A Borger native and his wife are about to strike out on what many would consider the trip of a lifetime. However, for Dusty and Nikki Green, it will be just their latest “trip of a lifetime”.
Dusty, who is a Borger native, and Nikki, a native of Claude, are among five finalist teams that have been selected by Rand McNally and USA Today for the 2012 Best of the Road Rally, which is a cross-country multimedia adventure designed to highlight and call attention to some of the best small towns across the nation.
The Greens’ submission, which included a one-minute video clip, was chosen from dozens sent in all over the country.
“It’s just incredible. We’re so honored and excited to be selected,” Dusty said. “We travel quite a bit as it is, but this gives us the opportunity to see the country in a way we’ve never experienced, and in a way help us reconnect with our small town roots.”
Other finalist teams selected are from places such as New York, Atlanta, Phoenix, and Los Angeles. In addition to the five teams, 30 towns across the country were selected as the “best of the road” and placed in five different categories, which included most beautiful, most fun, friendliest, best food, and most patriotic. The decisions were based on factors including public voting and selection by a panel of judges.
The five teams will gather on June 15 in Washington, D.C., and will each be presented with their own cross-country itinerary. Following a designated route, each team will visit the six towns for each respective category, and will update their travels daily through a series of photos, videos, and blogs.
“The hardest part is not knowing,” Nikki said. “We won’t have any idea of where we’ll be going until they give us the envelope with our route literally on the day we leave Washington, D.C. But it’s so exciting. We can’t wait.”
There is more to the road rally than just publicity for the teams and the towns, however. After driving across the country, all of the teams will gather in Seattle, Wash., and one will be crowned the “Road Rally” winners and receive a $10,000 cash prize.
The grand prize will be awarded to the team that was deemed to produce the best videos, blog posts, and photos along their journey.
“The money would be nice, obviously, but it’s not really on our minds,” Dusty said. “We’re just looking forward to the experience. It’s an opportunity not many people get to have, and we’re thankful just to be involved.”
Many people do not get to travel as often as they like, but the Greens are an exception to this rule. After leaving the Panhandle area five years ago, they backpacked their way through Central and South America for seven months, living with local families and relying on public transportation to get around. They chronicled their adventures on a web site entitled “Two for the Road,” and say it was an experience that completely changed their lives.
Since coming back to the U.S., the Greens now live in the Austin area, where they have established and now run a small but successful video production company. They go across the country many times a year producing marketing videos for the dental and orthodontic industry, which they call their “day job.”
Right now, they don’t know where the Road Rally is going to take them, but the Greens are hopeful their chosen route will bring them through the Panhandle at some point.
“No matter where we are, the Panhandle will always be home to us,” Nikki said. “It’s where our families are. It’s where our roots are. And we’d love to be able to swing through on this rally and say hello to everybody, even if it’s just for a day.”