By Danielle Tadlock
News Report Staff
Imagine going to a speedway and seeing four convertible Mini Coopers full of food.
And then from the sky, four skydivers drop down into those cars.
This is how the Mini Cooper dealership announced its charity for this year’s trip.
Every two years, the Mini dealership plans a two-week road trip to raise awareness for a good cause while giving back to the community.
This year’s charity was for Feeding America. They raised money and meals to help feed the poor and homeless. The event started at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Georgia and ended the trip at the Palm Beach International Speedway in California.
“The trip was from track to track. They tried having their morning meetings on a race track,” said Cheryl Baker-Herboth, owner of the Last Straw and a second-time participant in the Mini Takes the States. “After the meetings, they would let us drive on the speedways. I got to drive on the Charlotte Motor Speedway.”
Herboth and her 21-year-old son, Matthew, have done this trip before.
“Ten years ago, we drove from St. Louis to Indianapolis with them and it was so much fun. We knew we would have to take some time to do the two-week trip,” Herboth said.
Every two years, the Mini dealership will either start on the east coast and head to the west coast or vice versa.
“Some people will actually transport their Mini Cooper to the east or west coast,” Herboth said. “Some even get together as a group and rent out semi’s to haul their Mini Cooper to the starting point.”
Herboth and Matthew were accompanied by their two dogs during the entire trip. They brought their teardrop camper with them so they could stay at campgrounds every night and enjoy each other’s company.
“One gentleman we met was only going to three cities, but he actually took out the back seat of his car and made a bed and slept like that for three nights,” Herboth said.
This year’s trip started with 1,500 other Mini Coopers. Everyone leaves at the same time and they all travel to the next city raising money and meals for Feeding America.
“We travelled 200 to 400 miles a day,” Herboth said. “We would get to the host city and they would perform at a dinner or function that night.”
In case their car broke down or had issues, Mini supplied roadside assistance. If they couldn’t fix it, they would supply a free tow to the closest dealership.
The fee is $75 for the whole trip and that includes road side assistance, breakfast and dinner, and whatever surprises they have in store each day.
Every stop they had, they would list how many miles they had driven and how many meals they donated to on a big bus.
“I remember in South Dakota, we stopped at a gas station and there was this couple that asked about all of the Mini Coopers and they ended up donating money,” Herboth said. “We always got asked about our trip and people would say ‘aww that’s a good cause; here’s some money to donate.’ It was really neat.”
By the end of the trip, they had 400 Mini Coopers traveling together and donated 1.3 million meals.
“For Matthew and me, it was an accomplishment,” Herboth said. “We’re planning for our next trip already.”