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Craig’s Special Olympics lets all athletes shine

Western Area Colorado Spring Games see many competitors

Craig athletes hold their heads high as well as the ceremonial torch to begin the Western Area Colorado Spring Special Olympic Games Saturday morning at Moffat County High School. The annual event featured competitors from across the Western Slope in track and field and aquatics.
Andy Bockelman

Many who compete in sports are concerned about the number of points they score, the rate at which they run or swim a lap or the thrill of defeating a worthy opponent. For those who were gathered at Moffat County High SchoolMoffat County High School Saturday morning, the focus was on one thing: pride. Saturday morning, the focus was on one thing: pride.

Moffat County High School Saturday morning, the focus was on one thing: pride.

The Western Area Colorado Spring Special Olympic GamesWestern Area Colorado Spring Special Olympic Games took place at Moffat County High School as athletes with disabilities from across the Western Slope joined together to run, jump, swim and otherwise show what they could do. took place at Moffat County High School as athletes with disabilities from across the Western Slope joined together to run, jump, swim and otherwise show what they could do.

Western Area Colorado Spring Special Olympic Games took place at Moffat County High School as athletes with disabilities from across the Western Slope joined together to run, jump, swim and otherwise show what they could do.

A fixture of Craig in May, the Special Olympics gathering brought in nearly 100 people from Steamboat Springs, Delta, Montrose and others in the region for track and field and aquatics.

Local athletes had the honor of carrying a specially-made torch — created by Ryan Otis of Masterworks Mechanical — with Will Johnson of the Craig Cougars completing the final lap with the torch held aloft, putting the finishing touches on the flame with a little help from volunteer Dave DeRose.

Before putting on their game faces, everyone got the chance to be a little silly, as volunteers from Walgreens handed out bright, bulbous appendages as part of Red Nose Day, which takes place May 26 and serves as a relief fundraiser for children in poverty.

And so began the day as swimmers took to the pool and runners, jumpers and throwers started their activities.

Ashleigh Santistevan, who has cerebral palsy, employs a wheelchair and crutches and was able to compete in the 15-meter walk, as well as the softball throw, though she was hard-pressed to choose which she enjoys more.

“Both,” she smiled. “I did good.”

Santistevan was part of Craig’s Horizons Specialized ServicesHorizons Specialized Services team. team.

Horizons Specialized Services team.

Rhonda Hunt works with the organization and always enjoys a front-row seat for the spring games.

“They get so excited,” she said, motioning to Horizons clients as they clapped and cheered for everyone on the track while awaiting their own turns.

Craig Kiwanis Club does much of the work arranging the games, though it’s many people and groups who make it happen.

Michael Lausin, with American Legion Post 62, said his troop, as well as Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265, are pleased to contribute their time to such an effort by compiling data and giving out awards.

“It’s just a great event, and I’m privileged to be able to participate in it,” Lausin said. “The miles of smiles make it all worthwhile.”

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.


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