The city of Bloomfield was selected this week to be one of eight cities featured in an online-only TV series to begin filming this fall.
The 2013 Fireball Run trivia-game-and-car-race series promises to boost the local economy and help find missing children.
Producers from Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla., chose the city for its commercial corridor and river walk developments, said J. Sanchez, a show representative.
"We met with Mayor Scott Eckstein and David Fuqua, the city manager, earlier this month and were really impressed with the city's big heart," Sanchez said. "Everybody we spent time with showed a lot of pride in their community. We picked up on that right away."
The visit from the show's producers was completely unexpected but a welcome surprise, said Fuqua.
"Fireball choosing Bloomfield is another great advance for the area," he said. "This is a big deal."
Bloomfield stands to benefit from participation in the series, said Eckstein.
"When you consider the economic impact of this kind of special opportunity, it's really exciting," Eckstein said. "The show is online and will bring a lot of awareness to our community. Plus, it's going to be a lot of fun."
Billed as the "most epic Adventurally' in America," the show involves 40 driving teams that travel over 2,500 miles, starting in Longmont, Colo., and crossing the finish line in Riverside, Calif.
Other cities on the eight-day rally include Alamosa, Colo.; Page and Mesa, Ariz.; and Gallup, N.M.
Teams will compete by solving clues and accomplishing tasks based on the area -- focusing on points of interest, local history and culture.
This year's theme is "All Stars and Movie Cars" and will feature notable celebrities and business moguls like astronaut Jon McBride, Lamborghini legend Valentino Balboni, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame President Terry Stewart and Ray McClelland, host of the cable show "Car Warriors."
Adding to the mission is the show's emphasis on helping locate missing children from each area along the rally.
"The teams will spend a lot of time distributing missing children posters throughout the areas they visit," Sanchez said. "Our aim is to leverage the show to help save kids. The cars, someone told us, are like rolling milk cartons.'"
All team cars, including the semi trucks that accompany the show, feature decals that replicate the missing children posters the teams distribute, Sanchez said. Each team is assigned a particular missing child and tasked with asking people they meet if they have seen that child.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice website, nearly 800,000 children are reported missing every year. Family members trying to deprive a caretaker of custodial rights commit most child abductions. Non-family abductions total about 58,000 annually. In two percent of these cases, children are never recovered.
The show's awareness campaign has aided in 38 child recoveries since 2007, Sanchez said.
James Fenton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 564-4621. Follow him on Twitter @fentondt.