As president and CEO of the Waterbury Regional Chamber of Commerece, Lynn Ward gets a slew of mail piled on top of her desk every day. When the letter arrived from the Fireball Run she placed it to one side to revisit later in the day. One day turned to two, and by the time she picked it back up she was suspicious. She wondered if the race was legitimate, and threw the letter into the garbage. But the letter nagged at her, and she went pack into her garbage to pluck it back out and place it back on her desk for future inspection. And the letter sat longer.
Eventually Ward opened the letter and watched a portion of the movie made from a previous Fireball Run. “I only got through part of the movie and I said, “we’re doing this.”
And in that instant Lynn Ward became the driving force that successfully lured the 2012 Fireball Run Adventurally to Waterbury.
“I knew immediately that this provided a great opportunity for Waterbury to promote itself to a national viewing audience,” Ward said. “And all the participants are businesspeople, so I thought it would be wise to bring them into Waterbury and show them what we can do.”
After Ward contacted the producers they visited Waterbury in January and were blown away,
Executive producer J. Sanchez and line producer Casey D’Albor, spent three days in Waterbury attending chamber events and being ‘courted’ by Ward, Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary, economic development director Ron Pugliese and Main Street Waterbury director Carl Rosa. They met with various political leaders, businesses and organization leaders in the city. “If Lynn Ward had not acted upon our inquiry,” Sanchez told a “Waterbury Republican American” editor, “the participants of Fireball Run and its audience may never know this city’s rich story, let alone have the privilege to meet its people. We found Waterbury to be a pleasant surprise. It is a very vibrant city full of very enthusiastic and dynamic people. It has a very rich lineage and history, a supportive and committed business community, and a group of civic leaders who work very well together.”
Now after almost a year of hard work, the event is arriving in Waterbury on September 27th at 3 pm. So what exactly is it?
The “2012 Fireball Run Adventurally – Northern Exposure” (www.fireballrun.com) is a road rally adventure and film created by Adrenaline Partnership at NBC Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. Fireball Run is an epic interactive adventure game that features cars driven by teams from the 14 destination cities between September 21 and 29th. Waterbury was chosen to be one of the 14 overnight cities and will be visited by 40 teams of drivers of the 8-day, 2,500 mile journey. Waterbury is the only one of the 14 destination cities to have three official teams and one independent team of drivers.
The signature ambition of the ‘2012 Fireball Run Adventurally – Northern Exposure’ production is “The Race to Recover Missing Children. Since its creation five years ago, the Fireball Run’s producers’ have worked to bring nationwide attention to missing and exploited children. Each Fireball Run team represents one missing child from that team’s home region. As part of their 8 day adventure, each team will distribute 1,000 posters of one missing child from their hometown area to aid in that child’s recovery. Since its inception, Fireball Run has helped locate 38 missing children across the United States.
The 2012 road rally adventure will begin September 21 in Ohio and end September 29 in Maine. The 40teams of 2 will drive various vehicles to each of the 14 destination cities. While in each overnight destination city, the teams will visit local area landmarks, solve clues and accomplish missions based on local history, geography and pop culture. Fireball Run often attracts well-known drivers and individuals from the U.S. and Canada. In 2012 girls will rule with two-time women’s pro rodeo champion Kelly Kaminsky; Long Beach Grand Prix winner Shea Holbrook; Lumber Jill World Champion seen on CBS-TV’s ‘Survivor’ & ABC-TV’s ‘Extreme Home Makeover’ Timber Tina; NHRA Super Comp Dragster Driver Tina Stull; and pro wakeboard champion Tarah Mikacich.
The 40 “FireballRun” teams will visit Waterbury September 27 and Waterbury will be ‘seen’ by millions of viewers of the www.FireballRun.com website which will stream the entire road adventure live. When the teams arrive in Waterbury, they will be celebrated with numerous festivities on the Waterbury Green between 3:00 to 7:00 PM, which will all be streamed live. At 6:00 PM they will continue to be celebrated at an invitation-only dinner event at Waterbury’s famed Palace Theater.
Before arriving at the Waterbury Green, the drivers will visit Lime Rock Park and raceway in Lakeville, Connecticut. Festivities on the Green will begin at 3:00 and end at 7:00 PM and will include “Kidventure”; live entertainment featuring the Crosseyed Cat band from Waterbury; re-enactment of President John F. Kennedy’s speech in front of the Elton Hotel; cheerleading performances by area high school teams; a car show; food vendors and much more.
Paul Largay, right, and Dr. Peter Jacoby
Three teams from the Waterbury area will participate in the 8-day Fireball Run challenge. Drivers include Dr. Peter Jacoby, chairman of emergency medicine at St. Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury, and Paul Largay, president of Largay Travel. As in the movie “Cannon Ball Run” the Waterbury ‘stars’ will drive an un-commissioned ambulance provided by Campion Ambulance and Loehmann-Blasius Chevrolet of Waterbury. Others drivers are Waterbury’s Stan and Melissa Piurkowski, owners of Meadow Street Commons and Meadow Street Grill, who will drive their 1986 Ford Ranger and Joe Wall of Waterbury and Chris Meier of Oakville who will drive a 1990 Miata.
Stan and Melissa Piurkowski
Title sponsors of Waterbury’s Fireball Run are Loehmann-Blasius Chevrolet, Post University, Webster Bank, all based in Waterbury, and Connecticut Light & Power, Yankee Gas-Northeast Utilities. Non-profit beneficiary of Waterbury’s participation in the “2012 Fireball Run – Adventurally” expedition will be Waterbury’s Police Activity League (PAL) selected by Mayor Neil M. O’Leary as recipient of the “Mayor’s Choice of Charity”.
