checkpoint would take the participants to Rome, Georgia, but not without a ton of adventure in between. The legendary Tail of the Dragon and Cherohala Skyway were both on the driving menu, as well as a trip through the Cherokee Indian Reservation, where participants would be able to hunt for scavenger points by taking photos of Elk, Bear, and other surroundings. There are high-speed hijinks as well. On day one, the group had visited Virginia International Raceway and on day four they would take to the high banks of Talladega Super Speedway.
Team Stangy in this 2006 Ford Mustang GT had one of our favorite schemes of the week. The car featured a nice mural on the hood as well as dog tags of fallen soldiers along the front fender. Above the dog tags it read “The Most Precious Metals On Earth Are The Dog Tags Of Our Warriors Who Made The Ultimate Sacrifice To Protect Our Country’s Freedoms.” It was hard for us to look at this car without getting goosebumps on our arms and a lump in our throat!
Even though this is a high-horsepower driving event, the promoters are quick to make it clear that this is not a race. Any tickets from a law-enforcement officer or video evidence of a team speeding or driving in a reckless manner will quickly get participants disqualified. This rally is all about enjoying the cars, the roads, and the good company in a safe manner.
The main reason for these events is to raise money for a couple of great charities. This particular rally raises money for Hope For The Warriors, an organization that offers a number of programs for the families of wounded and fallen solider. Raise money was exactly what Rally Appalachia 2 did! According to Scott Spielmen, one of the Rally North America directors, in an article in the Rome News-Tribune, the organization has raised $148,091 this year for Hope For The Warriors. Since 2010, the organization has raised over $650,000 dollars for various charities.
While the event is open to most any car or truck, there were tons of Ford Mustangs participating in the rally. Of about 75 teams, 20 teams brought Ford Mustangs to the party as well as a pair of Fiesta STs, a Focus ST, and a Taurus SHO. Making roughly one third of the field was Ford-powered, which is not too shabby. While all participants had to run all the Rally North America decals along with all the sponsor decals, some participants went the extra mile with special paint schemes and wraps honoring our men and women in the military!
Each day the cars are lined up by the way they finished the day before, except on day one, on which the cars are lined up by the amount of money they pre-raised for the charity. On Day two, it was Rally North America veteran Bill Tumas from CJ Pony Parts went off in second on Day Two across from a Dodge Challenger in the pole position.
Several special awards are given each day including, Best Costume, Spirit Of The Rally, Best Dressed Car, and Media Magnet. It adds a bit of fun and extra competitiveness to the event! We are not sure which one of these teams won out, but they both certainly had some interesting costumes on!
Both serious contenders for Best Costume, the guy in the purple was certainly a team player!
If you are interested in participating in a future Rally North America event, check them out online here! Even if you cannot participate, come out and support them if they are coming through a town near you.
Courtney Barber of Team Mustang Girls is no stranger to driving across the country. After piloting her 1965 Mustang to Alaska last year, as well as doing the long haul on the Power Tour this year, she has seen the country from behind the wheel of her Pony. Her 1965 was one of the oldest cars in the field and certainly one of the coolest!