Committee raises 85K for Amgen

More volunteers, sponsors needed, media director says
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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The 2011 Amgen Tour of California is coming up fast, and Auburn is gearing up for the May 17 Stage 3 start. According to Auburn Police Capt. John Ruffcorn, the city should expect anywhere from 10,000 to 25,000 people on the day of the event. “In the interactions that I have had with city businesses as well as city residents, I think they are still kind of unsure, as we are, about how many people are going to be here,” Ruffcorn said. “However, the majority of people I’ve come across are excited about the event.” According to Elizabeth Sands, media director for Auburn’s local organizing committee, 160 volunteers have already signed up to help with race day and the events leading up to it. “We have ancillary events before the race that we welcome and need volunteers for,” Sands said. “(We need) volunteers to assist with maintaining the race circuit, helping direct the crowds, playing various liaison rolls (between the committee) and Amgen, and we still are looking for volunteers that want to help in the pre-event planning.” Ron Schwab, sponsorship director for the committee, said the event has about 20 sponsors throughout the city so far and is looking for as many as it can get. Schwab said through cash sponsorships and in-kind donations, the committee has raised about $85,000. “I think the energy is definitely going well,” Schwab said. “There is definitely a buzz and people are really getting excited about it. And I think the benefit overall is to A: have a fun event for our local community, and B: it’s an excellent opportunity for people to come into Auburn and discover it and spend money.” Bill Marengo, owner of Bicycle Emporium in Auburn, said the days leading up to the race would also be filled with fun activities for residents. “We have got so many events planned that start with the party that we’re putting together at the fairgrounds on the second of April, that’ll be the kick off,” Marengo said “I think it will be great. It’s like an adrenaline rush the day of the event … and then it will be up to us to see what kind of venue we can put up to keep people in town.” Upcoming events include a Bike Auburn fundraising dinner April 2 at the Gold Country Fairgrounds, a Sutter Auburn Foundation Criterium May 1 in Downtown Auburn, a Bike Fest May 7 at E.V. Cain Charter Middle School, a Stage 3 Gold Country Century Ride and Family Festival May 14 at Recreation Park and a Vino Vello Benefit Gala May 15 at Winchester Country Club. The May 17 Stage 3 festivities start at 8 a.m. with a Lifestyle Festival in Central Square. The race is scheduled to start at approximately 10:15 a.m. Brad Weston, owner of Auburn Printers, a sponsor for the event, said the race would be a great way to let other communities know about Auburn. “It’s one of the most prestigious races on the west coast,” Weston said. “And obviously it’s a feather in the cap to Auburn to be able to have the stage start here, and run through Downtown and help expose our community to the outside.” Ruffcorn said Amgen is the perfect way to show off the city on a large scale. “We’re planning a wonderful event, and I think it’s really time for the city of Auburn to shine on an international level,” he said. Reach Bridget Jones at ------------------------------------------------------ Amgen Tour of California For information, to volunteer or sponsor: Visit