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WOMEN’S CHALLENGE SEEKS NEW SPONSORSHIP IN 2003

courtesy of HP WOMEN’S CHALLENGE

BOISE, Idaho, June 24, 2002 — Organizers of the HP Women’s Challenge
announced today that new sponsorship is being sought to keep world-class
women’s cycling in Idaho. Hewlett-Packard has announced that it will not
extend its title sponsorship of the Women’s ’s Challenge cycling race beyond
2002. Hewlett-Packard had been the presenting sponsor since 1997. The 2002
race concluded yesterday after Germany’s Judith Arndt of Team Saturn won
the nine-stage 543-mile race through much of central and southern Idaho
from June 15-23. See all race results and photos at
http://www.womenschallenge.com.


“Hewlett-Packard has been an incredible sponsor of the Women’s
Challenge”, said Jim Rabdau, race founder and director. “We couldn’t have
taken this race to its prestigious international status without HP’s
involvement”, Rabdau said.


Hewlett-Packard officials explained that the decision to end their
sponsorship was based on changing corporate sponsorship strategies and was
not based on the merits of the Women’s Challenge itself.


“The Women’s Challenge is a World-Class event that is the Tour de
France’ of women’s cycling in the U.S.,” said Doug Cole, HP Brand
Sponsorships Manager. “It’s flawlessly executed every year and will
continue to be a tremendous sponsorship opportunity for those looking to
support the achievements of extraordinary athletes”.


Race director Jim Rabdau acknowledged that each year’s race
benefits from the in-kind and cash contributions of sponsors from
communities across Idaho. Several of the Women’s Challenge current sponsors
are continuing their sponsorship, but more are needed.


“We are grateful for the continued commitment of our sponsors and
volunteers. We are restructuring our sponsorship levels in order to broaden
and supplement our current levels of support”, Rabdau said.
The sponsorship restructuring includes Title, Platinum, Gold,
Silver and Bronze sponsorship levels. The Women’s Challenge office will
determine actual sponsorship level amounts later this week and begin
informing potential sponsors. A nine-day UCI sanctioned race requires a
full year of preparation and approximately $600,000 plus in-kind donations.


A non-profit organization, Women’s Challenge is funded solely by
contributions from sponsors and hundreds of volunteers. Organizers
expressed confidence that the new sponsorship structure will maintain if
not exceed the reputation of the Women’s Challenge, but they are concerned
about the urgent need to quickly establish a new sponsorship base.


“We really need to have a pretty good indication of our sponsorship
status by the end of July”, said Rabdau. The sooner we establish
relationships with our sponsors, the better off we’ll be for producing
another high-caliber race”.
Rabdau himself said he is committed to organizing another
world-class event for the 20th anniversary of the Women’s Challenge in
2003. The brainchild of the event that started 19 years ago, Rabdau and his
staff have achieved the status of producing the best stage race for women
in the world.


Idaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne and Boise Mayor Brent Coles gave
their support for the Women’s Challenge and urged the state’s businesses
and individuals to continue doing the same. In a prepared statement,
Governor Kempthorne noted how the state has benefited from the economic and
social value of the Women’s Challenge these past 19 years.


“The Women’s Challenge has become an important part of Idaho in the
summertime,” Governor Kempthorne said. “It’s brought the world to our state
and given Idahoans a chance to marvel at the athleticism, devotion and
dedication of Olympic and World Champions. It’s inspired countless Idahoans
to strive to be their best. The Women’s Challenge has brought tremendous
national and international attention to our wonderful state and has helped
promote a positive image of Idaho to the world.”


Mayor Coles remarked that Boise and Idaho’s other cities and towns
have greatly benefited from the traveling caravan of 300 people that rolls
into town on race days.


“This is not just any bike race,” said the Mayor. “This is a
one-of-a kind event that was made for Idaho’s cities and towns. Boise is
particularly proud to host the Women’s Challenge, an event that our
citizens fondly look forward to seeing every year. I encourage everyone’s
continued support so that this legendary event may grace our streets for
years to come,” he added.


For more information about Women’s Challenge sponsorship
opportunities, contact Susan Saad at hpwcmedia@mindspring.com or call
208-672-7223 or 208-631-1657.





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