Why Bullrun? What is it? As the driver of Team Mustang Girls I’ve been asked that question so many times, mostly from my mother! It’s a question that should be easy to answer right? If you’ve been apart of the awesomeness you understand the difficultly. Words just don’t do it justice.
At our first launch in New York, we had no idea what we were getting into, some kind of road trip/scavenger hunt /party/don’t break down and get lost in the desert, car rally. There were amazing cars, people in costumes, cameras everywhere, Kim Kardashian waving the start flag and there we were, 2 girls from South Carolina in a 1965 Mustang. Still trying to figure out what we had gotten ourselves into, we started talking to rally veterans. I will never forget the words Matt Farah used to describe it, “It’s the greatest week of your life and you’ll spend the next 51 weeks thinking about it until you get to do it again.”
Everyone does Bullrun for their own reasons. Some like the competition and parties, others want to escape from their ordinary routine and then there are people like us who had no idea what we were getting into.
Bullrun pushes your limits. You will be excited, happy, tired, stressed to the max, lost, and hot. The minute you get home from the epic journey all you will remember is the greatness, the adventure of the unknown, and the obstacles you overcame.
One of my best Bullrun memories has to be from 2011 going from Vegas to Miami. My best friend Lori was navigating and it was during a heat wave, in July. With no AC and we were roasting along with our engine thanks to a leaking old radiator. On the way to Vegas the engine temperature reached 250°, I called my buddy Dave and he said if it hasn’t blown up yet you might as well keep going. The next morning we made it to the launch and onto Scottsdale, Arizona that night. Rumors were buzzing about the next day being the long leg. We had no idea what that meant so we kinda just ignored it because the hotel had a pool on the roof.
The rumors were right, it was the long leg. We still didn’t quite get it… until it started getting dark. Then the text messages from others started coming in. “Where are you? ETA? Watch out for animals!” I might mention that this was before I swapped engines and our happy speed was around 55 mph. After stopping at the random Prada store in the middle of nowhere, Texas our final checkpoint for the day was in Lajitas, New Mexico. Somehow we lost the GPS signal and thought we were 50 miles away, when the signal was recovered we learned 150 miles to go. The producer messaged us to go a certain way because it was pitch black and getting late but the phone signal kept going out and the GPS wanted us to go another route. The GPS route was shorter but it was a twisted road up the side of a cliff. We should have taken the Producer’s hint.
Starting the climb having no idea that those next 50 miles would rank in the most memorable and challenging moments of my life. At one point 2 giant mule deer popped out of nowhere and just stood in front of the car. I had to get out of the car and yell, scream, and cry. But then it was time to go again because we were in the middle of a pitch black desert.
Later on our way up the mountain we hit such a steep incline that the car almost didn’t make it. I could feel the car slipping out of gear and all I could think was how am I going to back down this curve without any reverse lights. We were doing good until the last five miles. There’s no clock or odometer on the car because normally I like to cruise and we get there when we get there, but I must have asked Lori how much further 100 times. The answer never seemed to change! At this point, past 3 am we were both exhausted. But we had to keep going, it was a single lane road on a mountain cliff so stopping was not an option. That’s when I had to start whistling and I told Lori if it stopped to hit me. After what seemed to be an eternity we made it to the top of the mountain. And in true Bullrun fashion were greeted in the lobby by streaking Dudesons!
Photo by Mo Satarzadeh
At this point your probably asking yourself why in the world does she want to do this again? Yes it was hard, yes we both thought we were going to die several times that night, poor Lori was on the side looking over the cliff. But we made it. Those words mean so much more to me now. We made it. Life isn’t always rainbows and unicorns. Stuff happens. And it’s what you do with that stuff that will stick in you memory forever. Now anytime I’m having a hard time with something I say to myself, “suck it up, you made it to Lajitas”.
So to sum up my rambling answer to Why Bullrun? I guess that is a question each rally participant will have to answer for themselves. My personal reason is for the adventure and challenge- not knowing where you will be the next night, seeing new cities, meeting new people, taking a swamp tour that wasn’t a check point, racing go karts, overheating, climbing mountains, and sharing the passion for the drive. Can we make it across the country again in a 50 year old car? I can’t answer that but I’m always willing to try! And that, to me, is Bullrun!