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Time is running out to sign up for Sanibel-Captiva Road Rally

June 27, 2018
By TIFFANY REPECKI ( , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

Spots are filling up for those interested in the 39th Annual Sanibel-Captiva 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 in a car," Randy Carson, one of the rally masters, said.

Article Photos

Randy Carson, left, and Richard McCurry, rally masters for the 39th Annual Sanibel-Captiva Road Rally set for July 4.

He and Richard McCurry, another rally master, explained that the answer sheets are scored on the correct number of answers. The teams are also scored on the time it takes and their mileage.

"It's timed," Carson said. "You can't be over or under."

They explained that the club conducts trial runs to determine how long the rally should take a team, which is how they set the time range. The milage, which must be exact, is also pulled from that.

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McCurry noted that if a team receives a police ticket during the event, it is disqualified.

"We don't want anybody to break the law," he said.

The team with the best score will earn first place and receive a three-day, two-night stay at the West Wind Inn on Sanibel. The second place team will win a pair of tickets on the Key West Express.

Fact Box

If you go


39th Annual Sanibel-Captiva Road Rally


Sanibel-Captiva Optimist Club


July 4 starting at noon


Timbers Restaurant, 703 Tarpon Bay Road, Sanibel


Entry fee is $40 per vehicle

Third place will score a $100 gift certificate to Floral Artistry Of Sanibel.

Participants are also encouraged to decorate their vehicles.

Carson and McCurry explained that the theme is the same as the parade, "Wild About America."

"So we're kind of working with that," Carson said.

An award will given to the best decorated vehicle.

The entry fee is $40 per team and $45 day of, if there are any openings still available.

McCurry noted that the spots have sold out the last three years.

"It's recommended you have three to four people (in a vehicle)," Carson hinted.

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

There are typically over 100 questions that participants have to find answers for.

Carson cited an example as what is on a mailbox at a particular address.

The rally normally takes between two and three hours.

"Back in the day, it used to be like four or five hours," he said.

Carson estimated that about half of the spots were filled as of last week.

He encouraged those interested to sign up quickly.

"It's one of the longest running events on the islands," Carson said.

He and McCurry explained that the chamber started the rally nearly 40 years ago. In 1998, when the Sanibel-Captiva Optimist Club had just been created, the chamber passed the tradition off to it.

"We were a new club on the island," Carson said.

The rally serves as a fundraiser to help the club support local youth.

"We do six college scholarships per year," he said. "The biggest part goes to that."

The club also helps to fund activities like archery, basketball and fishing at the Sanibel Recreational Center, plus pizza Fridays. Part of an international organization, its motto is "Friend of Youth."

"We're 100 percent youth oriented," Carson said.

The entry fee includes event T-shirts, which are also available for $15.

Following the rally, an afterglow party will be held at the Sanibel Grill, with hors d'oeuvres provided.

"It's a good afternoon to have a great time for a charity event," he said. "Come join the fun."

Registration forms are available at Bailey's General Store, Sanibel Captiva Community Bank and the Sanibel Caf, as well as in island newspapers. They can also be found at

For more information, contact Randy Carson at 239-699-8739, Richard McCurry at 239-292-4631 or Dani Howard at 239-472-0836.

The Timbers Restaurant is at 703 Tarpon Bay Road.



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