Articles in Athletic Events

2016 Winter Games Recap

Thank you to our athletes, coaches, chaperones, volunteers and sponsors for making the 30th Annual Winter Games a success! We took the cold weather in stride, bundled up extra tight and had a wonderful three days in Dubuque!

If you missed out on the action, catch up with the links below:

Winter Games Preview – We Are Iowa Local 5 News

Special Olympics Athletes Gather for Opening of Winter Games – KCRG

Despite Cold Weather, Special Olympics Winter Games Continues – KWWL

Cheering Section Brings Out Best in Special Olympics Athletes in Dubuque – Dubuque Telegraph Herald

Frigid Conditions Don’t Slow Special Olympics Athletes in Dubuque – Dubuque Telegraph Herald

See Photos on Our Facebook Page!

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30th Annual Winter Games in Dubuque Jan. 11-13

winter-games-skiing-groupSpecial Olympics Iowa (SOIA) will hold the 30th Annual Winter Games in Dubuque Jan. 11-13 with more than 375 athletes from 47 delegations across the state set to compete in Alpine skiing, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, short-track speed skating and figure skating.

Full Schedule of Events

More than 170 coaches and chaperones, along with more than 300 volunteers, will join the athletes and make the event a success. The Grand Harbor Center, Sundown Mountain, Albrecht Acres and Mystique Community Ice Center will host the competitions and activities.

“We are both proud and excited to celebrate 30 years of Winter Games with the city of Dubuque,” said SOIA CEO Gary Harms. “The people and businesses in this city have opened their arms and their hearts to our wonderful athletes, families, coaches, staff and volunteers for many years.  We are thrilled to return for this annual event, and look forward to celebrating many more years of Winter Games in Dubuque.”

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12 Days of Athletes – Meet Brian

In the spirit of the holidays, Special Olympics Iowa is featuring 12 Days of Athletes throughout the month of December. In honor of these amazing athletes, please consider making your year-end donation to Special Olympics Iowa. If your donation is received by December 31, it will be DOUBLED!


12-days-athletes-brianName: Brian Steinford
Age: 30
Delegation: Cedar Valley Ranch, East Central Area
SOIA sports I participate in: athletics, softball, basketball, football, volleyball and bowling

What is your favorite part of Special Olympics? Getting to meet new people and the competition!

What is a fun fact about yourself? I collect cologne.

What is your favorite part about the holiday season? Giving!

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Because of forecasts of adverse winter weather conditions throughout the state of Iowa, the Special Olympics Iowa State Bowling Tournament, scheduled for Saturday, November 21, in Cedar Rapids, Des Moines and Sioux City has been cancelled. It will not be rescheduled.

The forecast continues to call for sleet, heavy snow and wind throughout the state on Friday and into the early hours of Saturday, with heavy winds continuing throughout the day on Saturday.

This was not an easy decision to make. We did our best to carefully consider all of the information available, including feedback from our delegations, athlete family members and volunteers, and weigh the consequences of moving forward with the event versus canceling it.  In the end, it came down to our commitment to your safety and to the safety of our athletes, coaches, families and volunteers.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call the state office at 515-986-5520.

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State Bowling Tournament Scheduled for Nov. 21 in Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Sioux City

bowling-medalMore than 800 athletes from across Iowa will be competing in the Special Olympics Iowa State Bowling Tournament on Nov. 21. The tournament will span three locations – Westdale Bowl in Cedar Rapids, Bowlerama in Des Moines and Plaza Lanes in Sioux City.

Athletes of all ages will compete in singles, doubles and four-person team bowling. Bowing is also offered as a Unified sport in doubles and four-person team, where athletes with intellectual disabilities are paired with athletes without disabilities. Ramp bowling is available for athletes who are unable to roll their own bowling ball.

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Mark Your Calendar for State Volleyball Tournament Oct. 10

volleyball-serveThe Iowa State University Kinesiology and Health Club will once again be an instrumental part of the Special Olympics Iowa State Volleyball Tournament, slated for October 10 at the Forker Building on the ISU campus.

Each year, the ISU Kinesiology and Health Club provides invaluable support for the tournament, coordinating the venue and students in the program to volunteer.

Registration is due to the state office by Sept. 18. In order to compete in the State Volleyball Tournament, an athlete’s Application for Participation must be valid through Oct. 11, 2015.

Please contact Rhonda Schwarzkopf at 515-986-5520 if you have any questions.

Souvenirs for Sale at State Volleyball Tournament

In an effort to provide souvenir items at more competitions, SOIA staff will be selling t-shirts, polos, shorts, hats and other items at the state volleyball tournament this year.

Keep an eye out for souvenir sales at other upcoming events! All proceeds from the souvenir sales go directly to Special Olympics Iowa.

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State Flag Football to be Held Oct. 3 in Cedar Rapids

flag-football-rushThe fifth annual Special Olympics Iowa State Flag Football Tournament will be held Oct. 3 at Ellis Park in Cedar Rapids. Flag football is the newest competition for SOIA, allowing athletes of all ages and ability levels the opportunity to play America’s game.

Flag football is a five-on-five, non-contact sport played by both male and female athletes. Teams are divided into divisions based on age and ability level to allow for fair play and competitive competition at each level.

Registration is due to the state office by Sept. 11. In order to compete in the State Flag Football Tournament, an athlete’s Application for Participation must be valid through Oct. 4, 2015.

Please contact Rhonda Schwarzkopf at 515-986-5520 or if you have any questions.

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State Softball Skills Competition Brings New Athletes, Voluneers

news-sammons-softball-skills-volunteerMore than 400 athletes competed during the Special Olympics Iowa State Softball Tournament Aug. 8 at the Prairie Ridge Sports Complex in Ankeny. Sammons Financial Group was the Presenting Sponsor for the event, providing more than 80 volunteers including employees, their families and friends.

Highlights of the day included a check presentation for $10,000 from Sammons Financial Group to continue its Champion Statewide Partnership and also serve as the Presenting Sponsor of the State Softball Tournament. A new partner of SOIA, Kona Ice, providing spectators and athletes with snow cones as a cool refreshment. They later presented SOIA with a check from the proceeds that day.

Though more teams were on the fields this year, the state softball skills competition was the main reason for the increase in athletes at the tournament.

“The new venue along with the fantastic volutneers from Sammons allowed us to put on an amazing event,” said SOIA CEO Gary Harms. “The determination, sportsmanship and pure enjoyment displayed throughout the day drives the athlete experience and joy, provides inspiration for our coaches and keeps our fans cheering.”

View Softball Photos on Our Facebook Page

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State Equestrian Meet at Jester Park Sept. 26

equestrianThe SOIA State Equestrian Competition will be held at the Jester Park Equestrian Center in Granger Sept. 26. Please note the change of date and location.

Athletes from across the state will compete in events including horsemanship, egg and spoon, barrel race, ball drop, key hole race, pole bending and baton relay. Balance, stability and the right communication between the horse and the rider are key elements for success.

Kayla Craun has been an equestrian athlete since 2011 and says her favorite part about Special Olympics is riding horses.

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Sammons Partnership Brings Coach into the SOIA Softball Family

softball team

Rick King (center) became an SOIA softball coach when he learned of the opportunity through Sammons Financial Group.

The Special Olympics Iowa State Softball Tournament has been sponsored by Sammons Financial Group since 2010. The company not only donates money to keep the event going, but lines the softball fields with volunteers each summer.

One of those volunteers loved the event so much, he became a coach for one of the Link Associates team. Rick King is a process improvement consultant for Sammons and has coached softball and baseball for 15 years.

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