CARMEL, Calif., Aug. 19, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Best Buddies International, a nonprofit dedicated to creating opportunities for friendship, employment and leadership training for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, is pleased to announce that author, journalist and activist Maria Shriver and Lieutenant Governor of California Gavin Newsom will return as Honorary Co-Chairs of the 10th Anniversary 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 7.
"What I love about Best Buddies is that it's based on a simple principle -- that each and every one of us needs a friend, needs a job and needs a community, and that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities should be given the opportunity to find all three," said Maria Shriver. "I am so very proud to, once again, be the Honorary Co-Chair of the Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle. I look forward to joining 'Team Maria' members and the other event participants as we celebrate 10 years of riding together to advance the Best Buddies mission."
The event will kick-off with the Best Buddies Golf Challenge at the legendary Tehama Golf Club in Carmel on Friday, September 6. During the Golf Challenge, Best Buddies participants will tee-off alongside celebrities, professional athletes, and special guests. The day will conclude with an evening VIP reception hosted by Maria Shriver, which will also take place at Tehama Golf Club.
On Saturday, September 7, hundreds of cyclists will take to the starting line at Quail Lodge Golf Club for the 100-mile ride down the majestic Pacific Coast Highway from Carmel to San Simeon. The Challenge, which is open to people of all ages and abilities and is designed to showcase the Best Buddies mission in action, also features alternative 62, 30 and 15-mile cycling routes, as well as the Carl Lewis Challenge, a 5K run/walk led by the Olympic gold-medalist himself.
Several other celebrities, professional athletes and special guests are also expected to participate in the Challenge, including: actors Rob Lowe and Verne Troyer; actresses Maureen McCormick, Cheryl Hines, Kelly Hu, and Lauren Potter; "American Idol" Alumni Diana Degarmo and Ace Young; comedian Bill Engvall; and famed pilot of the "Miracle on the Hudson," Captain Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger, III, all of whom will be encouraged to team-up with Best Buddies participants and compete in "Friendship Races" on tandem bicycles.
The Challenge will be capped off by a barbeque, awards ceremony and concert by Don Felder, formerly of the Eagles, at Hearst Ranch.
Audi of America will once again return as the Official Vehicle sponsor of the event. Additional Challenge sponsors include: The Hearst Corporation; Tupperware; Chevron; Pepsi; E. & J. Gallo Winery; Avid; Arco; Zenith Watches; Carnival Cruise Lines; FIJI Water, Official Water of Best Buddies; Natixis Global Asset Management; Pacific Gas & Electric; 20th Century Fox; Electus; Classic Party Rentals; Pilot Freight Services; Niche Media, Premiere Magazine Sponsor of Best Buddies; KPIX; San Francisco Chronicle; Getty Images, Official Photography Sponsor of Best Buddies; and Silicon Valley Bank.
Additionally, Best Buddies is receiving the support of the Honorary Ambassador Committee, whose members are helping to promote not only the event, but also inclusion for individuals with disabilities. Committee members include: California Assembly Member Tom Ammiano; California Assembly Member Connie Conway; California State Senator Mark DeSaulnier; California State Senator Ted Gaines; Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson; San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee; and California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.
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 almost 1,500 middle school, high school, and college chapters worldwide. Today, Best Buddies' eight formal programs —Middle Schools, High Schools, Colleges, Citizens, e-Buddies®, Jobs, Ambassadors, and Promoters — engage participants in each of the 50 states and in 50 countries, positively impacting the lives of nearly 700,000 people with and without disabilities around the world. 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, facebook.com/bestbuddies or twitter.com/bestbuddies.
SOURCE Best Buddies International