Whenever anybody mentions the term "road rally," most people immediately conjure up images of fast cars, crazy adventures and Burt Reynolds. Like the infamous Cannonball Run, the Fireball Run is made up of people of varied backgrounds, driving across the country and encountering random adventures at every turn, the Fireball Run has a larger message. Created by J. J. Sanchez, the Fireball Run takes the freedom of touring a region of the country, adds in trivial pursuit-esque challenges, but then brings in a serious element that sadly affects thousands of families across the country- missing children. Since the Fireball Run's inception, over 40 missing children have been recovered and reunited with their families.
In addition to the larger message of finding America's missing children, the Fireball Run has also proved to be a great promotional tool for celebrities, politicians, business leaders and of course- the cities that welcome the Fireballers along the way. You see, the Fireball Run is more than just a road rally, it's also a moving, interactive, movie set, that is being recorded and streamed across the web throughout their journey. This year, I was not asked back as a rally participant, but rather to oversee the talented students of the Colorado Media School, who made up their broadcast production crew.
The next few blog posts will recount my experience and the stories that unfolded as we cruised along in our 2010 Chrysler Town and Country minivan while helping document this unique road rally.
Day 1- Longmont, CO:
After an early flight out of Chicago and running on just a few hours of sleep, I found myself looking for transportation from Denver to Longmont. Being just days after flooding ravished parts of the town, some of the taxi services were reluctant to bring me there due to road closures, but luckily I found a shuttle that brought me directly to the park where vehicle registration, pre-kickoff festivities and the broadcast was taking place. According to the young and eager crew I was "just in time" to help them resolve a few technical issues that made broadcasting the event difficult. Considering the fact that I spent about a month training and preparing them (via Skype) for this event, there were still a bit unprepared to take on their first truly live event. I knew it was going to be a VERY long day.
After an hour of trial and error with failing SDI cables, untangling wires and limited upload from our wireless hotspot, the mania began to subside and the crew that I only knew via web chat began to pull it together as driver check-in began. While the teams were signing forms and receiving rules, I decided to take a peek at some of the vehicles that played into this year's theme- "All Stars and Movie Cars." From Valentino Balboni meticulously cleaning the windshield of his Lamborghini to two Ohio State Representatives passing inspecting in a "Bandit" cloned Trans-Am, to a wonderful couple from Maine celebrating their wedding anniversary in a modern "Herbie," I soon realized that this was going to be a sight to see when that green flag dropped in the morning.
(Part 2: Green Flag in Longmont, CO to a Rainy Checkered Flag in Alamosa, CO)
Do you want to learn more about the Fireball Run or would you like to share your road rally experiences with me? Then comment below and lets share some stories of the road.
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