People baring skin is nothing new in Las Vegas, but on June 18, it will be for a good cause.
Opportunity Village, 6300 W. Oakey Blvd., plans its inaugural Ho! Ho! Speed-Oh! fundraiser that day from 4 to 8 p.m. at MEET Las Vegas, 233 S. Fourth St. Participants are encouraged to wear Speedos, bikinis, swim trunks or one-piece swimsuits for a one-mile run through downtown Las Vegas. Runners are encouraged to decorate their outfits, and thongs are discouraged.
The event will begin at 4 p.m. with food, drinks and entertainment. The race is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. Registration is $50 and includes access to an open bar provided by Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada, a T-shirt and other gifts.
For more information or to register, visit hohospeedoh.com. Participants must be 21 or older.
Those who register also are asked to fundraise $100 from friends and family to help Opportunity Village, a nonprofit organization that supports people with disabilities.
Comedian and “Everybody Loves Raymond” co-star Brad Garrett plans to host the event but said he will not be wearing a Speedo — rather shorts and a T-shirt.
“I’ve never been in great shape,” Garrett said, “but even in the days when I was thin, I never got in a Speedo.
“You would think the Speedo would have been designed by a woman. You think a guy would have said, ‘What can make my gut look bigger and my wiener smaller?’ ” he added.
Garrett said he has been a “huge advocate” for Opportunity Village since he toured one of the facilities last year.
“I just got to be fast friends with them,” he said. “… I walked the place, hung out for a few hours and saw the facility for these wonderful people with special needs that are almost forgotten. They’re given purpose in life, which they should, of course, have. It was very overwhelming.”
Crystal Kovacs, assistant director of resource development for Opportunity Village, is the event manager. She said Ho! Ho! Speed-Oh! is a complement to Opportunity Village’s largest single-day fundraiser, the Las Vegas Great Santa Run, held every December.
This year’s Great Santa Run is also going to be held in downtown for the first time.
In past years, it was held at Town Square, and last year’s event raised more than $400,000, Kovacs said. She hopes Ho! Ho! Speed-Oh! can raise at least $150,000, which will help fund all of Opportunity Village’s programs.
“We thought of doing something a little bit different,” Kovacs said. “These Speedo events are sweeping the country right now. We thought who better than the Vegas crowd to run half naked down Fremont Street?”
Kovacs said there will be a registration table for the Great Santa Run at the Ho! Ho! Speed-Oh! event. Everyone who signs up for the December event will get $5 off their registration.
Kovacs said the Great Santa Run usually attracts a lot of families, and she hopes this event can help Opportunity Village reach a younger demographic — the 21 to 30 crowd. Kovacs also said Opportunity Village’s goal is to make this an annual event.
“The Santa Run is more family-friendly,” she said. “We want this to be a big party. It’s Christmas in paradise.”
And while Garrett said he is not big on fitness — “I wheeze on an elevator,” he said — he has a plan.
“I’m going to strap myself to the fastest runner from Kenya and at least finish,” he said.
Contact View education reporter Jeff Mosier at email@example.com or 702-224-5524.