There are a lot of things that happen in our little valley, and this past weekend was no different as thousands of people descended on Old Town Temecula and a variety of other locations hoping to catch a glimpse of their favorite reality stars during the annual Reality Rally. The rain didn’t do much to dampen the spirits of the reality stars, their teams or the fans throughout the weekend. Overall, it was a great weekend of fundraising for Michelle’s Place Breast Cancer Resource Center.
For the first time ever, Valley News had a team participate in the fun-filled “Amazing Race” style game through Old Town. Team members. Interns Jacob Preal and Crystal Olmedo, along with Sports Writer Dean Fioresi competed in a variety of challenges alongside our reality star, Bergen Olson from season 26 of the “Amazing Race.” Valley Newsies, under the direction of Preal who served as team captain, came in second place overall and brought home the coveted Corporate Cup which will have a home on a shelf in my office for the next year until we compete again. Man, were we excited when they crossed that finish line!
Even better than our team’s strong finish was the feeling of accomplishment that we all had, knowing that the efforts of our team did something worthwhile in raising money for such a valuable resource in our community. Olson took to social media after the race, tagging us in a Facebook post.
“These past three days have been truly amazing! Reality Rally was an unbelievable experience! Being able to pay it forward and raise money for the inspiring Michelle’s Place Breast Cancer Resource Center is an honor,” Olson wrote as he reflected on the weekend. “We are so blessed with a lot of great things in this world, so don’t take it for granted! Share your successes, learn from your failures, and live life to the fullest!”
Interestingly enough, our players found that same sense of gratification doing something to make a difference in the lives of others.
Fioresi said that competing in the Reality Rally was “one of the coolest experiences” he’s had in a while.
“Not only was I able to spend my time supporting a great cause with Michelle’s Place, but I had a blast,” he said. “The competition was insanely fun and all of the competitors were in great spirits and urging each other on as we all competed in the fun and challenging events. Winning definitely helped the feeling of elation at the end, but regardless of the championship, it was an excellent way to spend my Saturday. It was truly incredible to see so many people from all over the world, and the entire city of Temecula come together to help support those who have been affected by breast cancer. I hope the event continues on for many years so that everyone can share the amazing experience my team and I had. Here’s to many more Valley Newsies victories, and more importantly here’s to beating breast cancer!”
Olmedo said she was a little nervous at the start of the race, but her stellar performance showed true grit as she battled on throughout the race.
“I have to admit I was nervous when I thought about how the race was going to be timed and that we’d be competing against so many other teams,” she said adding that her teammates were very supportive. “We recognized our strengths and weaknesses and shared the weight of the challenges. I hurt my knee about 500 feet from the finish line and our reality star Bergen Olson carried me almost to the end. I felt bad of course and hobbled the last few hundred feet, but the gesture was very kind. Teamwork is so key in every aspect of life. We came in about a minute after the first place team, but second place out of 76 teams is wonderful to me.”
Preal said he didn’t see himself as an “overly competitive individual,” but he sure came through not only as the team captain, but also as a cheerleader for the Valley Newies and our community as a whole.
“When it comes time to represent my team, my home, I make sure that I am in it to win it. The day before Reality Rally and even up until before the actual race itself, I kept assuring my team that we are going to win. There was no question,” he said.
Preal said the challenges were varied but he liked how certain challenges forced teams to divide and conquer, divvying up activities based on their personal talents and abilities. More important than that though, were the lessons he learned from the experience.
“Reality Rally has a unique way of teaching participants that every second matters. Teams have to be cohesive and understanding of one another in order to be successful,” Preal said. “For us, we were extremely adaptable and never hesitated to use a skip card if we knew something would be too much for us or too time consuming. I can appreciate the value that Reality Rally has as a force that drives us closer together. Temecula is my home and as a senior in high school, my time here is fleeting. I cannot think of a more perfect way to end off my childhood years in this community as I look onto my next adventure.”
For those of you who still want to be a part of Reality Rally 2016, it’s not too late to help donations are accepted through the end of the month, just visit www.realityrally.com and click on the donate tab. We all thank you for your support.