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Rally rolls this weekend
May 31, 2012 Jerry Purvis   

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Photo by Jerry Purvis/Gering Citizen Ken Manka will be driving his 1931 Ford Model A Coupe in this year’s Sugar Valley Rally, scheduled for June 1 – 3. Joining Ken as navigator will be his son, Kenny. Last year, they took first place in the Limited division. Rebuilt from parts, the car has been in 14 rallies.

This weekend, 56 classic cars from around the country take to the roads of the Panhandle as the 24th annual Sugar Valley Rally gets underway.

“In the competition class, 1959 is the newest model we have entered,” said rally media coordinator Darrell Bentley. “Our oldest entry is a 1917 Hudson.”

The rally starts with a check-in and technical safety inspection for all cars at Western Nebraska Community College on Thursday evening, May 31.

Rally school is scheduled for Friday morning, followed by an afternoon practice rally that takes drivers and navigators to Bridgeport and back.

The cars should start arriving at Reganis Auto Center in Scottsbluff around 3:30 p.m. and will be on display for the public. The Scottsbluff-Gering United Chamber of Commerce is also hosting a Business After Hours that evening at Reganis for the public.

The main rally takes place on June 1 and 2. The Saturday rally starts and concludes at Main Street Market in Scottsbluff. “Drivers will head east through Hemingford, Alliance and Bridgeport, Bentley said. “The public is invited to all our pit stops. We’ll be stopping for lunch in the Alliance city park. The local car club is also having a show that day, so they’ll be lots of cars on display for the public to see.”

The Saturday evening banquet for drivers and navigators is scheduled at the Gering Civic Center. Bentley said he always receives numerous positive comments about how well the event is handled by civic center staff.

The Sunday leg of the rally starts at the Knights of Columbus Hall on 1st Ave. in Scottsbluff. Breakfast begins serving at 6 a.m. and the first cars will roll out around 8 a.m. The route will take drivers west to Lyman and into Wyoming before returning to Cozad’s Ford Garage on 7th St. in Gering. The first cars should be coming in starting at about 11:30 a.m.

The Gering Merchants will provide lunch for the drivers and tickets are also available for the public. Awards will be announced after lunch.

Bentley said many entrants will bring multiple cars to the rally and bring family members to drive and navigate. “A rally like this allows people to get their older vehicles out of the garage and show them off a bit for the public. And most of the entrants tell us how impressed they are with the hospitality they received while they’re here. It really allows us to showcase the community.”

Bentley added the most important part of the rally is the sponsors who make it possible for the event to go on for 24 years now.
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