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!