The sun came out just in time Saturday morning to allow car owners a chance to take to the roads with their tops down for a good cause.
The Ragtop Rally was held as a fundraiser for Grace Clinic, which offers medical services for low-income patients in the tri-county region, and was organized by Dr. Steve Erlandson and Dr. Larry Irwin.
Close to 20 convertibles lined up on East Main Street in front of The Liberty and The Tribune and were given a staggered start for the rally, which included searching for sights along the 95-mile route taking them from Elkin past the Blue Ridge Parkway and back toward Elkin.
Each car had two hours and 15 minutes to complete the route, while photographing 10 out of 17 sights noted in the instructions given. Each car was given 100 points for finishing the route on time and another 100 points for completing the photo safari, but points were deducted for every minute late or early, for incorrect photos and for speeding tickets incurred during the event.
Part of the instructions told drivers to travel the course at 20 to 35 mph, and 5 mph below the speed limit if it was 45 to 55 mph. Also, they were instructed to “have fun” and “enjoy the ride; enjoy the scenery.”
According to Hugh Quinn, executive director of Grace Clinic, Erlandson and Irwin have both participated in rallies in the past and came up with the fundraising idea. He said they had driven the 95-mile route on several occasions to get the rally and photo safari finalized and set up.
Erlandson greeted each car at the starting line, giving them their starting time, reminding them of speed limits and giving them an official send off with the drop of his arm.
Convertibles ranged from newer model Ford Mustangs, to Mazda Miatas to Mercedes to a classic Austin-Healey. Also participating was a late ‘70s or early ‘80s model Ford Mustang painted with a race car number. The event was open to any type car, despite the “ragtop” title.
The rally ended at Grassy Creek Vineyard and Winery, where points were tallied and winners announced, with prizes awarded.
Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.