Millsboro’s Pumpkin Run rallies support for fire service, police outreach

MILLSBORO — Road rallying enthusiasts from several states and two countries teamed up on a scenic, three-day stopwatch adventure that benefits Millsboro’s fire service and the police department’s community outreach.

On a mostly misty weekend, 32 driver/navigator teams hit the roads in Sussex and Kent counties for the 17th annual Pumpkin Run.

Through entry fees, silent auction, raffle and sponsors, the 2017 Pumpkin Run matched the donation to the Millsboro Fire Company from a year ago. The donation was accepted by Millsboro Fire Company trustee John Hall.

“Because of you and our sponsors I’m giving John a check for $6,500,” said Bob Bryan, the Pumpkin Run coordinator.

“I want to thank you all,” said Mr. Hall. “It’s this group over here, especially the ladies (auxiliary) that save us a lot of money.  I think you all know the state cut us 25 percent. We’re trying to do everything we can. This will help a lot.”

“Also, due to your generosity we are giving a check to the Millsboro Police Department Needy Family Fund for $400. Thank you for your support,” added Mr. Bryan.

Twenty-nine of the 32 teams logged approximately 400 miles — 100-mile legs Friday and Sunday and 200 Saturday — utilizing precision speed calibration, driving and specific instructions in the time-based Northeast Rally Club event.

“Between navigator and driver, if you have a good repoire, you become almost one at the point,” said Brian Lockwood, a road rallyist from New Jersey who worked checkpoints for this year’s event.

Millsboro Police Department was one of the entries that dropped out with mechanical problems.

“We had three cars that broke down,” said Mr. Bryan. “And we had a little mist but nothing serious.”

“We just had the mist the whole time, but it was good,” said Douglas Sharp of Fairport, N.Y., the driver of a magnificent 1916 Hudson that competes in the prestigious Great Race. “It was another very successful event. It’s great to be here.”

Wife/navigator Dana Sharp shared similar sentiments.

“It was a lot of fun. Bob (Bryan) and the fire company always put on a really great rally. The food is always incredible,” she said. “The roads are great. The scenery is awesome … a few chicken houses and lots of ponds. So, it’s a lot of fun.”

In its history, the Pumpkin Run has now raised more than $126,000 in support of the Millsboro Fire Company.

Driver/navigator teams hailed from as far away as Georgia, Michigan and Canada.

Some participants had competed earlier this summer in the prestigious Great Race, which was staged from Florida to Michigan in late June and early July.

2017 Pumpkin Run divisional winners:

Champions: John Hudson/Scott Hudson.

Police: Millsboro Police Department. Barry Wheatley/Evan Rogers.

Pro: Bryan Veering/Ivan Veering.

SOP: Brian Craig/Pauline Craig.

First Rookie: Vernan Rickards/Connor McGee.

NOTE: The top rookie tandem receives the Mary Bitterman Award, good for a free entry in the 2018 Pumpkin Run road rally.

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at grolfe@newszap.com

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