Wow...it is certainly amazing how a second brain can point out the simple things you overlook.
It dawned on me when you asked where the rule was located that there is a special section for rewrite rules in the Drupal htaccess file. I moved the code to the top of the section (there are other URL rewrite rules) and it works!
Additionally, I did add your suggestions as well, but I would like to better understand the logic behind the long list of characters you recommended I add to the rewrite rule. So that I am not taking any more of your time, would you happen to have a reference off the top of your head to which I can further read about the additional code you provided?
Thank you again for all of your help!