Carmel, CA, Sept. 1, 2010 – Best Buddies International, a groundbreaking nonprofit founded in 1989 by Anthony Kennedy Shriver dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) is pleased to announce that First Lady of California Maria Shriver will return as Honorary Chairperson of the Audi Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle. More than 1,500 people are expected to participate in the Challenge -- a charity walk, run and ride to benefit Best Buddies International – on September 11.
The Challenge will kick off with the First Lady’s Reception at Château Julien in Carmel on Friday, September 10. “As Honorary Chair of this extraordinary Challenge, I look forward to leading Team Maria and all the other participants in raising funds and awareness in support of the Best Buddies mission,” said First Lady Maria Shriver. “The Best Buddies Challenge is a one-of-a-kind charity event that has a profound impact on the lives of thousands of people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities.”
On Saturday, September 11, hundreds of cyclists will take to the starting line at Quail Lodge Golf Club for the picturesque 100-mile ride down the Pacific Coast Highway from Carmel to San Simeon. The Challenge, which is open to participants of all ages and abilities and is designed to showcase the Best Buddies mission in action, also features alternative 62, 35 and 15-mile cycling routes, as well as the Carl Lewis Challenge, a 5K run and 3K walk led by the Olympic gold-medalist himself.
Several other celebrities, professional athletes and special guests are expected to participate in the Challenge, including Actors David Hasselhoff, Rob Lowe, and Verne Troyer; Actresses Haley Hasselhoff and Kelly Hu; “Miracle on the Hudson” Hero Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger; Miss California USA Nicole Johnson; Musicians Kenny G and Rex Lewis-Clark; Olympic Gold-Medalist Carl Lewis; “So You Think You Can Dance” Season Five Winner Jeanine Mason; “The Amazing Race” Host Phil Keoghan; Ultramarathoner Dean Karnazes; Freestyle Motocross Rider Larry Linkogle; and Pro-Cyclists Dylan Casey, Linda Jackson, Trent Lowe, Brooke Miller, Larry Nolan, Mike Sinyard, Kurt Stockton, and Bernard Van Ulden, and will be encouraged to team-up with Best Buddies participants to compete in “Friendship Races” on tandem bicycles.
And, this year, in order to celebrate the inspiration, impact, and indomitable spirit of the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Special Olympics founder, long-time Best Buddies supporter and board member – and the inspiration for the tandem races – there will be two new special “Friendship Races” in her honor called the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Mom’s Challenge and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Dad’s Challenge. During these special tandem races, Challenge participants will be invited to team-up with their mothers and fathers to compete for gold, silver and bronze medals.
The Challenge will be capped off by a barbeque and private concert by Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Natasha Bedingfield at Hearst Ranch.
Audi is returning for the fourth year as Title Sponsor of the Challenge. “Audi is honored to once again serve as the title sponsor for such an inspiring and extraordinary event,” said Johan de Nysschen, president of Audi of America. “Since the inception of our partnership with Best Buddies International, we have learned firsthand the impact of events like this one on the lives of those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and helped raise more than $34 million in total donations to support this cause. The Audi Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle holds a special place in our hearts, and we couldn’t be prouder to be here.”
Additional Challenge sponsors include: Anthem Blue Cross, E&J Gallo Winery, Avid, BP, PG & E, CVS/pharmacy, The GEO Group, Pepsi, CSC, Accenture, Carnival Cruise Lines, Fox Entertainment, Freedom Financial, Sabrina Kay Charitable Foundation, FIJI Water, Niche Media, Clear Channel Outdoor, San Francisco Chronicle, KCBS Radio, KPIX-TV, Bicycling Magazine, Château Julien, and Quail Lodge Golf Club.
About Best Buddies International
Best Buddies® is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Founded in 1989 by Anthony K. Shriver, Best Buddies is a vibrant organization that has grown from one original chapter to more than 1,500 middle school, high school, and college chapters worldwide. Today, Best Buddies seven
formal programs — Colleges, High Schools, Middle Schools, Citizens, e-Buddies® , Jobs and Best Buddies Ambassadors — engage participants in 46 countries, positively impacting the lives of 700,000 people with and without disabilities, as well as their respective network of family, friends, and employers. As a result of their involvement with Best Buddies, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities secure rewarding jobs, live on their own, become inspirational leaders, and make lifelong friendships. For more information, please visit www.bestbuddies.org or www.bestbuddieschallenge.org.
Audi of America, Inc. and its 272 U.S. dealers offer a full line of German-engineered luxury vehicles. AUDI AG is among the most successful luxury automotive brands globally. During 2009 Audi outsold all other luxury brands in Europe, while in the U.S. market Audi posted the largest market share gain of any luxury automotive brand. Between 2010 and 2012 the Audi Group is planning to invest around €5.5 billion, mainly in new products, in order to sustain the Company’s technological lead. Visit www.audiusa.com or www.audiusanews.com for more information regarding Audi vehicle and business issues.
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Heather Schatz Jennifer Grau
305-374-2233, ext. 207 305-374-2233, ext. 245