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. (Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20040715/LATH120) "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 www.bestbuddies.org and www.volvohearstcastlechallenge.org. 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. www.bestbuddies.org.
SOURCE Best Buddies International