The Walleye 1000 is a vintage car rally with the motto of “Check your tires, check your oil, check your ego at the starting line and let’s go!” and it really sums up the heart of the rally. Cars that run the Walleye 1000 range from $1000 to a million plus. The attendees are just folks who want to drive their cars through some of the best roads that southern Minnesota and Wisconsin have to offer. This is not about who has the fanciest car, or who is going to win. It is about enjoying cars and the people who love to drive them.
When we arrived on Saturday morning for the start of the rally, pulling into the parking lot we could see the diversity of cars. Everything from more modern Mercedes Benz SL’s to a classic Corvair. As long as the car is 20 years old it can run the rally. The rally attracts some of the rarest cars, like a Jenson CV8 that was right hand drive and 1 of 500 ever made. The rally can also bring more common cars like early 90’s BMW 3 series.
After a quick drivers meeting explaining how the rally worked I kind of chuckled when he said “this is not a race or timed, so take it easy.” I know I had heard that before, but then he continued “I will be stopping at one of my favorite bakeries” and I thought, well he was serious about it not being a race.
They give you a rally guidebook not unlike something you would make in the world rally championship, giving you the play by play of the trip including how many miles each turn is from one another. While cruising the beautiful back roads they have mapped out you are also on a scavenger hunt, adding a fun element for the driver and co-driver. The rally began from Point Douglas Park in Hastings, MN. We reset our odometers at the stop sign and we were off! Even though we had a rally guide we still missed many turns and I would like to blame my co-driver, but that would be unfair. Although I am going to blame Wisconsin road signs because they are silly and misleading at times. Mark “the route meister” and Dave worked for weeks leading up to the event working which roads to drive and their hard work paid off. It was great to be driving on such curvy roads where driving the speed limit makes you feel like you are on a Formula 1 circuit. After about 120 miles there was a lunch break scheduled and meet up with some other rally participants for lunch, then we were back on the road to the next group meeting spot for an ice cream break! The weather was amazing so we had the windows down on the mini horse listening to the scream and fireball shooting that the rotary turned into a symphony for our ears. We Made it to our overnight stop in La Crosse, WI. We settled into our hotel room before our day one dinner at Piggy’s giving us more of a chance to meet some of the rally patrons.
We started day two with another quick drivers meeting and a swift drive to the first stop at Grandad Bluff Overlook for a group picture. Next we were heading to the Mindoro Cut where Adam and I tried to head out early to get pictures as folks from the rally drove through. We may have gotten a little lost so that plan mostly worked out. After getting as many pictures as we could, even a quick one of the Mazda, we headed off to our day two lunch stop at the Buena Vista Park in Alma, WI for some amazing pulled pork and greek potato salads. After checking out another beautiful overlook we headed to our final destination, Axel’s Restaurant for dinner and the awards ceremony. It was a great end to a fantastic event and we had to share our experiences with everyone. We even won the “Best Japanese Car Award” which immediately was put on display at the Dojo next to our “Spirit of The Sport” award from the 2015 Central Crown. We love driving our cars and even more then that we love spending time with people that love driving cars as much as we do! If you have a car 20 years or older sign up for the Walleye 1000 and if you don’t have a car older than 20 years old GET ONE and sign up!! You won’t regret it.
Check out our Video Recap below: