This 2012 Mini Cooper Baker Street Limited Edition will be given away in a raffle Saturday, Oct. 6 during the Seminole High School band’s annual Seminole Sound Spectacular event at the SHS football stadium.
Photo by JACK ROWLAND
The car’s interior features cloth and leather seats, a leather steering wheel and special “Baker Street” lettering around a chrome line interior package.
SEMINOLE – A passing conversation between a member of the Seminole High School band boosters and a former SHS drum major has resulted in what could be the largest fundraiser for the band’s trip to the 2013 Tournament of Roses Parade.
Roger Fox, an investment counselor who doubles as corporate sponsorship chair for the boosters, and Jack Rowland, a 1980 SHS graduate who was drum major his senior year, brainstormed an effort to organize a raffle for a 2012 Mini Cooper Baker Street Limited Edition that will be given away Saturday, Oct. 6 during the band’s annual Seminole Sound Spectacular event at the SHS football stadium.
If successful in selling all 4,000 of the $25 tickets, the effort will result in a net profit of about $74,000 for the boosters.
All funds will be used to help defray the cost of sending the Warhawk Marching Band to the Rose Parade Jan. 1 in Pasadena, Calif.
With 120 to 130 students making the trip at a cost of about $2,000 each, the need to raise a large sum is important.
“I came up with the idea,” said Fox. “I was kind of thinking out loud and discussed it with (band director) Chip Wood. I said we just raised a large amount to go to the Macy’s (Thanksgiving Day Parade, November 2010) and people in the community may not be able to help fund this with such a quick turnaround. I said we need to think bigger.”
Fox said something exciting was needed and Wood gave him the green light to move ahead.
“I first tried to approach Honda because they’re the sponsors of the Rose Parade, but they couldn’t do it,” said Fox. “I talked to a few other auto dealerships and nothing worked out.”
Rowland, a former photographer and photo director for the Tampa Bay Times, had recently joined the sales team at Mini of Wesley Chapel.
“I mentioned the (the car raffle concept) to Jack and then, jokingly a few weeks later I asked him ‘how’s that new car coming along?’”
Rowland took the passing comment to heart and approached his boss, Malcolm Cheek, the general manager of the Wesley Chapel dealership.
Cheek gave his approval and Rowland went to work ordering the car in early June.
“I decided ‘let’s go for one of (three) special editions,’” said Rowland. “I configured the car with special paint and stripes, a leather and cloth interior, upgraded the stereo system and added a keyless entry system that allows you to start the car by pushing one button.”
As a longtime Mini Cooper enthusiast and the owner of three Minis, Rowland was the perfect person for the job.
After assembly began in Oxfordshire, England, the sparkling black and gray vehicle was delivered to the dealership on July 26.
The Baker Street edition, named for the address of fictional British detective Sherlock Holmes, features a 121-horsepower engine, a six-speed automatic transmission, air conditioning, black 16-inch twin-spoke alloy wheels, an on-board computer, leather steering wheel, a chrome exterior package, front fog lamps and more. The car also gets good fuel efficiency (28 miles per gallon in the city, 36 mpg highway).
“Minis are very popular for raffles,” said Rowland. “They’re the kind of car that is a fun car to drive and it’s a car that is still relatively unique.”
Once Rowland and Fox worked out a deal for the car (the boosters will pay dealer cost), there was the issue of getting the approval of Pinellas County Schools for the boosters to run a raffle.
“According to the School Board Redbook policy, we thought we had room to work within the guidelines,” said Fox. “We just couldn’t wait for approval.”
So the boosters approached the Kiwanis Club of Seminole to run the raffle.
After some initial discussion, the club agreed to handle the sales of the tickets and open a bank account in the booster club’s name to handle the revenue stream.
“So far, the results have been very positive,” said Dave Kinsey, a past president of the Kiwanis club and liaison to the band boosters. “I just put $3,900 in the bank the other day. We’re thinking this is going to be a big success.”
In addition to the drawing for the car, the boosters plan to have drawings for as many as seven or eight additional gifts on Oct. 6. So far those items include a diamond pendant valued at $2,800 and a one-week stay at a Cape Cod timeshare.
“So, in the event you don’t win the car, there’s the possibility of winning one of these other prizes,” Fox said.
Should all 4,000 tickets not sell out, Fox said the revenue raised would be used for a 50/50 raffle. The key figure is 2,100 tickets sold.
“If we have not sold 2,100 by the drawing date, we don’t have to pay the dealership for the car,” said Fox. “The dealership has a hold harmless clause in the agreement and would take the car back, no questions asked. They’d be able to sell it in a few days.
“So if we sell 2,000 tickets, we would have a 50/50 based on $50,000,” Fox said.
In the event 3,000 tickers are sold and $75,000 in revenue is raised, the boosters will still net about $50,000 after the cost of the car.
In the meantime, Fox said the car will be on display at some tentative band functions in the area, including a proposed Spirit Night sometime in September at the Cali Shack, 8595 Seminole Blvd. Details on that one are still being worked out.
The car also can be seen at the dealership in Wesley Chapel, located at the intersection of State Road 56 and Interstate 75.
For information on purchasing a raffle ticket, call 481-5419.