Everyone knows the trademark GEICO Gecko®, but the company has another noteworthy mascot: a 50-foot racing boat known as Miss GEICO, which serves as a sporting reminder that the insurer also covers boats, yachts and personal watercraft. The 3,300-horsepower boat participates annually in a variety of events nationwide.
Rusty and Dusty Ward are the team of twins who manage Miss GEICO’s crew, including lead driver Marc Granet, Scott Begovitch, Gary Stray, Scott Colton and Gary Goodell. Together they form the largest offshore racing team in competition, and they’ve brought home eight world titles and victories in more than 100 individual races.
GEICO has made a statement in the boating arena with the company’s trademark verve. On board at every port are the twins, the official ambassadors for the vessel. As spokespeople go, they couldn’t be a better fit: The two grew up sailing on a lake in South Carolina near their home—also a working farm, which helped them form their strong work ethic. “We did everything, so we’re used to hard work and getting things done,” says Rusty.
Throughout the events, Rusty and Dusty are busy unloading the hauler, testing the equipment and making sure Miss GEICO has been transported safely. Their fans are just as dedicated: Rusty, Dusty and the team open up the dry pits to show off the boat and take pictures with their devoted following—all while promoting GEICO. “People go a little crazy, but it’s easy to support GEICO when we have insurance on our trucks, trailers, motorcycles, Jet Skis and boats,” says Dusty. His brother agrees. “We’re always talking about GEICO,” Rusty says, “whether it’s their insurance products or their great employees.”
By Cindi Cook
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Miss GEICO To Be Featured In The Smithsonian Institution
Question: Which emblem of the GEICO story will soon make it into the revered halls of the Smithsonian Institution? Perhaps the Gecko, or possibly Caleb the Camel, might first come to mind. Interestingly enough, it’s Miss GEICO, our sponsored off-shore racing boat, that takes the prized spot as GEICO’s first artifact to make it into the nation’s museum.
The speed boat’s model was recently finished and sent off to the Smithsonian to begin its isolation period for the next several months, which will ensure it’s safe to be placed among other artifacts. The official induction ceremony is slated to take place in January 2020 with the unveiling of the newest exhibit at the National Air and Space Museum.
The 136-scale model of the boat took approximately 18 months to build, and it was built by none other than the crew chief engineer, Gary Stray. A laser image of the boat was first captured to make sure the model was acutely accurate, and then Stray took to the painstaking work of ensuring every piece was in place. While the model can’t reach top speeds of 220 mph as its real-life counterpart can, it is a 100% exact replica – down to the turbine engines, the control gear and all.
Over the past 12 years, there have been various versions of Miss GEICO, but this current version is arguably the sharpest looking of them all. With its bright yellow hull emblazed with a border of metallic blue and finished off with bright red accents, the boat, and now its replica, are not easily ignored.
“We’re honored that a piece of GEICO will be preserved within the nation’s history for many generations to come,” said Vince Giampietro, senior marketing manager. “Miss GEICO not only leads the competition on the water, but now also in the history books too.”
A sneak peek of the Miss GEICO model before its 2020 induction into the Smithsonian.
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