Thursday, April 16, 2015

Driven to Succeed

Rally co-chair Diana Starr Langley, Sydney McCaskey, co-chair Monte Wilson, owner with Limited Edition 2007 Porsche GT3 RS with silver and orange paint, with black Alcantara racing interior and driver/ owner Maria Wilson, Marvin Lujano, Michael Baker United Boys and Girls Club chief executive officer; Jim Crook, president of UBGC; Caman Failla, 1955 Mercedes 300 SL Gullwing with metallic gray paint and Mercedes-Benz red Roser leather interior; Sophia Ayala, owner Peter Meijer; 1959 Porsche 356A painted a silver metallic with an interior of Spinneybeck red leather; owner, David Green; and Kevin Lujano (photo by Priscilla)
Rally 4 Kids - PDFFrom his first investment at age 13 – a residential project rehab effort in the city of Detroit where he grew up – Patrick Nesbitt created a real estate and hospitality empire. He also built for himself a home on 20 acres in Summerland that features a turf farm cum polo field that helps to foster the sport, and contributes to
his effort to restore polo’s status as an Olympic event for the first time since 1936. 

Curiously, when one approaches the stables that abut the field, one could be forgiven for thinking they’re at the main residence, due to its grand façade. It is in the forecourt of this building that Nesbitt will again host the after-party for the second annual Rally 4 Kids, which supports the United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County. Montecito Journal is media sponsor for the nearly 200-mile event, scheduled for Saturday, May 9. 
 
“We had two-hundred-fifty people last year,” says Diana Starr Langley, co-chair of the event. “We netted over two-hundred thousand dollars, which is unheard of for a first-year event.” That makes the rally the largest fund- raiser for the clubs throughout the year.

And the event is unique, particularly for Boys & Girls Clubs. 

“I’d never heard of a ‘rally’ before, and I’d been at Boys & Girls Clubs twenty-seven years,” says Michael Baker, newly installed CEO of United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County. He took the helm early this year, having previously run the clubs in Anaheim.

But the event came up in his very first discussions with the Santa Barbara County organization, due to
its overwhelming success. The fundraising goal for this year is, simply stated, “more than last year.” There’s little doubt it will be another big success. 

“We’ve had a lot of buzz about it, and people call every single day,” says Baker. In fact, while last year’s Rally had 37 cars, as of this writing 43 cars – at an entry fee of $750 per car – have already committed for this year’s event.

“People better act fast, though, ‘cause there’s only fifty spots,” adds Baker. Above that mark, it becomes more difficult, since the event would then be classified as a parade, requiring a different and more complicated set of rules. The organizers are also still seeking individuals and businesses interested in sponsoring the event, with a variety of benefits included at different levels, such as VIP tables and private servers at the after-party.

200 Miles Of Driving

The format of this year’s Rally is a bit different from the first. In contrast to last year’s “poker rally,” which involved collecting playing cards to assemble hands, this year is more about challenges, leaving less to chance. But the spirit of competition should still be fairly friendly, and the route designers have made sure to emphasize fun along the 200-mile circuit, which both starts and ends in Summerland.

The driving kicks off from QAD. The route for this year has expanded from last year’s 180 miles, but it will also be different in that the directions are given based on landmarks, rather than pure mileage.

“Last year, we said go thirty miles and turn right,” explains Langley. “Well, the trouble is, think about the odometers on these cars...” – which, among classics can be calibrated wildly differently – “...It never dawned on us!”

The route will also include a “really fun” lunch stop, says Langley. Many of the stops involved wineries last year, including lunch, but there’s much less emphasis on that this year, so the drivers don’t miss out on the fun.

There are also a couple of parties to bookend the driving. On Friday night, May 8, there is an exclusive event at the Perry estate in Hope Ranch just for the drivers and navigators. (What, you thought the passengers would be doing nothing?)

And following Saturday’s rally, which should end around 6 pm, there’s a soirée at the Nesbitt Estate, where revelers will be able to see all the cars involved. There will be live entertainment, and the drivers can finally kick back and enjoy some of the free drinks.

The hosted bar is probably a very good investment for the organizers, since it’ll loosen up the partygoers for the silent and live auctions that night. Langley says the silent block will be filled with great trips and car-related experiences, plus the typical lineup of restaurant, salon, and spa certificates.

The live auction kicks it up even further, with some unique art pieces, such as a chance to have Jane Gottlieb photograph your car and create a hyper-colorful metal print piece. You can check out examples at janegottlieb.com. 

There are also experiences such as a seven-day trip for two to the Caribbean on the SeaDream yacht with a custom itinerary, a tour for 10 people of the Petersen Automotive Museum’s vault led by the museum director, and even a wine dinner for 24 people at the Wine Cask. Winemaker Doug Margerum hosts the dinner, and he’ll take care of the wine-food pairing for the whole night.

Bill Patterson is the official artist of Mazda 
Raceway Laguna Seca. He performs 
“live art” globally and is commissioned
 by an array of private clients
 such as Mazda, Microsoft, and FedEx.
Art enthusiasts will have further outlets for their money (tax-deductible!) in the art of Bill Patterson. Patterson created the art for this year’s Long Beach Grand Prix. As the featured artist of the rally, Patterson will be creating works of art onsite, both Friday and Saturday nights. 

The organizers have arranged it so the first two buyers who pay in full, prior to the rally weekend, will have
their cars immortalized on a 60-inch- by-42-inch canvas for just $2,500. These paintings will be created live at the Friday pre-party. That night there will be a sealed bidding process for two more paintings, which will take place on Saturday night.

Art for Art’s Sake

You can check out Patterson’s art, including his automotive portfolio and examples of pieces done live at events, at billpattersonart.com. If you’d like to grab one of those two Friday spots, you can contact Diana Starr Langley at (805) 452-8083. According to Patterson’s website, the honor has sold for as much as $41,000, so consider yourself lucky if you happen to be reading this early Thursday morning. 

While the Friday party is just for drivers and navigators, you don’t have to be signed up for the Rally to join the fun Saturday night. Tickets to the after-party are available at Rally4Kids.org. 

Fittingly, the money earned from the weekend will go toward transportation for the clubs. 

“The proceeds are helping us use our vans to pick up kids who can’t get to the Boys & Girls Club,” says Baker. The organization serves a far-flung set of communities – the union of six different clubs – where anyone up to 18 can come to its after-school programs, focusing on areas like personal development, health, fitness, and arts, all for just $40 per year. He went further to describe the impact of the event and the community he’s found in Santa Barbara, where he’s lived for only three months. 

“I love this community,” Baker says. “They’ve been tremendously supportive of the Boys & Girls Clubs, and they’re gonna rally around this one, no doubt about it. Pun intended!” 

For more information about joining the rally or attending the Friday or Saturday night party, you can call (805) 681-1315 or log on to www.rally4kids.org.

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