The famous educational ambassador Bald Eagle ‘Challenger’ revisited Ground Zero in NYC during 2015.
Challenger the Bald Eagle
As June 18 approached, signaling another AEF Reunion combined with American Eagle Day, excitement built to over-the-top levels! Emails and Facebook posts lit up the Internet – filled with anticipation as to what these three days would bring. Finally, everyone participating in Reunion had arrived! Reservations for the Reunion topped out at 100, with more on the waiting list.
Before the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final began on April 6, 2015, the air was electric with excitement inside Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Duke Blue Devils vs Wisconsin Badgers – both teams poised to claim victory.
Bald Eagle Challenger was part of the pre-race show before the start of the Daytona 500 Sunday. Before every event, Challenger is given an opportunity to practice, so that he will be familiar with the space into which he is flying
Fall means Football for American Eagle Foundation (AEF) staff and Bald Eagle Challenger. Challenger is loaded into his custom-made carrier, carefully placed inside a Delta plane, and flown to a variety of stadiums across the nation. Hundreds of thousands of sports enthusiasts are inevitably captivated as they watch this famous non-releasable, free-flying Bald Eagle, the U.S.A’s living symbol of Freedom, soar majestically over their heads and into the stadium as the Star Spangled Banner is performed during pre-game festivities.
Challenger the Bald Eagle soared into an NFL stadium during the National Anthem—wearing a camera!
Following an AEF Memorial Day tradition that has been going on for several years, Al Cecere and AEF crew off to New York City and Chicago with the American Eagle Foundation’s Bald Eagle Challenger for two major events.
For 20 years, Celebrity Fight Night has raised many millions of dollars for charities, including the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow Neurological Institute. Countless lives have been changed because of the generosity of those who support this event.
On April 4th, American Eagle Foundation President Al Cecere and staff members Laura Sterbens, Julia Cecere, Robert West, and Bald Eagle Challenger participated in the opening ceremonies of an award dinner honoring 106 scholarship recipients at the 2014 National Scholars Conference and Horatio Alger Awards Induction Ceremonies in Washington D.C.
During the summer of 2013, a film crew from Nat Geo Wild’s “We Move Animals” visited the American Eagle Foundation in Pigeon Forge, TN.
We now have another stunning video to share with you! See the eagle Challenger soar at major events over the past five years, accompanied by a beautiful a cappella rendition of The Star Spangled Banner.
The Bald Eagle Challenger’s last flight of the 2013 NFL season took place on Jan. 4, 2014 at the Indianapolis Colts’ stadium during their NFL Wildcard Playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs. With artic temperatures and snow outside, Challenger and the AEF crew were grateful to be indoors at Lucas Field.
While in New York City on November 12, 2013, the Bald Eagle Challenger and Al Cecere filmed a ChannelOne News segment titled “Pop Quiz: The Bald Eagle.” This episode was broadcast to 7,000 schools nationwide on December 17, 2013.
On December 9th, Al appeared on Fox News to discuss the ramifications of this extension, stating: “I think this is appalling and outrageous. I don’t think this is good conservation policy. I think this is a lot of politics, and, believe me, I educate people on both sides of the aisle. I’ve been saving eagles for nearly 30 years. It took over 30 years to bring the Bald Eagle back from the brink of extinction.
On November 17, 2013, the Houston Texans hosted the Oakland Raiders at their Military Appreciation Game inside Reliant Stadium. Presidents George W. Bush and George H. W. Bush, First Lady Barbara Bush, and First Lady Laura Bush were among those guests who saw the Bald Eagle Challenger fly during the Gatlin Brothers’ rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.
The American Eagle Foundation (AEF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
Contributions to the American Eagle Foundation are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.
The AEF's tax identification number is 58-1652023.
Background photo ©Byron Jorjorian