For eight days at the end of February, eight Mexican men became rolling billboards for Los Angeles.-based KB Home. The home builder sponsored the members of the Mexican national cycling team, as they raced more than 600 miles during the inaugural Amgen Tour of California.

KB's South Bay division public relations manager Craig LeMessurier says the event was a good way for the home builder to get involved in the local community and promote positive lifestyles. “From our standpoint, we're in the business of trying to support active and healthy communities,” he says. “It's a natural extension [to sponsor the sport].”

The Tour de France–style race saw 130 cyclists pumping the pedals through redwood forests and down the scenic Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco to Redondo Beach. And with more than a million spectators cheering along the route and television coverage on ESPN2, the event was a high-profile way to gain a lot of public exposure.

“In California, as well as some other markets, we have a large population of Latino home buyers. And so it makes sense to support a sport they can connect to,” says LeMessurier.

TEAM KB: Members of the Mexican national cycling team sponsored by KB Home were, from left, Antonio Aldape, Florencio Ramos, Fausto Esparza, Miguel Meza, Domingo Gonzalez, Jeus Zarate, and Arquimides Lam. Despite all the corporate and fan support, the team had a rather shaky finish. Four of the eight members were unable to finish the race. Cyclist Arquimides Lam was the team's top finisher, closing the race in 47th position. But LeMessurier says that the race—essentially the team's top-tier race debut—was a learning experience for the riders. Some of the competing cyclists were former Olympic athletes.

“This team had hardly anything; they didn't have the equipment they needed. And for KB to come in there and get them to this level—I think they were really grateful,” says LeMessurier.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Los Angeles, CA.