“KIDVENTURE” SCAVENGER HUNT
On Thursday, September 27, between 3:30 and 6:00 PM, children from throughout the Waterbury region are invited to participate in the first-time-ever “Kidventure” Scavenger Hunt on the Waterbury Green as part of the “2012 Fireball Run®” visit to Waterbury, Connecticut. “Kidventure” is being planned by the Mattatuck Museum, Greater Waterbury YMCA and Waterbury Regional Chamber – initiator and organizer of the “2012 Fireball Run” road rally’s first-ever visit to Waterbury. During “Kidventure” the children will learn about Waterbury’s rich history by participating in an action-packed scavenger hunt, and all participating children will receive souvenir tee-shirts, and become eligible to win prizes.
“Kidventure”, explained Lynn Ward, president and CEO of the Waterbury Regional Chamber, “will include questions about Waterbury’s rich history that the children will answer by exploring locations around the Waterbury Green and the YMCA. Each mission location is being sponsored by local companies or organizations. The three primary ‘Kidventure’ sponsors are AT&T, Carmody & Torrance and Connecticut Family Dental on Grandview Avenue in Waterbury. Two location sponsors to date are the Brass Mill Center and Mall, CoCo Key Resort Hotel and Conference Center. To participate, parents can register children in advance by visiting www.waterburyfireballrun.com. The first 250 registrants will receive a free Kidventure t-shirt.”
The band “Crosseyed Cat” has recorded a fantastic remake of Fireball Run’s famous techno theme song, Like a Fireball; for the online episodic series of last year’s Adventurally, themed “Southern Excursion.” Crosseyed Cat’s cool and bluesy style not only seemed perfect for Southern Excursion, but their home base is Waterbury CT, a destination in this year’s Ohio to Maine “Northern Exposure” Adventurally.
They have taken Rock & Blues to a new level; that has fans, the press, and other musicians taking notice and singing praises. Call it fate, timing or just plain luck, some force put these musicians together for a reason and call that chemistry. That is the way we feel about their involvement with Fireball Run and its Race to Recover America’s Missing Children.
This year, the September 21-29 Adventurally will green flag from the official starting line city of Independence, OH and will traverse points-of-interest in the Northeast (Wellsboro PA, Jamestown, Watertown, and Schenectady NY, Waterbury CT, and Ogunquit ME) for 8-days, raising awareness for missing children, with a 2-hour parade in the official finish line city of Bangor, Maine.
With 21 years under their belt, Crosseyed Cat has captivated audiences all over the New England area by their style and signature sound. They have taken the stage with the best of the national acts, from Marshall Tucker, Charlie Daniels and Molly Hatchet, to John Mayall, Roomfull of Blues and Kenny Wayne Sheppard.
Another local talent, fascia’s Chocolates is also getting in on the action. Carmen Romeo, general manager of Fascia’s Chocolates introduced the specially-created “Chocoprizebar” chocolate bars. There are 40 Fireball Run teams from across the United States, including 3 teams from Waterbury. Every team is assigned a child missing from their home region. While competing in the road rally adventure, each team’s mission is to distribute 1,000 posters throughout their 8-day Ohio to Maine journey to help raise awareness of, and to aid in the recovery of, the missing child each team is assigned. Waterbury’s three official teams have been assigned to distribute posters for three area children – Bianca Lebron who has been missing since November 7, 2001; Angel Garcia missing since October 21, 2011; and Rosa Marie Camacho missing since October 24, 1997. Sales of the ‘Chocoprizebars’ will help with the funding of the costs associated with Waterbury’s Fireball Run extraordinary event to aid in the recovery of missing children.
Now on sale throughout Waterbury, each of Fascia’s “Chocoprizebars” contains a special golden prize ticket that offers the purchaser an instant prize. The top prize offered in one of thousands “Chocoprizebars” created by Fascia’s is a $4,000 gift certificate to the Skip Barber Racing School at Lime Rock Park (limerock.com). Top prizes include an Apple iPad; a Spartan’s Pizza party for 10; and a Chocolate Party at Fascia’s headquarters in Waterbury for 10. The 996 additional prizes include free tickets to Lime Rock Park, a $45 value; passes to Quassy Amusement Park, a $23.50 value; and free passes to Creative 10 Cinemas, a $7 value; $5 gift certificates to Elizabeth Richard Gifts; $20 gift cards to Brass Mill Center and Commons; $10 gift card to Old Navy, free passes to the Timexpo Museum; free Brass City Brewfest Keychains; Fireball Run Keychains; and much more.
Fascia’s, named “Best Chocolates in Connecticut” in the September 2012 issue of “Connecticut” magazine, volunteered to create the prize-bearing chocolate bars which are being sold for $5 each through September 27 in stores and business offices throughout Waterbury. The chocolate bar with instant prizes will also be sold during the “2012 Fireball Run” festivities on The Waterbury Green on September 27 between 3:00 and 7:00 PM.
“Chocoprizebars” can currently be purchased at the following locations: Elizabeth Richards Gifts; Bunker Hill Pharmacy; Waterbury Webster Bank branches; Waterbury Thomaston Savings Bank branches; O’Rourke & Birch Florist; Southbury dentist Dr. Jack Zazzaro ; Brass Center Mall – General Office; and the Timexpo Museum. To learn more, visit www.waterburyfireballrun.com.