Cycling fans will have a chance to win the jersey that Astana rider Levi Leipheimer was wearing when he crashed out of the 2009 Giro d'Italia and help rescued dogs in the process.
Cycling photographer Jonathan Devich is spearheading a charity raffle to help benefit the Missouri Humane Society, which is currently dealing with the influx of hundreds of dogs which were rescued when federal authorities busted the largest dog-fighting ring in US history.
Leipheimer, whose is heavily involved in animal rescue efforts with his wife Odessa, donated the signed Astana jersey he was wearing when he crashed during Stage 11 of the 2009 Giro d’Italia.
Also up for grabs is a signed OUCH Pro Cycling jersey from Floyd Landis, Tim Johnson's signed 2009-2010 Cyclocrossworld kit and an autographed Italian National Cyclocross Team jersey from Davide Frattini (Colavita/Sutter Home).
Missouri resident Brad Huff (Jelly Belly) is also contributing a signed team jersey. The Tour of Missouri race organization is also contributing a signed yellow Tour leader’s jersey. Teams committed to signed jerseys for the MODogs raffle include Columbia-HTC and Garmin-Slipstream.
The Humane Society of Missouri took in over 400 dogs rescued from the fighting ring, but with so many dogs coming into their care at once, the MHS sent out a plea for donations. Devich, the owner of three rescue dogs, set up a fundraising initiative called MODogs which includes the raffle, and is also donating proceeds from any prints he sells from shooting the Tour of Missouri.
“I have three rescue dogs, two of which are pit bulls,” Devich said. “I thought the breakup of this ring happening around the same time Michael Vick got signed to a new professional contract was auspicious. Knowing that I would be in Missouri for the Tour, I wanted to do what I could to help. This seemed like a great opportunity to mobilize the cycling community to help the Humane Society of Missouri care for these rescued dogs.”
Devich will be holding the MODogs raffle through his own website, www.epicimages.us, to raise funds for the Humane Society of Missouri’s Animal Cruelty Fund.
“I’m really happy to have this much support already from the professional cycling ranks,” Devich said. “I want to make this a positive message about what the Humane Society is doing in Missouri, and that those of us associated with the race will be there to support their efforts.
"I’ve also tried to make this easy to be a part of. Anyone can come to my site and use a credit card to buy $5 raffle tickets, as well as order a ToM print if they want. I'll also have information there about the Humane Society and what they’re doing for the rescued dogs. Hopefully, we can get more support for their efforts from the cycling community, and get information out to fans along the way during the Tour of Missouri, as well.”
To buy MODogs raffle tickets and purchase Devich’s Tour of Missouri prints, visit www.epicimages.us. For raffle tickets, simply click on the image of the raffle ticket and add as many as you want to your cart. You can purchase raffle tickets throughout the Tour of Missouri. Prizes will be awarded during the week following the Tour of Missouri.