Sponsors are always needed every year to make the Deanslist driving events a reality. Thanks to the regular support of many sponsors, we are able to continue year after year. In return for sponsorship, Deanslist provides advertising of sponsoring business' in many different forms. The most obvious and noticeable method of advertising we offer is by affixing those businesss' logos to our participant vehicles during the annual Dustball Rally. This show of gratitude for sponsorship is a proven method of advertising, as it is impossible to not notice a fully stickered Dustball Rally vehicle.
The Dustball Rally originally began as a way for friends to tour the scenic roads of the Southwest while following traditional rally instructions. The first official event was a novice-level TSD (Time, Speed, Distance) rally that hosted 54 teams. Unfortunately only nine teams actually followed the instructions correctly while the rest simply had fun driving the route at their own pace making several stops.
The teams' confusion of exactly what TSD was lead to our elimination of it, and instead incorporated an easy to follow gimmick rally, which is essentially a scavenger hunt. This new format covers over 1000 miles in several days, requiring multiple stops for teams to solve clues, or locate gimmicks, to successfully answer test questions or learn directions. The gimmicks would start off easy, and progressively become very difficult by day two. Being the largest multistate gimmick rally in the Nation, we pride ourselves in calling it the most hardcore scavenger hunt you can join.
The roads traveled are mostly 2-lane split highways, all paved. No unfinished roads are a part of any route in our events. The roundtrip distance is always near or slightly over the advertised miles, and is covered in several days time, depending on the structure. Routes are along open public highways, and some of the most scenic ones that the Southwest has to offer. The goal of our event is to bring out the spirit of the open road in the participating teams.
The overnight destinations and the routes are always both confidential information. In other words, you have no idea where your journey will take you, nor what route you will take to get there. Each year's pause usually has plenty of tourist-y shops, and often host s an organized celebration so Dustballers have a chance to explore the social side of other teams. You will never meet people like some of the ones you will meet during this event.
Every Dustball Rally is documented by photo and video crews every step of the way. After the event is over and the awards are given, a documentary release and slideshow is eventually produced. Private screenings and copies are sold to participants before public screenings are held. Copies of photos are also available to be sold later as well. Our media crews are of the finest that El Paso and Las Cruces has to offer, producing the best in photo and video in the Southwest.
Other than the gimmicks, the basis of the Dustball Rally is founded on spirit. We focus the spirit award determination based on memory the person of which our rally was founded - Mr. Willie Williams. Willie participated in the original Cannonball Run, Alcan 5000, and numerous other rallies nationwide. Having become a rally master, Willie set up numerous rallies for the Sports Car Club of America, Porsche Club of America, and many other clubs.
It is in the experiences of his life, trials, and tribulations of the rallies he competed in that we base our spirit judgement upon. With these facts in mind, we define Spirit as the team that best demonstrates an understanding of the past and present history of open road rallying, and comes out of the rally as the most positive and uncontroversial.
Being the highest award, this is the most difficult decision for our staff to make. The teams that seek qualification for the highest and most coveted award will be observed closely and notes on their progress will be taken for further evaluation and consideration. Enormous amounts of spirit must be shown by all teams in the duration of the rally days.
To qualify for The Spirit of the Dustball (Willie Williams) Award, teams must: successfully complete the prescribed course, not snivel, and demonstrate the most spirit as a team, not as individuals. The winning team of this award is thereby declared the overall champion of The Dustball Rally.
The story of the Dustball Rally originally begins in 2005, first conceived to honor a man that was respected highly in the rally community. That man was Larry James "Willie" Williams, a retired Force Recon Marine that over the years became a veteran rally master. Having participated in such events as the Alcan 5000, numerous National SCCA Rallies, and the legendary Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, Willie had many stories to share.
Hearing Willie's experiences gave the inspiration to start a local event, a rally that would become controversial and popular in the underground automotive scene. After many months of planning, a route was designed and the first ever unofficial Dustball Rally was underway in 2005. Some thirty vehicles showed up for the first test, following a route of approximately 400 miles with a single stop for lunch. The vehicles that participated represented some of the most powerful supercars and greatest drivers that El Paso has to offer. Once the event reached an end, the same route wasn't followed again until later years. Although it was seen as a great success, it was realized that much more organization was needed as well as a 'game' to play to discourage unlawful speeding. The revised event was to be created in honor of Willie, as the declared overall winner was to win the "Willie Williams Award."
So it was back to the drawing board for a more organized TSD Rally (Time, Speed, Distance). Sponsors were needed to back the event funding, awards, and exposure. The remainder of the route was designed for a total of 562 miles to be completed in one day. The newly designed TSD rally was thought to certainly slow down the vehicles, not to mention make the event completely street legal. This time around the Dustball Rally was to be completely official, with a staff, photographers, and a video crew to document the event. Our only problem was a lack of funding. All hope was lost and the project was dropped after six months of planning and coordination.
In early 2006, Willie passed away leaving his family as well as many great friends he had in the motorsport community. At his funeral, the church parking lot was full of exotic cars, all people that he touched during his time, attending to celebrate his life. It was at this time that I felt the Dustball Rally had to be put on in his memory, no matter what. It was to be a one-time event with no successions to remember the part of his life that he often shared stories of.
Funding was still an issue if we wanted to make the first ever Dustball Rally a blowout. An unforgettable email from Dede Rogers of DSTP Motorsports made our dream a reality. Dede heard about the event through internet mailers and flyers that our small volunteer staff had been distributing and offered to sponsor the event. Without her support, the Dustball Rally would not have existed. Dede continues to support the Dustball Rally year after year.
In 2006, the first official Dustball Rally hosted 54 teams along a 562 mile route in a single day. It was documented by a videography team whom eventually released a 28 minute documentary about the historic event. Photography crews also successfully captured the participants in action. The first official rally went off without incident and became an instant hit. Sponsors were knocking at our doors as were future participants, this one-time rally just became an annual event.
The second annual Dustball Rally separated the one-day drivers from the hard-core rallyists by doubling the distance in a two-day gimmick rally which proved to be more enjoyable on every level. Twenty-five teams joined the second event, and proved themselves during the ordeal. Traveling to San Antonio and back via backroads, the immense spirit and joy was endlessly witnessed by every team that participated. The illicit documentary produced was an hour long and became an instant underground cult classic among local motorsport enthusiasts. Well said by one of the 2007 Team's Drivers: "The feeling is indescribable, you have to do it to understand."
Now that The Dustball Rally has a greater following, larger staff and fantastic sponsors, all of our future events are ready to make their mark in your memory. Dustball staff members have successfully pin-pointed what drivers want in a rally, and only 35 teams are accepted for these latest of progressions. Many teams returning each year, and many newcomers sign up early to be included on the fantastic adventures. This is one event you do not want to miss, see the sights and feel the rush...
Don't miss it, make history with us and join the Dustball Rally!