|26th Sugar Valley Rally to follow the Oregon Trail|
|May 29, 2014 Jerry Purvis|
Photo by Ken Kurtz/Spectrum Photo
This weekend, 55 classic and antique cars will be rolling through the community along the Oregon Trail in celebration of the 26th annual Sugar Valley Rally.
Media coordinator Dan Dickinson said the rally, usually scheduled for the first weekend of June each year, was moved up a week to accommodate the Cattleman’s Ball in Banner County, which raises funds for cancer research. So this year the rally will run on May 30 – June 1.
This year’s theme is “On the Oregon Trail.
“We’re basically going to stay along as much of the North Platte River and past all the historic sites and monuments along Highway 26,” Dickinson said.
The rally covers about 400 miles each year and is a precision-driving contest where drivers and navigators try to match a perfect time on the predetermined course. It takes real skill and knowledge of the mechanics of timing to match the time as closely as possible.
The rally actually starts Thursday afternoon with a technical inspection to assure all entries are safe and roadworthy for the event.
Following tech inspection, drivers head to Reganis Auto in Scottsbluff to display their cars during a Chamber-sponsored Business After Hours, starting about 5 p.m. The public is invited to come by and check out all the classic vehicles and visit with the drivers.
School for drivers and navigators is scheduled for Friday morning. “That’s a mandatory meeting, as we go over all the safety procedures,” Dickinson said. “We also update them on road conditions. In case of a storm, we want to make sure we still have roads to run on.”
The rally “unofficially” starts at about 8 a.m. from the Runza restaurant in downtown Scottsbluff on Saturday morning, as the rally committee wanted to showcase the improvements the downtown area has gone through over the last couple of years. Cars then proceed to the official start point listed in their instructions.
Dickinson said many entrants come back each year and bring their families and several cars as well. They come from Kansas, South Sioux City, North Dakota, California, Oregon and many other places. “Over the rally’s 26 year history, we’ve had entrants from more then 43 states and average about 65 cars a year,” he said.
On Sunday morning, a shorter route heading east starts from the Knights of Columbus Hall on 1st Avenue in downtown Scottsbluff. The rally ends in Gering on 7th Street at Cozad’s Antique Ford Garage as cars start coming in around noon.
The Gering Merchants are also sponsoring the Finish Line lunch that afternoon at about 2 p.m. for drivers and spectators. After lunch, prize money is awarded as winners are announced.
26th annual Sugar Valley Rally schedule:
Friday: LaGrange, Wyo., public viewing, 2:40 p.m.
Reganis Motors and Business After Hours, 4:30 p.m.
Saturday: Ceremonial Start at Scottsbluff Runza/Broadway 8 a.m.
Lingle, Wyo. 9:50 a.m.
Guernsey, Wyo. 11:20 a.m.
Mitchell 3:10 p.m.
Finish at Scottsbluff Star-Herald/Broadway 3:30 p.m.
Start at Knights of Columbus, Scottsbluff 8 a.m.
Chimney Rock Visitor Center, Bayard 9:45 a.m.
Finish line and lunch, Cozad’s Antique Ford Garage, 7th Street, Gering 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with Awards presentation 1 p.m.
Lunch provided by Gering Merchants