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Rally School important part of Sugar Valley Rally

Rally participants gather at Harms Center Friday morning for "Rally School" (Strang/RRN/KNEB)

This weekend's Sugar Valley Rally has drawn drivers and navigators from across the United States to participate in the precision-driving contest that covers around 400 miles of the scenic North Platte Valley. Friday morning, crews were gathered at the Harms Center on the WNCC campus for the annual Rally School.

Rex Gardner from Grove, Oklahoma is conducting this year's school, and tells KNEB News the school is an important part of rally prep. Gardner says quite a few people come to the event each year for the first time. So, they have this Rally School/Mandatory Meeting that will advise everyone involved about the rules of the rally, how safety enters into, and basics on how to rally.

Gardner says all the cars passed through the safety checks Thursday evening, but when they are designating where to turn, where to stop, how long to pause, where the turns are, speed changes....they want them to have safety foremost in their minds.

As a timed speed distance event, Gardner says that means they tell them what time to start, where to go and how to do it. He says the object is to stay perfectly on time all day. There will be hidden checkpoints along the way where they are timed to a tenth of a second. Gardner says the idea is if you are early, it's a penalty point and if you're late seconds cost penalty points.

A practice rally begins at 1 p.m. from the Harms Center with a pit stop at Frontier Bible School in LaGrange, and will finish this evening at Reganis Auto Center at 4 pm with a business after hours event. The ceremonial start for the first stage of the actual rally begins Saturday morning at 8 a.m. at Runza in downtown Scottsbluff.

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