Reality Rally wins with Wilson Creek Winery and Vineyards Casino Night

Trish Hegarty of Survivor Cagayan, with Justine Howell and husband.
Trish Hegarty of Survivor Cagayan, with Justine Howell and husband. Ashley Ludwig photo

Reality Rally invited Temecula to Wilson Creek Winery and Vineyards for the third annual Casino Night in a kick off for its fundraising event. Over 150 locals mingled with the 98 reality stars in the open air courtyard for the celebrity red carpet, casino games, raffle baskets, hors d’oeuvres from area restaurants and caterers. Locals had the opportunity to mix and mingle with the reality stars all to raise funds for the Michelle’s Place Breast Cancer Resource Center of Temecula.

According to Reality Rally founder and reality star of CBS’ Survivor Gillian Larson, she had the idea to create Reality Rally to help Michelle’s Place, after learning of its founder and her misdiagnosis that led to stage four breast cancer.

“I had a vision of reality stars descending on Temecula to raise money for Michelle’s Place. The monkeys told me to do it,” Larson said with a smile. That jungle vision has touched the lives of many reality stars, who return year after year from across the globe for the much lauded event.

All event organizers and workers are volunteers, enabling 100-percent of the net-proceeds to be donated to Michelle’s Place, helping women with breast cancer get the advice, information, and assistance they need to battle the disease.

About 120 reality television stars gambled their fake casino money to raise money for Michelle’s Place Breast Cancer Resource Center in Temecula during Reality Rally Casino Night. Daniel Lane photo
About 120 reality television stars gambled their fake casino money to raise money for Michelle’s Place Breast Cancer Resource Center in Temecula during Reality Rally Casino Night. Daniel Lane photo

“It’s been a wonderful event. We raised money for Michelle’s Place Breast Cancer Resource Center,” Larson said. “People are having a great time and all I can see is more money for Michelle’s Place.”

The stars in attendance were from two countries, 34 states and 81 cities.

The open air event at Wilson Creek Winery and Vineyards courtyard allowed ticket holders to sample appetizers and from Bully Burgers, with their signature sliders. New Life Culinary Creations served bite sized portions of pork tenderloin, and Reality Rally contestant Xiomara Hall’s Caribbean jerk chicken, from her Tropical Barbecue catering company. Hall, in to serve for the whole weekend, also participated in Saturday morning’s Reality Rally race, and Saturday night’s Celebrity Chef Cook Off.

“All restaurants donate 100-percent of food for the event,” said Hall. “I’m happy to do it, for Reality Rally and Gillian.”

Guests and stars sampled the savory offerings and the cash wine and beer bar, and stayed for jazz entertainment. Feeling Lucky Entertainment Casino provided Las Vegas style casino tables of Blackjack, Poker, and Craps for fundraising gambling fun.

“They enjoy each other at the casino and then they cash in their casino money for a prize,” Larson said. “They cash in their casino money for tickets and they put the ticket in a bucket.”

Many prizes were raffled off to casino winners, from area wineries, as well as corporate sponsors, such as Rock Fitness, Sun-Pro Solar. Other items included set pieces from recent airings of Survivor. The grand prize was a South Africa safari tour that was valued at $6,000, according to Larson.

Area resident Cathy Bearse won the grand prize trip with a single ticket. “The announcer suggested I try and win. I never expected to win, and they called my ticket!” Cathy exclaimed, husband Steve of New Life Catering in tow.

“We’re going to South Africa,” Steve smiled. “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Other fundraising activities included a live auction for reality stars. Temecula blogger, Justine Howell, won her race partner, Survivor Cagayan’s Trish Hegarty.

“We know who we’re racing with!” Howell said. “Tomorrow is going to be amazing.”

As of press time, the grand total of money raised has yet to be determined, according to Larson.

“The most important thing is that we make an impact and we make a difference,” Larson said. According to Larson, it takes more than 200 volunteers to make Reality Rally a success each year.

“Due to several hundred people, it happens,” Larson said. “It is just the most amazing event…if it wasn’t for those people, it would still be an idea in my head. I can never thank you guys enough. Thank you, thank you.”

For more information about Reality Rally, visit www.RealityRally.com

Ashley Ludwig contributed to this article.

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