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Holiday ‘scavenger hunt’ taking registrations

By Staff | Jun 25, 2019

PHOTO PROVIDED

Spots are filling up quickly for those interested in the 40th Annual Road Rally.

Hosted by the Sanibel-Captiva Optimist Club, the competition will kick off on July 4 at noon, following the Annual Independence Day Parade. Open to only 50 vehicles, participants are given dozens of questions then set off across the islands to find as many correct answers as possible.

“It’s basically a scavenger hunt that’s done from the inside of your car,” club President Stan Howard said. “It’s the oldest Fourth of July tradition on the islands – and it’s a lot of family fun.”

The entry fee is $40 per team in advance or $45 day of, if there are openings still left. It covers the vehicle, driver, navigator, unlimited crew and one official T-shirt; additional shirts are $15 each.

“There’s room available, but don’t hesitate to register,” he said on June 21.

PHOTO PROVIDED Driving Miss Crazy took first place in last year's Annual Road Rally. From left, Dani Howard, Randy Carson, Roy Gibson, Suzy Callanan, Ed Burton, Stan Howard and Allen Dunham; not pictured are Wendy Harriman and Manaz Bassira.

The event has been known to sell out.

Each team will be given a start time and must be at the starting line – located in the parking lot of Timbers Restaurant & Fish Market – approximately 20 minutes before noon. When the rally kicks off, the first vehicle will go. The rest of the teams follow in two-minute increments based on start time.

“It’s a scavenger hunt on wheels,” Howard said. “You do not get out of your car.”

He explained that the course is about 25 to 30 miles long, and the teams are given about 100 to 140 questions that they have to try to find the answers to. Directions are paired with the questions.

“This is very visitor-friendly,” Howard said of the competition.

For example, a past question asked about where Captain Nemo might park his submarine when traveling on Sanibel-Captiva Road – the LCEC “sub”station, which is located on the road.

“This year we are focusing a little bit on 40 because it’s our 40th anniversary,” he said.

At the finish, teams will be ranked on the points they receive for the most correct answers based on sights seen along the designated route, for a finishing time closest to the committee’s calculated times and for the distance driven closest to pre-determined route distance, plus points on bonus questions.

The first, second and third place teams with the highest points will win prizes.

“We have anything from two for a roundtrip on the Key West Express, to restaurant and theater packages,” Howard said, adding that the last place team gets a free entry in next year’s event.

In addition, one of the teams will be named the Best Decorated Vehicle.

“We encourage participants to decorate their vehicles,” he said, adding that the winning team will receive a prize and bragging rights. “It adds fun and flavor to the event.”

The club will also hold a 50/50 raffle.

“Afterward, there’s an ‘afterglow’ party at the Sanibel Grill, where hors will be served,” Howard said.

Proceeds raised from the event will help to fund six college scholarships that the club awards. In addition, the club supports activities for island youths at the Sanibel Recreational Center and more.

The entry form is available at www.sancapoptimist.org, as well as from Timbers, the Sanibel Grill, Bailey’s General Store and the Sanibel Caf. The form can also be found in island newspapers.

Residents and visitors are invited to reserve a spot and take part.

“It’s a hectic of a lot of fun,” he said.

For more information about the event or on registering, or to become an event sponsor, contact Randy Carson at 239-699-8739, Richard McCurry at 239-292-4631 or Dani Howard at 239-472-0836.

Timbers Restaurant & Fish Market is at 703 Tarpon Bay Road, Sanibel.