Press Release

August 16, 2011

Challenge Yourself To Change Lives at the

8th Audi Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle

  • Maria Shriver and Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom to serve as Honorary Co-Chairs
  • More than 1,500 people to participate in charity walk, run and ride benefiting Best Buddies International

Carmel, CA, August 16, 2011 Best Buddies International, a nonprofit dedicated to creating opportunities for friendship, employment and leadership training for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), is pleased to announce that author, journalist and activist Maria Shriver and California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom will serve as Honorary Co-Chairs 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 10.

“As Honorary Co-Chair of the Audi Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle, I look forward to joining Team Maria members and the other event participants as we raise funds and awareness in support of the Best Buddies mission, which is so near and dear to my heart,” said Maria Shriver.  “Best Buddies has a profound impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities, and I am honored to not only be affiliated with such a life-changing organization, but also to be leading a team that has raised more money than any other in this event’s history.”

In addition to Lieutenant Governor Newsom, Tom Torlakson, California Superintendent of Public Instruction; Senator Kevin de León, 22nd Senate District; Senator Mark DeSaulnier, 7th Senate District; Assemblymember Nathan Fletcher, 75th Assembly District; Senator Ted Gaines, 1st Senate District; Senator Michael J. Rubio, 16th Senate District; and Mayor Kevin Johnson, City of Sacramento, have graciously agreed to join the Challenge’s Political Ambassador Committee to help promote not only the event, but also inclusion for individuals with IDD.

The Challenge will kick off with the Best Buddies Golf Challenge at Clint Eastwood’s legendary Tehama Golf Club in Carmel on Friday, September 9.  During the Golf Challenge, Best Buddies participants will tee-off alongside celebrities, professional athletes and special guests.  The day will conclude with an evening reception hosted by Maria Shriver, which will also take place at Tehama Golf Club.

On Saturday, September 10, hundreds of cyclists will take to the starting line at Quail Lodge Golf Club for the majestic 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, 30 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 also expected to participate in the Challenge, including actors Harry Hamlin and Verne Troyer; actresses Teri Hatcher, Cheryl Hines, Kelly Hu, Lauren Potter, and Lisa Rinna; and television personality Nancy O’Dell, all of whom will be encouraged to compete in Friendship Races on tandem bicycles.  This year, there will be a special Friendship Race in honor of the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver and Sargent Shriver called the Family Challenge, during which participants will be invited to compete with their mothers and fathers for gold, silver and bronze medals.

The Challenge will be capped off by a barbeque and private concert by Smash Mouth at Hearst Ranch.  During the festivities, Ken Wilcox, the CEO of SVB Financial Group and Silicon Valley Bank, will be presented with the “Spirit of Leadership” award.  The “Spirit of Leadership” award is Best Buddies’ highest accolade and is presented to individuals who have shown great leadership, generosity and spirit in supporting the Best Buddies mission.

Audi is returning for the fifth year as Title Sponsor of the Challenge.  “Audi is proud to partner with Best Buddies International and serve as the title sponsor of this event as we continue to focus on social responsibility within our company,” said Johan de Nysschen, President, Audi of America.  “Since the inception of our partnership in 2007, we have helped Best Buddies raise close to U.S. $40 million in total donations, and we are excited to have our Audi cycling team return for another year.”

Additional Challenge sponsors include: PG&E, E. & J. Gallo Winery, Pepsi, BP, CVS Caremark, Avid, Anthem Blue Cross, Fox Entertainment, Brett Overman, Carnival Cruise Line, Chevron, FIJI Water, Rabobank, UBS, Specialized, Clear Channel, San Francisco Chronicle, KPIX, and Bicycling Magazine.

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’ seven formal programs – Middle Schools, High Schools, Colleges, Citizens, e-Buddies® , Jobs and Ambassadors – 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 or

About Audi

Audi of America, Inc. and its U.S. dealers offer a full line of German-engineered luxury vehicles. AUDI AG is among the most successful luxury automotive brands globally. During 2010 Audi was the top performing luxury brand in Europe, and broke all-time company sales records in the U.S. Over the next few years, AUDI AG will invest nearly $16 billion on new products and technologies. Visit or for more information regarding Audi vehicle and business issues.


To participate in the Challenge:

Michael Collins

To become a Challenge sponsor:

Kelly Schultz
831-261-9270 (m)

For media inquiries, including requests for credentials (please note, space is limited):

Heather Schatz
305-374-2233, ext. 207

Jennifer Hanlon
305-374-2233, ext. 245

Filed under: News, Press

Team Maria is powered by friends, family, and these fantastic companies!

web design by BKB Design Group, Sacramento, CA