MINI Take the States: Wrap Up

MINI Take the States: Wrap Up

I tagged along for a two legs of MINI Takes the States, an epic cross-country road rally that’s put on by the company. I participated in just two sections of this continent-spanning trip, but that was still enough for me to experience four Midwestern states and some 700 miles of America. But there’s much more to than this event than just the sliver I experienced.

The first time MINI organized one of these events was back in 2006. Since then they’ve hosted one every other year; if they ran them annually the staff would probably die of exhaustion. The 2014 installment will last for 14 days following its big start in San Francisco, California. It’s scheduled to terminate in Boston, Massachusetts on August 9.

According to Patrick F. McKenna, manager of product planning and motoring events at MINI, the route spans some 4,800 miles and runs through more than a dozen states.

MINI Takes the States 04

Enthusiasm for this jamboree is quite surprising. “We’ve got 250 cars going the whole way, which is close to 500 people,” McKenna said. This demonstrates just how dedicated MINI enthusiasts are; some 500 people are carving at least two whole weeks out of their schedules to participate. Can you say devotion?

SEE ALSO: MINI Takes the States, St. Louis to Chicago

And word about MINI Takes the States is spreading because it continues to grow. “This is actually more than three times the size as the event we did in 2012 from the perspective of people going all the way,” noted McKenna. He also said, “In multiple cities we have over 1,000 people.” These are fans that can’t make it for the entire trip but still show up at one of the owner rallies that are hosted at every stop along the way.


Of those 500 or so people there are a few exceptionally dedicated participants. “We have two gentlemen from Germany,” said McKenna. “They went through Europe and Russia and Asia, flew their car from Tokyo to L.A. and they’re doing MINI Takes the States. And then they’re going to ship their car via boat from New York back to Germany.”

MINI Takes the States 05

Beyond this circumnavigation McKenna also said a five-and-a-half-month-pregnant woman signed up for the full Monty. She drove from her home in New Jersey to San Francisco so she could be there from the very beginning. “And here’s the interesting thing, she’s camping the entire way,” he added.

Finally, a quartet of gentlemen from Brooklyn, New York is making a similar trek. They’re all crossing the continent in ONE CAR. Hopefully they’re good friends because that’s pretty tight quarters.


MINI Takes the States 01Not surprisingly the prep work for an event of this magnitude is pretty daunting. Not only do people at the company have to select cities to stop in and routes to drive on, they’ve also got to book hotel accommodations, find venues that can adequately accommodate participants and cooperate with media, to name but a few of their duties. “This takes about 18 months of planning,” McKenna said, adding that in just half a year they’ll be back at it again, preparing for the 2016 installment.

Of course the prep is hardly a cake walk; in fact they had to scrap their early plans for this year’s MINI Takes the States. McKenna said their initial idea was to blitz from Seattle, Washington to Florida, but they couldn’t make the timing work. Additionally, finding large enough venues is difficult; with 1,000 or more people showing up at certain spots they need lots of space.

SEE ALSO: MINI Takes the States, Chicago to Cleveland

And then there’s the grueling pace. McKenna noted that they average three to four hours of sleep each day during the trip; early mornings and late nights add up to exhaustion very quickly. Still, whether it’s 5:30 a.m. or well past midnight he and his staff are ALWAYS cheery, helpful and bubbling with energy. He said that despite the physical exhaustion it really recharges their batteries because they’re “doing righteous work” for their customers.


MINI drivers can participate in the entire rally from San Francisco to Boston or they can do any combination of the segments in between. The event is open to every current and future owner.

MINI Takes the States 03The entry fee is just $45 per person, though kiddies 12 and younger are free. That modest up-front cost gets you a goodie bag with cool swag, a nifty lanyard and “merit badges” at all the stops. Additionally breakfast is free at morning rally points. For the most part drivers just have to cover their own gas and lodging fees.

As for pets, they’re not just welcome, their participation is encouraged. Numerous owners brought their doggies along for some head-out-the-window, tongue-in-the-breeze road-trip action.

“It’s our way of giving back to the customers,” said McKenna, noting that there probably isn’t another car company in the world that’s quite like MINI, with the enthusiasm, camaraderie and pride its owners have. He mentioned that a brand like Harley-Davidson might be similar, but in the automotive space MINI is totally unique because of its vibrant patrons.

GALLERY: 2014 MINI Cooper S Hardtop


Discuss this story on our Mini Forum

« Back
SWEEPSTAKES – OFFICIAL RULES, TERMS AND CONDITIONS’s Monthly Overlay Newsletter Signup – By subscribing to our email newsletter, Entrants are eligible to win one (1) Gift Card (value of $100.00 USD). One (1) winner will be chosen every month at random and contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. * is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Gift Cards ("GCs") cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of, Inc. or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.


