by David McAlpine
Last weekend, more than 100 reality stars from more than 30 different shows came together in Temecula, the heart of Southern California’s wine country, for a good cause and some friendly competition.
The first annual Reality Rally, organized by Survivor: Gabon’s Gillian Larson, brought reality stars from all over the country to raise money and awareness for Michelle’s Place, a resource center aimed at raising awareness for and helping patients who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.
But with the serious came the fun, too. Among the events that highlighted Temecula and the surrounding area, the main event was the actual rally, a 4-hour race around Temecula’s landmarks where reality stars and donors competed to be crowned the race champions.
Fans who raised enough money were able to “buy” their own reality star, while others who came for the event got to team up and compete with the best of the best.
One of the “road tattoos” marking the start line for the first annual Reality Rally.
The morning started off with an autograph and photo session with all the stars, but it soon turned to business as the teams lined up to begin the Rally. Amazing Race 14’s Jodi Wincheski was spotted asking nearby spectators if anyone knew their way around Temecula, while Survivor: Amazon’s Christy Smith and Luke Adams from The Amazing Race 14 and The Amazing Race 18: Unfinished Business were seen strategizing on the sidelines. Everyone was itching to go when the gun sounded, and hundreds flooded the streets of Old Town Temecula.
The first task was a scavenger hunt in Old Town Temecula, the downtown area of the city that looks straight out of the 1850s. Jerri Manthey from Survivor: Australian Outback, Survivor: All-Stars and Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains was spotted with her team, looking for clues that would lead them out of the downtown area. Some teams found them fast, and sprinted for the trolleys waiting behind a local bar, while others were lagging behind.
Survivor’s Jerri Manthey and her team look for clues in Old Town Temecula.
The Apprentice’s Tyana Alvarado (left), Survivor: Samoa’s Ashley Trainer (center) and The Mole’s Bobby O’Donnell (right) get on one of the Reality Rally trams to their next destination.
The different vehicles took the teams to different points on the rally, where they would have to complete different obstacles in order to move on. I followed the teams to Mt. Palomar Winery, where they had a choice of three tasks (each with their own pros and cons, if I can sound like Phil Keoghan for a second).
Option one: search the immediate area for small, pink gnomes (Survivor: Pearl Islands’ Ryan Opray‘s team picked that one). Option two: use two planks and a rope to navigate a “bricks on lava” course without touching the ground. Some of the all-reality star teams were big fans of this choice (see below). Option three: play a hand of poker and win, then toss bean bags through open holes in a wooden board that represents that hand, which Big Brother 12’s Ragan Fox and company opted for.
Ragan Fox and his team participate in the poker option at the Mt. Palomar Winery checkpoint.
The Amazing Race 16’s Allison Smith completes the second half of the poker challenge checkpoint.
At each of the checkpoints, the competition only intensified as everyone showed they not only came out to support a good cause, but they came out to win. In the end, of course, there could only be one winner (with a couple runners up to round out the field). In order, the winners were:
1st Place: Team Nguyen-It-Ha (with Pirate Master’s Kendra Guffey)
2nd Place: Team Nat (with The Amazing Race 17’s Nat Strand)
3rd Place: Team California Canines (with The Amazing Race 17’s Brook Roberts)
But what fun is a race without an after party? After the rally was over, stars and fans alike got ready for a party to celebrate the money raised and the good deeds done over the weekend. From Survivor to Big Brother to The Amazing Race, I Love Money to The Mole, reality stars from across the country came together in one last effort to support Gillian’s cause and celebrate the end of a fun weekend.
Inside the Reality Rally Pit Party, the official after party for the event, held at the nearby Temeku Hills Country Club
If you want to be a part of next year’s Reality Rally, visit their website.
(Photos by David McAlpine)
Follow David on Twitter: @DavidMcAlpine