Fireball Run Adventurally Executive Producer J Sanchez, center, talks about the cause of missing children, one of the event’s focuses, during a Tuesday press conference to announce Alamosa as a host city for the 2013 run. At right is Alamosa Mayor Kathy Rogers. At left are Fireball Line Producer Casey D’Albor, and Tasha Cooney at the camera.
Courier photo by Ruth Heide
ALAMOSA — Alamosa will have the opportunity this fall to make a fabulous first impression when the popular on-line series “Fireball Run Adventurally” comes to town.
Running since 2007 and with 1.7 million viewers worldwide, the series produced from Universal Studios has chosen Alamosa as one of its stops in the 2013 season featuring the theme “All Stars & Movie Cars.” The 40 participating teams, business owners who include millionaires and celebrities, will arrive in Alamosa on Sunday, Sept. 22, and leave for their next stop in New Mexico the following day.
“We couldn’t be happier they chose Alamosa as one of their stops,” said Alamosa Mayor Kathy Rogers who welcomed representatives of the show yesterday in Alamosa when “Fireball” officially announced Alamosa as part of its 2013 route.
“It’s going to be so exciting to have them here and welcome them,” Rogers added. “I want them to have a hero’s welcome.”
One of the goals of the annual “Fireball” road trip is to highlight children who are missing and help locate them. Each team carries flyers featuring specific missing children and distributes them along the 2,500-mile route over eight days in 14 cities. So far, “Fireball” has been influential in the recovery of 38 missing children, according to Executive Producer J. Sanchez who was present yesterday for the Alamosa press conference.
He recounted an instance where a woman received one of the “Fireball” missing children posters while in Florida, brought it back with her to the state of Washington where she worked as a social worker and alerted authorities there that she recognized the youngsters in the poster as coming in with their mother for food assistance. Taken by their mother who had been denied custody because of drug addiction, the children had been missing for a year and a half.
Sanchez said the cause is one of the reasons business leaders participate in the Fireball Run. They also enjoy the friendly competition, the challenges and the chance to travel to parts of the country they would never see otherwise, like Alamosa.
Sanchez described the event as a life-sized trivia game “for big kids.” Teams receive points for completing tasks assigned them along the route, and not every team receives the same mission, Sanchez explained.
For example, in a segment he shared from the 2012 run, “Fireball Run Adventurally Northern Exposure,” that will be released the end of May, teams had to complete such tasks as being photographed with the first campaign button or first comic book, helping sort baby chicks at a hatchery and performing Buddy Holly tunes.
All of the “Fireball” participants are successful businessmen and women, whether it is Astronaut Jon McBride, Wakeboard World Champion Tarah Mikacich, Full Throttle Kustomz Owner/Car Warriors Co-Host Ray McClelland or former Marvel Comics President and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame President Terry Stewart.
Sanchez said these are Type A personalities who get in a jet like other people get in a car to travel, but during the Fireball Run “they choose to see the real America, get in their cars and drive.”
Participants must be business owners. One of the teams this year consists of Tupperware ladies, but these ladies make $15 million a year. Sanchez encouraged Alamosa to get a team together.
Sanchez stressed this is not a reality show. It is entertaining and even educational, he explained.
“These are real people on a real journey,” he said.
Teams will start the 2013 run in Longmont on September 20 and conclude it on September 28 in Riverside, Calif., with a typical Hollywood-style red-carpet finish. In addition to Alamosa, the route will include two cities in New Mexico, two in Arizona and two in California.
Sanchez said Alamosa was selected because it represents the “quintessential Colorado.” Team missions here, for example, will undoubtedly include the train.
“We are going to celebrate the uniqueness that is Alamosa,” he said.
Although the Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve is too far from town to be incorporated into the Alamosa stop, production staff went to the dunes early Tuesday morning with Alamosa Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Jamie Greeman for local footage that will be included in the show. Greeman was responsible for attracting “Fireball” to Alamosa.
Sanchez shared some of the ways the event will benefit the local community economically. For example, teams earn points by spending at least $250 in each of the communities along the Fireball Run route and more points for joining the local chambers of commerce.
Sanchez said teams are encouraged to continue to invest in the communities they visit.
“Fireball” also supports a nonprofit of the mayor’s choice in each community. Mayor Rogers said the local Boys & Girls Club will be the “Fireball” beneficiary in Alamosa.
In other communities where “Fireball” has been, computers and books have been donated to youth programs. Team members receive points for helping with these projects, Sanchez explained. For example, teams received a point per book up to 30 points for donating children’s books at one location, with the one donating the most books receiving the keys to the city. Teams literally provided truckloads of books for the city, with the winner buying 1,000 books and receiving the keys to the city.
Sanchez said “Fireball” is family-oriented and entertaining, with team members who would otherwise rarely sign autographs taking the time in host cities to pose for photographs and sign autographs.
“It’s going to be big,” Sanchez said.
“This is going to be an amazing event in Alamosa,” Rogers said. “We are going to be so hospitable they will never forget us.”