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Charity Challenge Rolls Into Town

OAKHURST – Yosemite High School was a hot spot for car lovers and others last week when the much anticipated met with the mostly unexpected. The student parking lot filled with cars and people, a reality entertainment show was filmed, a special senior project was staged, and even the Batmobile was rolled out complete with its namesake driver at the helm.

YHS hosted one leg of the Everybody Loves Kids (E.L.K.) Charity Challenge, “an interactive adventure pitting philanthropic vehicle enthusiasts against one another” for charity. The school turned out to be one of a handful of local destinations for the show’s pilot, in which participants navigate through a series of competitive activities.

Tom Wheeler and MC at the Elks Challenge 2015 - Joelle Leder Photography

Willing warriors are “challenged mentally and physically during seven days of heart-pounding adventure on the road,” says publicity for the show. It’s also referred to as a “luxury charity event” to be “filmed and released as an episodic series which will be available on multiple mainstream providers.”

Beneficiaries of the challenge are said to include St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Shriners Hospital for Children, and Texas Equusearch.

Beginning in Ventura on Saturday, May 16, participants drove to Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, and then on to Madera County, according Julie Fullmer, Director of Sales for Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau (YSVB).

Film crew at work with crowd at ELKS 2015 - Joelle Leder PhotographyThe first group challenge was held at the Madera County Museum, followed by a whistle-stop at Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad in Fish Camp. Some of the teams ventured to Zip Yosemite, while others drove to Raymond. For their competition at the Raymond Museum, players met up with John Muir as portrayed by Frank Helling.

Finally, the finish line for this part of the challenge came to Badger Country, aka Yosemite High School. Teams were met in grand style with a school event coordinated entirely apart from the television show. Seniors Ryan Losee and Evan Parker continued a tradition when they organized a car show for their YHS senior project, with over $1,000 in proceeds from their part going to the YHS Auto Shop.

Finish Line Smokey and the Badger photo by Julie Fulmer Yosemite Sierra Visitors BureauMeanwhile, E.L.K. guest stars at the finish line were Smokey Bear, the Yosemite High School Badger mascot and Batman with the original Batmobile. Madera County District 5 Supervisor Tom Wheeler also attended the event, and like many others, happily posed for a picture with the celebrity vehicle and driver.

The evening wound up at the Golden Chain Theatre, with dinner and entertainment directed by Lulu Finley. The participants left Madera County after a delicious breakfast at Ducey’s on the Lake Thursday morning, heading for two more split challenges in Madera County: Chowchilla Speedway and the Fossil Discover Center.

YHS Cheerleaders and camera crew with Batman and Batmobile ELKS Challenge 2015 - Joelle Leder PhotographyChallenge Event Director Matthew Morak worked closely with Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau YSVB to coordinate the challenge venues and finish line, organizers say.

“It was a true delight to work with Matthew and his team and we’re so impressed with their project and glad to participate in this series pilot,” adds Fullmer. Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau/Yosemite This Year

Click on images to enlarge. For more visit Joelle Leder Photography

Batman and YHS Student at ELKS Challenge 2015 - Joelle Leder PhotographyBatman in Batmobile with crowd in bg - Joelle Leder PhotographyCars 2 in ELKS Challenge - Joelle Leder PhotographyCar 3 - horns - in ELKS Challenge 2015 - Joelle Leder PhotographyELKS Charity Challenge 2015 - Joelle Leder PhotographyJulie Fulmer - Batman - Rhonda Salisbury at the ELKS Challenge 2015 - Joelle Leder PhotographyRonda Salisbury at the ELKS Challenge - Joelle Leder PhotographyTom Wheeler and Batman at the Elks Challenge 2015 - Joelle Leder PhotographyYHS Cheerleaders with Batman and Batmobile ELKS Challenge 2015 - Joelle Leder Photography

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