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By Kerri S. Mabee
Excitement swept into Temecula Saturday morning as thousands gathered to take part in the 2014 Reality Rally.
Based on the vision of former “Survivor: Gabon” contestant and Temecula resident Gillian Larson, the event pairs dozens of teams with reality stars from shows like “Survivor and “The Apprentice” in an “Amazing Race”-style game.
In its fourth year, Saturday’s Reality Rally brought hundreds of reality stars together at Temecula City Hall where they joined dozens of teams for a whirlwind race throughout Old Town, solving puzzles and enduring challenges before they made a mad dash for the finish line.
Larson thanked the dozens of volunteers who worked throughout the year on the task of bringing Reality Rally to life. “It takes a lot of people to make this happen,” she said, inviting the production team onto the stage.
Temecula Mayor Maryann Edwards thanked all in attendance for coming out and sharing in the moment for Michelle’s Place – Breast Cancer Resource Center.
All proceeds from the “Reality Rally,” conceived and spearheaded by “Survivor: Gabon” contestant Gillian Larson, will benefit Michelle’s Place, a non-profit breast cancer resource center based in Temecula.
As in year’s past, teams of three were invited to participate. Those who raised $400 in donations to take part in the event and a reality star will join you. Raise more than that and your team gets to choose its favorite star.
Game challenges could be found in such Old Town hallmarks as the Old Town Temecula Community Theater and The Children’s Museum and featured the considerable cowboy skills of the Old Town Temecula Gunfighters.
Larson was successful in assembling not just Temecula residents and reality stars from hit shows like “Survivor,” “Big Brother” and others, but her reach extended to fans of the reality genre from far and wide.
Teams from as far away as Canada, England and Australia participated in this year’s event.
Among the notables to attend the event this year were Tina Wesson of “Survivor Outback, All Stars & Blood vs Water” fame, Richard Hatch from “Survivor Borneo,” Peggy Tanous of “The Real Housewives of Orange County,” Abba Mark Abbittista from “The Amazing Race 21” and Andrew Gordon from “Big Brother 12.”
But local volunteers and reality fans make up much of the team spirit.
Calling the event an “extraordinary platform,” Liza Stinton from “Big Brother Canada Season 1” told the crowd, “Every single dollar I raised, I got choked up.”
The three-day event, which began Friday, Apr. 11 ended Sunday, Apr. 13 with Breakfast with the Stars and Celebrity Chefs Showcase from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Pala Mesa Resort, located at 2001 Old Highway 395 in Fallbrook.
All proceeds of the 2014 Reality Rally benefit Michelle’s Place which provides emotional and educational support to those touched with breast cancer and facilitates breast health care services.
For more information about Michelle’s place, visit www.michellesplace.org.
To learn more, visit www.realityrally.com.
Kerri S. Mabee is a new contributor to Temecula Grapevine. You can find additional work at EducatedWriter.com.