First Time's a Charm for Special Olympics Maryland - Southern Maryland Headline News

First Time's a Charm for Special Olympics Maryland


Local Law Enforcement, Business Team Up on the Blessing of the Bikes and the Shiver in the River, Raising $85,000 for Charity

June 24 - Sunday, April 17th was a blessed day indeed. On a beautiful spring day, the Southern Maryland Blessing of the Bikes attracted nearly 5,000 motorcycle enthusiasts to the Charles County Fairgrounds, raising $25,000 for Special Olympics Maryland. Organized by local businessman Art Jolliffe—owner of Gilligan's Pier Restaurant and Apehanger's Bar & Grill—and supported by the Charles County Sheriff's Office and the Maryland State Police as law enforcement partners, the 13-year-old event moved to Charles County in April, after being held at the St. Mary's County Fairgrounds for a number of years.

This fundraiser came just five months after the very successful Maryland State Police Southern Maryland Shiver in the River, another collaboration between Jolliffe, the Maryland State Police and the Charles County Sheriff's Office. This event boasted 238 Shiver-ers and raised $60,000 for the 10,000 athletes that train and compete in Special Olympics throughout the year in Maryland. Jolliffe hosted the 1st Annual Shiver in the River at Gilligan's Pier Restaurant. The Shiver also migrated from St. Mary's County, after having been held at Point Lookout State Park for four years.

Both events were moved in order to accommodate larger crowds and find a more convenient location for participants and attendees traveling from the Baltimore area and beyond. "We are thrilled with the positive response we received from the Charles County community, and particularly our law enforcement partners," said Tom Schniedwind, Sr. VP of Sports Marketing for Special Olympics Maryland. "The Charles County community is very fortunate to have such a great public safety team, and caring businessmen like Art Jolliffe who believe in making their communities a better place to live and work."

Special Olympics Maryland has always been involved with the organization and management of the Maryland State Police Winter Water Series - which includes the Shiver in the River (formerly the St. Mary's Splash) - but 2005 was the first time the organization had been named the charitable partner of the annual Southern Maryland Blessing of the Bikes. "Working with Special Olympics Maryland for the Shiver in the River was a great experience for me and for the restaurant staff," said Jolliffe, "so when I was approached by the founders of the Blessing of the Bikes to take over the event, I immediately called Tom and invited the organization to get involved. It's a very rewarding partnership, and one that I hope continues well into the future."

The 2005 Maryland State Police Southern Maryland Shiver in the River presented by the Charles County Sheriff's Office and Gilligan's Pier Restaurant is scheduled for Saturday, December 3. Participants take a quick dip in the Potomac River to benefit Special Olympics Maryland. Shiver-ers are required to contribute a minimum of $50 in pledges, and for that donation they will receive a commemorative event sweatshirt, complimentary lunch courtesy of Gilligan's Pier Restaurant and group color photo. For more information, visit http://www.somd.org or call 410-789-6677 x503.

The 2006 Southern Maryland Blessing of the Bikes is tentatively scheduled for Sunday, April 16 at the Charles County Fairgrounds. For more information, visit http://www.blessingofthebikesmd.com.

"The Charles County Sheriff's Office is proud to be a part of the Special Olympics fund-raisers," said Charles County Sheriff Frederick E. Davis. "Our partnership has made these events successful, but it's the strength and courage of the Special Olympics athletes that have inspired us in the first place."

Special Olympics Maryland is a year-round sports organization dedicated to providing quality sports training and competition opportunities to Maryland's children and adults with intellectual disabilities and/or closely related development disabilities. Special Olympics Maryland currently serves 10,000 athletes statewide, and offers 24 sports, all at no cost to the athletes or their families. For more information about SOMD visit http://www.somd.org or call 410-789-6677 x117.

Photo: From left to right, Sheriff Frederick E. Davis, Lt. Randolph Stevens, commander of the Maryland State Police La Plata Barrack; Art Jolliffee, owner of Gilligan's Pier Restaurant and Apehanger's Bar & Grill; and Tom Schniedwind, Sr. VP of Sports Marketing for Special Olympics Maryland, celebrate the funds raised for Special Olympics.

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