A cavalcade of cars ranging from familiar icons of ‘80s pop culture to medical vehicles stopped by the Mesa Arts Center Sept. 26 on their way to California during the seventh Fireball Run Adventurally.
The Mesa visit marked the end of the sixth day of the trip for the drivers of approximately 40 vehicles, who began their journey in Longmont, Colo., and ended the journey in Riverside, Calif., on Sept. 29. Along the way, the drivers connected with local chambers of commerce, answered trivia questions for points, donated to area charities — it was Helen’s Hope Chest for Mesa — and passed out flyers picturing missing children.
The stop in Mesa, which was held at the Mesa Arts Center, had local high school cheerleaders welcoming and guiding the drivers into the new locale for the evening.
During their stay, the drivers — who ran the gamut from politicians to racecar drivers and even an astronaut — met with locals and showcased their vehicles, and later attended an evening function with area leaders.
“We’re just happy they chose Mesa for one of the stops,” said Mesa Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Sally Harrison.
One of the highlights for Harrison came when the cars trickled into the arts center parking area one by one, with the incoming DeLorean — complete with a flux capacitor and driven by Doc Brown and Marty McFly — driving to the arts center with its doors wide open.
Another vehicle mentioned by Harrison was the Ecto-1 — the car used in the two “Ghostbusters” films. That vehicle was driven by Jim and Beth Shaver, who came to Mesa dressed in an official “Ghostbusters’” jumpsuit and opted to go with the vehicle to kind of compete with the “Back to the Future” car.
Similar, Shaver said they opted to go with the Ecto-1 was to emphasize the event’s mission of finding lost kids. Event organizers say the six Fireball Run rallies have helped recover almost 40 missing children.
“The mission is about kids, and it’s all about the kids, so we wanted to have a car they could relate to and come to. [There’s] nothing better than the ‘Ghostbusters,’” she said.
This was Shaver’s first year in the race, although her husband had participated in two previous iterations. Joining Jim Shaver in the three-timer club was John Garden, who drove as a member of Team Canadian Beavers.
It’s a pretty tiring event for the participants, as Garden said the drivers often start their days at 6:30 a.m. and don’t end their days until about midnight.
“It makes for long days and long nights,” he said.
However, he said he keeps signing up for the rally to accomplish the event’s main mission.
“We want to continue the search for missing children,” he said.
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