Miss USA, Other Contestants Featured At Charity Tourney

OCEAN CITY – Nine Miss USA pageant contestants including Miss USA 2007 Rachel Smith will be in the resort area next week to host the “Birdies on the Beach” charitable golf tournament and actually caddy for some lucky teams.

The “Birdies by the Beach” charity golf challenge, benefiting the Best Buddies Maryland program, is coming to the Ocean City Golf Club next week and will feature at least nine Miss USA pageant representatives on hand to serve as caddies during the event, including Smith, who won the contest this year as Miss Tennessee. Other Miss USA representatives committed to the event already are Miss Maryland Michae Holloman; Miss Rhode Island Danielle Lacourse, who was first runner-up in the 2007 pageant; Miss New York Gloria Sophia Almonte; Miss Ohio Anna Melomud; Miss Pennsylvania Samantha Johnson; Miss Washington D.C. Mercedes Lindsey; Miss Virginia Lauren Barnette; and Miss West Virginia Kasey Montgomery.

The golf tournament will benefit Best Buddies Maryland, a non-profit organization whose purpose is to seek meaningful one-on-one friendships between students with intellectual disabilities and their non-disabled peers. The friendships provide growth, understanding and acceptance for students with disabilities as well as their families as they witness positive changes in their child’s attitudes and behaviors.

Best Buddies International was founded in 1989 and Best Buddies Maryland was formed in 1994. The state affiliate oversees 84 middle school, high school and college chapters throughout Maryland pairing over 3,000 intellectually disabled individuals with their non-disabled classmates.

“In many high schools and middle schools, students with intellectual disabilities are still segregated from their non-disabled peers,” said Christian Metzger of Best Buddies Maryland. “Their classrooms are secluded in a special part of the school, they eat lunch on their own in the cafeteria and they do not have the same opportunities to participate in recreational activities with students without disabilities.”

Metzger said the worthy beneficiary of the tournament coupled with the chance to meet the Miss USA delegates presents the perfect opportunity to play in the tournament while contributing to a great cause.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for anyone to enjoy a day of golf and not feel guilty about taking the afternoon off to play,” he said. “People are helping to raise awareness and funds that affect thousands of children and adults with intellectual disabilities all are the state and are having fun doing it.”

The event kicks off next Sunday, June 24, with a special VIP party with the pageant girls at Fish Tales in Bahia Marina from 7-10 p.m. followed by a “meet and greet” with the Miss USA delegates at Seacrets from 9:30 p.m. to midnight.

The tournament is scheduled for Monday, June 25 at the Ocean City Golf Club in South Point. The event gets started with registration and refreshments from 10-11 a.m. with a shot-gun start beginning at 11 a.m. The action on the course will be followed by post event reception and party featuring live music.

Best Buddies Maryland is looking for event sponsors on several levels from a title sponsor and presenting sponsor to gold level sponsor all the way down to individual hole and tee sponsors and golf cart sponsors. Depending on the level of sponsorship commitment, the Miss USA pageant representatives will be available as caddies throughout the tournament.

For more information, about participating in the charity event as a golfer and/or a sponsor, contact Christian Metzger and Best Buddies Maryland at 410-327-9812, or email golfregistration@bestbuddies.org.

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