Entry fees from those participating in the amateur and pro races of the Sunny King Criterium in Anniston, Alabama, on May 6 will be donated to Relay for Life, a local American Cancer Society fund-raiser. "The goal is a $10,000 donation," said Mike Poe, race director. A 15-minute time slot has been allotted between races to allow for a special presentation by Relay for Life officials from the race stage.
In 2005, the Sunny King Criterium donated $7,880 to Relay for Life and honoured Ron Williams, captain of the 2004 USA Paralympic cycling team and winner of silver and bronze medals, in Athens, Greece. Ron was presented with a Key to the City by the Mayor of the City of Anniston, Chip Howell. Ron, a cancer-survivor and resident of nearby Birmingham, AL, is registered to race at Sunny King again in 2006.
The Sunny King Criterium has been selected as a "Top 10 Event" in Alabama, is on USA Cycling’s National Racing Calendar and is the final race in USA Crits, a series of six criterium races in eight days. Series races include the Athens Twilight (April 29) and Nalley Historic Roswell (April 30) Criteriums in Georgia, the Heritage races in Walterboro (May 3) and Greenwood (May 4) South Carolina, the SmithBarney Classic (May 5) in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and Sunny King (May 6).
All criterium venues are located near one another, making for easy transfers from one race to the next in the series. Each individual race awards a minimum of $10,000 to the Pro Men field and the series awards an additional $10,000 in prize money to overall winners of the series, for a total of $75,000 in prize money. Leader’s point’s jerseys will be awarded at each race.
More than 90,000 total spectators are expected at the 6 criterium races combined, and numerous healthy activities for children are planned. "Each race in the series is locally organized and is the centerpiece of downtown festivals in each community," said Gene Dixon of Swagger, LLC, the promoter of the series. "A big part of these festivals centers on children and active lifestyles, which we think is a positive approach to combat childhood obesity."