First, there was The Amazing Race, the hit CBS show where teams circle the globe while participating in usually funny, often frustrating challenges. Now, theres the Totally Awesome Amazing Race-Modesto.
Nearly 100 people on 28 teams ran or at least jogged among 10 challenge sites in the downtown Modesto area Friday afternoon to raise money for the United Way. As on the TV series that inspired the event, teams found their way along the course by solving clues.
The race began with teams at tables at Galletto Ristorante. Given the signal, they tore open envelopes to find a puzzle that when solved sent them to the Gallo Center for the Arts. There, a team member had to hula hoop for a full minute for the team to get its next clue.
And so it went. Teams dashed to Tenth Street Plaza to solve a crossword puzzle, to The Paperboy statue in McClatchy Square to test their skill at throwing a rolled-up newspaper. To the Queen Bean Coffee House for a toilet-paper mummy wrap of a teammate. To McHenry Museum for a history quiz. Ten stations in all.
First to finish? Val United, a team of employees from the value business unit of E.&J. Gallo Winery.
The race was the brainchild of the United Way funding team at G3 Enterprises, which makes crafts corks, bottles and labels for E.&J. Gallo wine and ships it.Sign-ups began with teams of Gallo and G3 employees but grew to include other businesses, like Foster Farms, and United Way partner agencies, such as the Center for Human Services.
The afternoon clearly put the fun in fundraising. Clever team names abounded, such as four guys in Spider-Man T-shirts that read Sticky Backs on the back. A nod to the superheros wall-crawling abilities? Sure. But also to the team members own workplace: the label division of G3.
Just as on TV, Fridays race found teams struggling with challenges and confused by clues. We started off on the wrong foot by immediately going to the incorrect station (the newsboy statue) that was five blocks out of the way, said Michael Shastid of Val United.
Another team was jogging down the street from the starting point when an organizer yelled, Go, go youre in 13th place. But one of the members thought he was telling the team to go to somewhere called 13th Place, which, unlike Tenth Street Place, doesnt exist.
Our team is thrilled to have represented the E.&J. Gallo Winery at the Totally Awesome Amazing Race, he said. While the the first-place finish was great and tough! the real win is to see such widespread support for United Way.