Charity Golf Challenge Will Feature Miss USA Contestants

OCEAN CITY – Around this time last year, two events going
on simultaneously brought national exposure to the resort area including a CBS
golf reality show and a visit to Ocean City by many of the Miss USA pageant
contestants, and while those events did not return this year, there is an
upcoming event planned that will combine the best attributes of the two.

The “Birdies by the Beach” charity golf challenge,
benefiting the Best Buddies Maryland program, is coming to the Ocean City Golf
Club in June and will feature at least eight Miss USA pageant representatives
on hand to serve as caddies during the event. Miss USA representatives from
eight states have already committed to the tournament and event organizers
remain hopeful Miss USA 2007 herself, Rachel Smith, who won the contest as Miss
Tennessee, will be serve as hostess for the charity event.

Among the 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 in Ocean City 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, who is organizing the Birdies
at the Beach tournament in Ocean City. “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.”

The Birdies on the Beach tournament is scheduled for 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 including the Fuzzy Bunny Slippers. There will
also be auctions, silent auctions and other giveaways and prizes.

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.

organizers are also starting to open registration for golfers and/or teams of
golfers, again with the Miss USA girls on hand to be available as caddies. 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 [email protected]