Car admirers gathered in Davenport, Iowa on June 23 for “The Great Race” in which competitors race along the Mississippi River for prize money, charity and to show off their vintage cars.
There is over $150,000 in prize money, with $50,000 going to the winner of the race at the end of this eight day event. Scores are based not on who arrives first, but on who arrives closest to their projected time, without the use of odometers or GPS.
“We love old cars, we have five great race cars… the most fun part is family. It can’t get any better than this,” Howard Sharp, a 22 year veteran who is in the lead after day two, said.
In 2012, the race raised $68,000 for autism, and have already raised over $14,000 this year. However, the love of cars and healthy competition is what keeps fans and competitors excited.
Brian “Motormouth” Goudge, the event announcer of 18 years, said that cities up and down the Mississippi competed heavily to be stops in the race, especially since it’s been growing in popularity. The race started in St. Paul, Minn. and ends in Mobile Ala., with notable stops being Davenport, Iowa and Germantown, Tenn.
“This year we started with 99 teams, and I believe that now, on day two, we have 92 teams. We had some really challenging drives for these cars and they’re really old. The good news is, we have 31 rookie teams — first time ever doing this event. That demonstrates to me just how popular this event is,” Goudge said.
No cars younger than 1969 models are allowed to compete in the race, and the entry fee is $5000. According to Goudge, there is almost $4 million worth of cars in the race, most of which would normally not leave museums. The event has changed routes over the years, with the original traveling from California to Indiana.