Friday, July 06, 2007

Oakland Raiders Golf Tourney Benefits Special Olympics

PLEASANTON, Calif. — The Oakland Raiders (Raiders) raised more than $200,000 for Special Olympics Northern California as part of the 2nd Annual Raiders Golf Classic June 14 at Castlewood Country Club in Pleasanton. More than 300 golfers were paired with Oakland Raiders players, legends and coaches to play a round of golf and celebrate the achievements of local Special Olympics athletes. Proceeds from this year's event will help underwrite costs associated with the Special Olympics Northern California Summer Games, which were held earlier this month for more than 1,000 athletes at UC Berkeley.

“This has been a wonderful partnership for an even greater cause — we are happy to help the Special Olympics make a difference in the community," said Artie Gigantino, senior administrator for the Oakland Raiders.

This year's event, presented by Preferred Financial, included giveaways and contests on almost every hole, such as longest drive, hole-in-one, accuracy drive, and longest putt. While making their way through the 18-hole course, golfers enjoyed food and beverages, received Raiders-signed memorabilia, and were encouraged by the Raiderettes. Raider legends Jim Plunkett, Ted Hendricks, Tim Brown and Daryle Lamonica, as well as new Raiders head coach Lane Kiffin, served as celebrity captains on the foursomes. Rookie quarterback JaMarcus Russell also came out to pay a special visit.

"Anything I can do to come out and give back to the community, I'm willing to do," said Russell, who was attending his first Raiders Golf Classic after being drafted no. 1 by the Raiders in April. "God bless (the Special Olympics athletes) and our best wishes go out to (them) to better themselves."

The Raiders Golf Classic is part of a three-year partnership between the Raiders and Special Olympics Northern California.

Special Olympics Northern California provides free, year-round sports training and competition in a variety of Olympic-style sports for individuals ages 8-80 with developmental disabilities. In Northern California, more than 15,000 athletes compete in 19 sports.

This annual event and its proceeds can help the Special Olympics Northern California reach out to more than 300,000 kids and adults with developmental disabilities in its service area and help the organization continue to make its programs available for free to special athletes and their families. It's a great touch to see professional athletes working with the amazing special athletes.

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