First Lady of California Maria Shriver Kicks-off Volvo Hearst Castle Challenge for Best Buddies International

Ride Expected to Raise $3 Million for Programs Benefiting People With

Intellectual Disabilities

Jul 15, 2004, 01:00 ET from Best Buddies International

    LOS ANGELES, July 15 /PRNewswire/ -- First Lady of California and Honorary
 Chairperson Maria Shriver today kicked-off Best Buddies International's first
 annual California sports fundraiser -- the Volvo Hearst Castle Challenge
 (VHCC).  Backed by Volvo Cars of North America and expected to raise more than
 $3 million for Best Buddies programs, the Challenge will be held October 16
 and features a premier 100-mile bike trek from Carmel to Hearst Castle, plus
 companion 15-mile and 45-mile rides.
     "It gives me great pleasure to support the Volvo Hearst Castle Challenge
 and Best Buddies," said First Lady Maria Shriver.  "With 160 vibrant
 volunteer-based chapters operating in California, Best Buddies programs
 positively impact more than 30,000 participants in this state alone."
     Ms. Shriver and brother Anthony K. Shriver, founder of Best Buddies, plus
 celebrity supporters Fabio, actresses Thora Birch and Penelope Anne Miller,
 actors Ron Moss (The Bold and the Beautiful) and Mathew St. Patrick (Six Feet
 Under) launched the VHCC today at the Brentwood School in Los Angeles with a
 press event and Friendship Ride that included three laps around an adjacent
 track.  Celebrities mounted tandem bikes and paired with a Best Buddies person
 with intellectual disabilities.
     Anthony K. Shriver said, "The participation of celebrities riding on
 tandem bikes with people with intellectual disabilities makes for a truly
 unique experience.  Friendship Rides allow the community to directly
 appreciate the physical and intellectual capacities that buddies possess,
 while providing a great forum where anyone can participate."
     Volvo Cars of North America, a headline sponsor for the Heart Castle
 Challenge, is sending riders in October.  Vic Doolan, president and CEO, Volvo
 Cars of North America, said, "Best Buddies is becoming a significant and
 positive force within our local communities.  We are delighted to build upon
 our relationship with best Buddies and participate in the is important ride."
     Sponsors of the Volvo Hearst Castle Challenge include Volvo Cars of North
 America, Pepsi, Clear Channel, the San Francisco Chronicle, Pacific
 Gas & Electric, British Petroleum and the Ron Burkle Foundation.
     Photos from today, plus complete event details and online registration are
 available at and
 Click on Press Room link.
     Best Buddies is a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the lives
 of people with intellectual disabilities by providing them with one-to-one
 friendship and integrated employment opportunities.

SOURCE Best Buddies International