Reality Rally raced into town last weekend bringing with it a plethora of stars from some of TV’s most popular reality shows including “Survivor,” “Naked and Afraid,” and “The Amazing Race.” Fans flocked to a variety of events to meet with their favorite players.
Reality Rally kicked off with its first ever Lip Sync Showdown at Pala Mesa Resort April 7. The event was so successful that organizers are considering making it the regular kickoff event for the annual fundraiser benefiting Michelle’s Place Breast Cancer Resource Center.
Fifteen groups participated in the showdown featuring both reality stars and players from throughout the Temecula Valley going head-to-head in the audience judged event. Master of Ceremonies was Rat Sult, event coordinator and sports marketing and management promoter.
The high energy performances led to some close voting, but ultimately the audience chose Matt Gallagher over Ashley Sherman for second place. Dennis Luciani’s “Conga” won the Golden Mic Trophy for best performance.
“The talent was so good and the response so great that we may do this every year as a kick-off for the Reality Rally,” said Chairman Jonnie Fox. Fox is founder and director of Jonnie Fox Entertainment, and vocal entertainment group Jonnie Fox and the Satinettes. Reality Rally is an annual fundraiser benefiting Michelle’s Place, a local cancer resource center for women.
On Friday, celebrities, team members and fans all came together for the Reality Rally Celebrity Red Carpet and Casino Fundraiser held at Wilson Creek Winery. The evening began with the Red Carpet Parade of Stars as eager fans waited to mix and mingle with their favorite TV reality personalities.
Following the parade of stars, guests enjoyed a small plate buffet with signature dishes from 12 local restaurants and a cash bar featuring Wilson Creek’s famous wines. Prizes, including a 50/50 drawing and two luxury trips were given away to two lucky attendees. The night ended with guests crowding around the black jack tables as they played alongside the stars to raise funds for Michelle’s Place.
Saturday saw thousands flock to Old Town Temecula for the highlight of the weekend, the Reality Rally “Amazing Race” style race through Old Town where 76 teams competed for the top prize in their respective divisions and the title of Reality Rally Champion.
Teams raced through the streets of Old Town completing challenges set up by local businesses including acting out a scene from a play at the Old Town Temecula Community Theater, deciphering a code at the newly reopened Hotel Temecula and even shooting a revolver to hit a target.
“The challenges ranged from easy breathers that we could quickly do to catch our breath – we practically sprinted to every station – to tricky puzzles that required the wits of a full team of four,” said Valley News Intern Jacob Preal. “What struck me as something exceptionally clever was the way that certain challenges forced teams to divide and conquer, divvying up activities based on their personal talents and abilities. Having practiced shooting rifles out in the desert since I was young, I immediately volunteered to fire the revolver for my team, hitting the bottle square in the center in rapid succession.”
Unofficial results for the race have Tata Sisterhood, which raised over $8,000, coming in first place overall and taking home the award for Fun Friends winner. They were followed by Valley News’ team, the Valley Newsies coming in second and winning the Corporate Cup. Third place overall went to Dang It Nyugen Ha. Charity Chalice Challenge went to the team Worth Playing For. Battle of the Badges’ top team was Team Smorgasbord and the city of Lake Elsinore came in first in the Valley Intercity Challenge, retaining their title for an impressive fifth time in a row.
Menifee City Councilman Matt Liesemeyer said he thoroughly enjoyed the race even though his team finished behind both Lake Elsinore and Temecula.
“I had a great time. I didn’t really know what to expect, but after it was all said and done, it was a great day, and all for a really great cause,” he said. “It was so awesome to see so many people come out to show their support for Michelle’s place. Knowing what I do now about how the event works, I’ll be better prepared for next year, and Elsinore had better watch out.”
The weekend ended with the Celebrity Chef’s Showcase held at Oak Mountain Winery instead of on the steps of City Hall as in years’ past due to the rain. Celebrity chefs from shows such as “Hell’s Kitchen,” “Chopped,” “Cutthroat Kitchen,” “Master Chef,” and Master Chef Junior” came together and competed in Reality Rally fashion to be named Top Chef.
While the weather presented some other challenges, causing the cancellation of the Reality Rally Festival typically held in the downtown area, Organizer and “Survivor Gabon” Alum Gillian Larson said she was still happy with the event and how everyone had come together to raise funds for Michelle’s Place.
“I think it went great,” she said. “It was just an awesome event. Michelle’s Place and the family are so visible and present and are a big part of the event. I am in awe every year at how it comes out. It’s just awesome.”
Larson said she is grateful to all of the volunteers whose hard work brings Reality Rally to fruition making it an enjoyable event for everyone who attends each year.
“I will never be able to thank everybody enough for what they do to make this event what it is,” she said. “Everybody, I mean the imagery team, the live stream team, the production team, the sponsors the volunteers the reality stars, everybody. The people are just amazing and they work so hard. It’s amazing to me that people do this year after year out of the goodness of their heart to make this even what it is. They work hard at this event so I like to take my hat off to them and thank them.”