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Outdoor Industry Recognizes 9 "Outdoor Idols" at OR Summer Market Tradeshow in Salt Lake City

For Immediate Release
Eugene Buchanan
Recreation Publishing Inc.
eugene@paddlinglife.net
(970) 870-0880

Boulder, CO, July 18th, 2007 — It takes far more than great athletic ability to be a role model for youth in the outdoors. It takes a lot of drive and passion. To celebrate this, on Aug. 10 nine "Outdoor Idols" will be honored by the Outdoor Industry Foundation (OIF) for both their achievements in outdoor recreation and, more importantly, inspiring other youth to do the same. Marking the third installment of the semi-annual award, the nine youth, all under the age of 23, will be recognized by the outdoor industry at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market tradeshow, a gathering of over 1,000 outdoor gear manufacturers. OIF, a non-profit established by the Outdoor Industry Association, will bestow the honors at 10 a.m. Friday, August 10, in a presentation sponsored by Native Eyewear at the Salt Palace Convention Center's paddle tank, with a special appearance by climber Ed Viesturs.

The 2007 summer class of Outdoor Idol inductees are: Edgardo Baca Carillo, 20 (Climber/Mexico); Greta Neimanas, 19 (Cyclist/Colorado Springs, CO); Jeff Steed, 19 (Kayaker/Denver, CO); Marshall Alford, 18 (Hiker/Bailey, CO); Nick Troutman, 18 (Kayaker/Beechburg, ON); Nitish Nag, 18 (Road-Mtn. Biker/Union City, CA); Paul Robinson, 19 (Climber/Boulder, CO); Sasha Digiulian, 14 (Climber/Alexandria, VA); and Bridger Root, 17 (Mountaineer/Steamboat Springs, CO).

"Positive role models are critical for inspiring the next generation of outdoor enthusiast," says OIF Vice President Michelle Barnes. "As an industry, we want to support and applaud youth who are not only excellent in their sport, but are also ambassadors to other youth. The Outdoor Idols program is a great way to engage outstanding athletes in the movement to get youth active."

To be considered, all nominees had to meet the following qualifications: be under the age of 23; be a trendsetter in and embrace the spirit of outdoor recreation; and be actively involved in growing participation in outdoor recreation by motivating peers and giving back to their communities. Winners were selected by a panel of outdoor journalists, industry leaders, youth development organizations and outdoor athletes, with the nine Idols now serving as ambassadors between the youth market and the outdoor industry.

Like their predecessors, this year's crop of Outdoor Idols continues to contribute to outdoor recreation in a variety of ways.

Competitive cyclist and Outdoor Idol Greta Neimanas, who was born without her left hand and forearm, took third place at the Paralympic National Championships and is currently working toward her Handicapped Scuba Association certification to be a dive buddy. She's also planning to compete at the 2008 Beijing paralympic Games. "I volunteer primarily with adaptive sports programs because I'm a product of those same programs," she says. "It's my way of giving back to the programs, and sharing what I've learned with the kids coming up. It's neat to know that you're actually making a difference in people's lives."

Raft guide and kayak instructor Jeff Steed, winner of the Thurgood Marshall Leadership Award scholarship, works as a youth counselor for Denver's cityWILD, encouraging other youth to try new activities. "After doing so much taking, there comes a period where the giving begins," he says. "That's how I felt when I started mentoring inner city youth. At first I only did it for selfish reasons, but then I knew that it was much, much bigger than me--knowing that I've helped somebody, and that it will come back full circle some day and create a positive chain reaction."

Mexico's Edgardo Baca Carillo is one of the continent's best rock climbers, who also mentors youth to get involved in the outdoors. "I feel very happy teaching young people how to enjoy the natural world because it is a magical experience that I'd like other young people to discover," he says. "Every time I climb with kids from my town, I know it changes their lives."

Competitive Cyclist Nitish Nag organized a Developmental Bicycling team in California designed to get kids involved and set and achieve goals in cycling. "The satisfaction received from giving opportunity to others is something that goes above and beyond personal achievement," he says. "It's like planting a flower and watching it bloom. Although the flower is beautiful, it's the planter that enjoys that beauty the most. Coming from a science background working in diabetes and obesity, I feel children need to find activities that offer fun, challenge and exposure to the outdoors."

Eagle Scout Marshall Alford, a nominee for REI's Environmental Stewards Award, is a Volunteer Crew Leader and recruits volunteers and supervises youth programs for the Continental Divide Trail Alliance. Kayaker Nick Troutman, who took third at this year's World Freestyle Kayak Championships, is a coach for a teen kayak program on Canada's Ottawa River.

Paul Robinson, one of the top boulders in the country, is an ambassador for the Access Fund. "I love to climb and love to talk about climbing with others," he says. "It allows me to express myself and overcome obstacles I never thought possible."

Sasha Digiulian, the National Junior Climbing Champion for the past two years, is a straight-A student who gives back as a role model. Her approach to climbing echoes what many her age find in the real world. "I like bouldering and being challenged," she says. "It's tough knowing where to go next and trying to get yourself to the next place."

Bridger Root, of Steamboat Springs, Colo., has climbed all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, summited Denali and Mont Blanc, and has plans for Kilimanjaro. But he's also a passionate student committed to community involvement, working at a variety of conservation and social organizations. "It's fun to do the different stuff; not what everyone else is doing," he says. "And it's fun to help others do the same."

Further promoting this year's crop of Outdoor Idols is Boulder, Colorado's Serac Adventure Films, a full-service film production company that is developing a movie trailer featuring the Outdoor Idols (http://www.seracfilms.com.) For more information on this year's Idols, visit http://www.outdooridols.org.

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About Outdoor Industry Foundation
Outdoor Industry Foundation (OIF) is a non-profit foundation established by Outdoor Industry Association to encourage active outdoor recreation for all Americans. OIF's charter is to increase participation in outdoor recreation and to encourage and support healthier, more active lifestyles through education, partnerships, programs and advocacy. For more information go to http://www.outdoorindustryfoundation.org or call 303.444.3353.

 
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