Best Buddies International, a nonprofit dedicated to creating opportunities for friendship, employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), is pleased to announce that Steve Hearst and California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom will serve as Honorary Co-Chairs of the 14th Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle presented by Pepsi-Cola.

Journalist and Author Maria Shriver will serve as Honorary Chair Emeritus. More than 2,000 people are expected to participate in the Challenge – a charity walk, run and ride to benefit Best Buddies International – on September 9.

“I take great pride and pleasure in welcoming the Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle presented by Pepsi-Cola back to Hearst Ranch and I am honored to serve as the Honorary Co-Chair for this year’s festivities, said Steve Hearst. “The Hearst Corporation and I maintain an overwhelming sense of community as we welcome Best Buddies to the Ranch again this year. We greatly enjoy our partnership with Best Buddies International and we salute and celebrate all of their milestones and achievements. Best Buddies International’s global volunteer efforts exemplify humanity, unity and dignity, making a positive difference in communities around the world, embodying the true meaning of the word Friendship. I am pleased that year after year, the Ranch has proven to be the perfect venue for this spectacular event. Let’s make this the best and most successful year yet.”

The Challenge kicks-off with the Official Opening Ceremony of the Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle presented by Pepsi-Cola on Friday, September 8 at the Hearst Ranch in San Simeon, CA. Participants, VIPs, sponsors and guests are invited to attend Opening Ceremonies, in which guests will enjoy food, cocktails and other refreshments. The reception will include musical performances and a program led by Best Buddies International Founder and Chairman Anthony K. Shriver, designed to celebrate Best Buddies programs and key supporters.

On Saturday, September 9, hundreds of cyclists will take to the starting line in San Simeon with a world class 100, 60, 30, and 15-mile ride and 5K run or walk hosted by nine-time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis. Participants will make their way through the course, until they arrive at the Finish Line Village at the picturesque Hearst Castle Beach Club. Open to all ages and athletic abilities, participants and supporters ride, run or walk side-by-side with celebrities, professional athletes and notable guests. The Hearst Castle Challenge will be capped off by a barbeque, awards ceremony and live concert by the legendary KC and the Sunshine Band.

Several celebrity supporters, professional athletes and notable guests are scheduled to attend the Challenge, including: Actors Jamie Brewer, Nolan Gould, Jason Lewis, Charlotte McKinney, Lauren Potter, and Patrick Schwarzenegger; professional cyclists George Hincapie and Christian Vande Velde; Dr. Maya Warren, Cold Stone Creamery Tastemaster, Food Scientist and winner of The Amazing Race season 25; Miss California USA 2017 India Williams and Miss California Teen USA 2017 Jaanu Patel.

Challenge sponsors include: Presenting Sponsor, Pepsi-Cola, Official Beverage of Best Buddies Challenges; The Hearst Corporation; Hublot; Chevron Corporation; E. & J. Gallo Winery; Silicon Valley Bank; Capital Dynamics; Carnival Cruise Line; First Solar; The GEO Group Foundation; Natixis Global Asset Management; Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E); Pilot Freight Services; Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits; Testa Catering, Official Caterer of the Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle; BMC Switzerland, Official Bike Sponsor; and The San Francisco Chronicle.

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