CARMEL, Calif., Aug. 20, 2014 /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 journalist and activist Maria Shriver and Lieutenant Governor of California Gavin Newsom will return as Honorary Co-Chairs of the 11th 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 6.
"I am so incredibly proud that the Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle is in its 11th year, and thrilled to serve as Honorary Co-Chair once again," said Maria Shriver. "Best Buddies is such an important organization because of its work to support individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities through friendship, employment and leadership roles. I'm very excited to join 'Team Maria' as we celebrate 11 years of advancement in the Best Buddies and IDD community. Let's ride forward together!"
The event will kick-off with the Maria Shriver VIP Reception at Clint Eastwood's legendary Tehama Golf Club in Carmel on Friday, September 5. During the Reception, honored guests will enjoy the finest California culinary creations and wines. The reception will conclude with music and a small program designed to celebrate key supporters and Best Buddies programs.
On Saturday, September 6, 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, 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 live concert by Bruce Hornsby and the Noise Makers at Hearst Ranch.
Audi of America will once again return as the Official Vehicle sponsor of the event. Additional Challenge sponsors include: Emerson Collective; The Hearst Corporation; Chevron; Pepsi; E. & J. Gallo Winery; Tesoro; 20th Century Fox; Carnival Cruise Lines; Don List; Hiro Yamagata; Pacific Gas & Electric; Natixis Global Asset Management; FIJI Water, Official Water of Best Buddies; Pilot Freight Services; Cannondale, Official Bike Sponsor; Goorin Bros; Niche Media, Premiere Magazine Sponsor of Best Buddies; Bicycling Magazine; 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: State Senator Anthony Cannella; Assembly Member Connie Conway; State Senator Ted Gaines; Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti; Mayor of Sacramento Kevin Johnson; Mayor of San Francisco Ed Lee; California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom; Assembly Member Henry Perea; California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson; and Assembly Member Mariko Yamada.
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 1,700 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 over 50 countries, positively impacting the lives of more than 800,000 people with and without disabilities around the world. In many cases, 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