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ESPN headed to Hood River

SportsCenter will broadcast live coverage

of the 2005 U.S. Windsurfing Nationals

on July 26

By ADAM LAPIERRE

News staff writer

July 23, 2005

On July 26, ESPN’s SportsCenter will broadcast live from the grass of the Hood River Event Site, as it covers the U.S. Windsurfing Nationals taking place from July 25-30.

A summer special titled “SportsCenter Across America” will bring ESPN to 50 states in 50 days— from July 17 to Sept. 4— covering events ranging from a Yankees vs. Red Sox game in Boston, the PGA Tour Buick Open in Grand Blanc, Mich., and the Summer X Games in Los Angeles, to the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics in Alaska, the Cardboard Boat Racing Championships in Herber Springs, Ark., and the Freestyle Frisbee Championships in Seattle. On day 10 of the 50-day series, viewers will see from Hood River, windsurfers, 12 to 70 years old, competing in upwind, downwind, and slalom races for national titles.

“We are thrilled to present the US Nationals and the sport of windsurfing to millions of ESPN’s viewers,” said Race Director Scotia Bauer. “This takes the event to an entirely new level in terms of coverage and exposure.”

Each Sportcenter Across America segment will be broadcast from a mobile set, with an anchor and a live audience, on location at each sporting event. The segments will include event coverage, as well as historical notes, facts and vignettes about each state’s contribution to the national sports scene and several long-form features about each local area.

“This is a phenomenal opportunity for ESPN to touch our viewers, to personally meet the fans who watch us every day,” said Norby Williamson, ESPN senior vice president and managing editor. “Along the way, we will educate our viewers about the varied sporting events popular throughout the country, and point out the well-known, and perhaps not-so-well-known, athletes and events from each state.”

“Hood River has an increasing presence as a world class sports destination,” said Bruce Peterson, owner and founder of Sailworks and Masters Division U.S. Nationals competitor. “We welcome ESPN to Hood River and the Nationals, which will showcase our area and the sport of windsurfing.”

ESPN anchor Neil Everett will be the ‘talent’ for Hood River’s coverage. Everett, who currently works and lives in Connecticut, actually lived in Oregon for several years and is a graduate of the University of Oregon.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Everett said in an interview. “The people are cool and the weather is decent. I have nothing but high marks for Oregon… I’m looking forward to getting to know more about Hood River, having passed through it several times. I love Oregon, it’s the greatest state there is.”

During the 50 States in 50 Days initiative, Everett will host in Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, and Connecticut.

SportsCenter host Chris Berman commented on ESPN’s country-wide influence; “I’ve been fortunate to travel the country in 26 years with ESPN, and the one thing that has impressed me about our network, and SportsCenter in particular, is that everyone feels we reach out to them— whether it’s the South, the West, or the Midwest, we always feel welcomed wherever we go,” Berman said. “This gives us the chance to get a little closer to our fans, and it’s a small way to say ‘Thanks,’ because ESPN would not be what it is today without support from all 50 states.”

Broadcasts from Hood River are scheduled for 5 and 8 p.m., July 26, with the possibility of another late night showing.

The U.S. Windsurfing Nationals is an international FM World ranking event, meaning racers earn points towards FM World title at the U.S. Nationals. Racing will be held in Formula, Open/Sport, One Design Formula Experience, Prodigy, Gorge Slalom, and RS:X classes, with prizes awarded to the top three men and women of each class.

Hood River’s VMG Events will direct the competition and will keep up-to-date race scheduling and results posted on their Web site: www.vmgevents.com. VMG Events wants the Hood River community to know that the Event Site will remain open to public users for recreation during the races.

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