Courtney Barber
July 14, 2016
Photos By: Amie Williams

After wrapping up the Hot Rod Power Tour a little over three weeks ago I found myself back on the road again for my fourth year with Rally North America. The main idea behind each event is to drive for a cause, get automotive enthusiasts together, raise money for a chosen charity, and take the road less traveled. To date, Rally North America events have raised more than $500,000 in direct donations to chosen charities. This year 100 percent of the donations raised by each team will directly benefit Camp Sunshine, a year-round retreat specifically for children fighting life-threatening illnesses and their families. Please consider helping Camp Sunshine by donating to this amazing cause!

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The route this year begins in Montana and will lead us through scenic back roads to Portland, Oregon, as we complete daily challenges along the way. On Wednesday of last week, Amie Williams and I began our 2,300-mile journey to the starting line from South Carolina. We made great time cruising across the country thanks to my new AODE transmission from. We even had a little extra time on the way to explore the Badlands of South Dakota, and it was an amazing site to see!

On Sunday we arrived in Billings, Montana. Unfortunately the weather changed our plans to have some fun at the Yellowstone Drag Strip. We had been prepping ourselves all day on some lonely roads in Montana by playing Street Outlaws, so we still managed to get our need for speed covered. Later in the evening we attended the charity auction that added to the donations making the total $118,546 for Camp Sunshine. Thank you Kicker for supplying us with the IK5 amphitheater to add to our donations to the auction.

After the auction we had the pleasure of meeting Bria Koch, daughter of Brad and Bonnie Koch. Bria was diagnosed with a rare disorder know as Diamond Blackfan Anemia and have been to Camp Sunshine on several occasions. The confidant 10 year-old was an inspiration to everyone in the room. She was going to be waving the green flag at the start line in Billings and after realizing we shared a passion for pink when she saw the car, we officially had our newest member of Team Mustang Girls. After her official flag duties were done, Bria hopped in the car and rode with us for the first leg of the day. I can't say enough what an impression this confidant and strong young women made on myself and the entire group. It really brought it all into perspective. Yes, it's fun to rally and drive across the country, but being able to help and see the result of all the fundraising efforts was truly a blessing.

Although Bria was ready to roll for the whole rally, we had to return her to her parents and then we were off to Yellowstone Park. Normally we are given clues and checkpoints to find over a few hundred miles each day, but the organizers changed it up for the day because they wanted everyone to be able to take in the majestic scenery instead of rushing through the route. And what a beautiful day it was. After taking in the sites we headed to The Lodge at Big Sky, Montana. The views just kept getting better as we found ourselves snapping pictures every minute of the way. Tomorrow continues our journey as we head to Great Falls, Montana. We’ll bring you more as the Rally rolls on this week.

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