2. PRIZE: One (1) Winner will be randomly selected every month to each receive: one (1) $100.00 Gift Card (the “Prize Supplier”). Total approximate retail value of all prizes is approximately $100.00 USD. Prizes are not transferable and no cash or prize substitution is allowed. Prize package is awarded "as is" with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied.

3. ELIGIBILITY: From the time of entry through the final date of prize fulfillment, each contest entrant and selected entrant must be a permanent lawful citizen and resident residing in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia or in Canada, and be twenty one (21) years of age or older. VOID IN PUERTO RICO, THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, IN ALL FOREIGN COUNTRIES OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ALL OTHER U.S. TERRITORIES OR CANADA AND POSSESSIONS AND WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. Employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives, of the Sponsor and the Prize Supplier and each of their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, promotion partners and any entity involved in the development, production, implementation, administration or fulfillment of this Sweepstakes, and the immediate family members (e.g., spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, grandparent, in-law, daughter and son, regardless of where they live) and persons living in the same household (whether or not related) of such individuals are not eligible to participate or win. Only one selected entrant per household. All decisions of the Sponsor with respect to this sweepstakes are final. The Sponsor shall have the right at any time to require proof of identity and failure to provide such proof may result in disqualification from the Sweepstakes.

4. ENTER BY INTERNET: You may enter this sweepstakes via the Internet by logging onto and subscribing to our email newsletter via the pop-up overlay.

5. SELECTION OF WINNER: One (1) Entrant will be selected by random selection who have subscribed to our email newsletter. The winner may be announced publicly on and will be contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. The winner will be required to provide a mailing address (that is not a P.O. box) to receive the prize which will be shipped free of charge.

6. ODDS OF WINNING: Odds of winning a prize are determined by the total number of eligible entries received.

7. RESTRICTIONS: The prize package consists of one (1) Gift Card with an approximate value of $100.00 USD. If prize cannot be awarded due to circumstances beyond the control of the Sponsor or Prize Supplier, no substitute prize will be awarded due to the unique nature of the prize. Sponsor and Prize Supplier shall not be liable to the winner or any person claiming through winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action(s), regulation(s), order(s) or request(s) by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action(s), regulations(s), order(s) or request(s) prove(s) to be invalid), equipment failure, utility failure, internet failure, terrorist acts, threatened terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond Sponsor's or Prize Supplier's control (collectively, "Force Majeure Event"). Sponsor shall not be responsible for any cancellations, delays, diversions or substitutions or any act or omissions whatsoever by the performers/events, other transportation companies or any other persons providing any of these services and accommodations to passengers including any results thereof such as changes in services or accommodations necessitated by same.

8. CONDITIONS: By entering the Sweepstakes, entrants agree to be bound by the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions and that Sponsor has the irrevocable right to use in perpetuity entrants' names, user names, likenesses, photographs, voices, home mailing address, biographical and prize information, and entry materials, without notice to entrants and without compensation or obligation, in any and all media now or hereafter known throughout the world, in any manner whatsoever, to advertise and promote Sponsor, its products and services, the Sweepstakes, and for any other purpose except where prohibited by law. Entrant waives the right to assert as a cost of winning a prize any and all costs of verification and redemption or travel to redeem said prize and any liability which might arise from redeeming or seeking to redeem said prize. Sponsor is not responsible for fraudulent calls or emails made to entrants not by the Sponsor. If the Sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned by reason of damage by computer viruses, worms or bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical limitations or failures, any Force Majeure Event or any other cause which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, could corrupt, compromise, undermine or otherwise affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, viability or proper conduct of the Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend all or any part of the Sweepstakes, and to select a winner from among all eligible entries received by Sponsor up until the time of such cancellation, termination, modification or suspension, as applicable. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual that (i) tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operations of this Sweepstakes in any manner, (ii) violates the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions or (iii) acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK CIVIL AND/OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND/OR DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. Any expenses and receipt and use of the prize and federal, state and local taxes and fees applicable in connection with the prize awarded are the sole responsibility of the winner. An IRS Form 1099 will be issued in the name of the winner for the actual value of the prize received. This Sweepstakes is subject to all federal, state and local laws of the United States. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Sponsor, Prize Supplier, and their respective officers, directors, parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising and promotion agencies, employees, representatives and agents are not responsible for and shall not be liable for (i) any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by a prize resulting from acceptance, possession or usage of the prize, or (ii) printing, distribution or production errors. Sponsor or its affiliates may rescind any promotion found to contain such errors without liability at its or their sole discretion.

9. SPONSOR: The Sponsor of this contest is VerticalScope Inc. (the owner and operator of, 111 Peter Street, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2H1.

Subscribe to our email newsletter and automatically be entered to win.
*Restrictions apply. See offer for details

Get Breaking Automotive News, Reviews and Video in your Facebook Feed!

Already Liked