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  • Queen of Versailles comes to Florence with Fireball Run Space Race

Queen of Versailles comes to Florence with Fireball Run Space Race

on Tuesday, 06 October 2015. Posted in Good life, Local News

Queen of Versailles comes to Florence with Fireball Run Space Race
Jackie Siegel

Jacqueline Siegel and her Queen of Versailles team were one of the 40 teams participating in the 9th Annual Fireball Run Space Race which made a stop in Florence last Wednesday. Florence was one of eight East Coast cities hosting the Fireball Run, a life-sized trivia game and adventure show, in its ninth season. The teams, including four astronauts and celebrities, traveled 2,000 miles in cars from Connecticut to Florida to play in the “Space Race” theme adventure rally.

At each stop along the way, the teams passed out flyers of missing children to bring awareness and hopefully help find them. Siegel gained celebrity from the 2012 American documentary film, “The Queen of Versailles,” by Lauren Greenfield. The film depicts Jackie and her husband David, founder of Westgate Resorts, and their family of eight children while building a 90,000 square-foot residence near Orlando, FL., and the crisis they face as the U.S. economy declines.

In June of this year, the couple’s 18 year-old daughter Victoria overdosed on prescription medication. Ironically, the missing person assigned to Jackie and her team when she signed up to participate last year is named Victoria Joly, who went missing in June of 2014, exactly one year before Jackie’s daughter Victoria died. Jackie and her husband have made it their mission to promote awareness of drug abuse in hopes that they can prevent other parents from suffering the heartache of losing a child and help bereaved parents overcome their loss.

In memory of their daughter, they established the Victoria’s Voice Foundation. So for her, the Space Race is a double mission – to help find missing children and help prevent teen drug abuse. When the race ended in Sanford, FL. on Friday, Oct. 3, Jackie planned to join her husband the next day in Washington, D.C. for the march, United to Face Addiction. As a participant in the Space Race, Jackie admitted the long hours were challenging, but it was rewarding as well. “I love visiting the small towns in America,” she said.

In addition to the main mission of the race – to help locate missing children – the teams had fun missions which help promote and raise funds for local charities. Her team participated in a treasure hunt at the Farmers Market, filling up two paper bags with fruits and vegetables for a charity that serves sexually abused boys. Other teams picked cotton, participated in a talent show at the PAC, practiced baseball skills with former major leaguer Orlando Hudson and were entertained by an impersonation of famous FBI agent Melvin Purvis.

Florence had a team competing in the rally – Raldex Florence Strikes Back. Driving the Raldex Hospitality team car sponsored by Cale Yarborough Honda were Corey Wallace and Roger Allen. Both men are general managers of Hampton Inn & Suites properties in Florence. Following a downtown rally with the racing teams, the team members and film crews joined local leaders and guests for a dinner at the Performing Arts Center.

In a special presentation, the show’s executive producer Jay Sanchez, praised the works and efforts of Florence Convention and Visitors Bureau director Holly Beaumier, who was responsible for bringing this event to Florence. She has been a most gracious and helpful host, he said, adding everyone connected with the race commented positively on her assistance. “She could be running your state tourism office,” he commented.

In appreciation for her work on this project, Sanchez said Holly’s name will be listed in the credits as associate producer on every episode of this year’s Fireball Run. The show is streamed live to 1.7 million viewers, and episodes will be available on Netflix and other digital sites.

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