Articles in Athletic Events

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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SOIA State Softball Tournament is August 8 in Ankeny

logo-sammons2The Special Olympics Iowa State Softball Tournament presented by Sammons Financial Group will have a new look this year, moving to the Prairie Ridge Sports Complex in Ankeny. The move will allow more athletes to participate in a wider variety of activities.

Last year, 24 traditional and Unified Sports teams participated in the tournament, with more than 300 athletes representing 17 communities across the state. SOIA officials expect that number to grow this year and are excited to be able to offer a softball skills competition at the new venue.

softball-team-dugout“The facilities at the Prairie Ridge Sports Complex are a great match for our growing tournament and needs of our athletes,” said SOIA CEO Gary Harms. “It is our mission to provide training and athletic competition opportunities for children and adults with intellectual disabilities regardless of their ability level. Not only will we be able to host more games for our athletes and Unified Sports partners, but we will finally have the space needed to host events for athletes who compete in individual skills competitions like our softball throw and batting events.”

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SOIA Honors Annual Award Winners at Summer Games

Special Olympics Iowa honored its Outstanding Athlete, Coach and Family of the Year award winners during the Summer Games Opening Ceremony presented by Hy-Vee May 21 at Iowa State University’s Hilton Coliseum. The Scott Bryant Unsung Hero Award was also presented to recognize an individual dedicated to the Law Enforcement Torch Run program.

news-athlete-of-the-yearOutstanding Athlete of the Year
Danny McDonald (Glenwood)
Danny McDonald has been in Special Olympics for more than 30 years, competing in bowling, bocce, track and Challenge Days. He had the opportunity to compete at the 2006 National Games in Ames when our Challenge Day was showcased for three days to people from all over the United States. It was nothing but pure fun for this athlete, making new friends and competing with athletes from all over the country, playing basketball and volleyball. Danny is one of the friendliest, kindest and most loving people you will ever meet. He is always ready to shake your hand after he competes. It doesn’t matter if he gets first or last place; to him, he is a winner because he gets to participate.

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Iowa Delegation Heads to World Games

Mark Robinson, Lisa Spencer and Patrick Gulbranson are part of the Iowa delegation of Special Olympics USA.

Mark Robinson, Lisa Spencer and Patrick Gulbranson are part of the Iowa delegation of Special Olympics USA.

Special Olympics Iowa bowlers Patrick Gulbranson (Stuart) and Lisa Spencer (Ankeny), along with aquatics coach Mark Robinson (Cedar Rapids), have been named to Special Olympics Team USA and will represent the United States at the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles, Calif., July 25-Aug. 2.

Gulbranson and Spencer each earned a gold medal at the 2013 Special Olympics Iowa State Bowling Tournament, qualifying them to apply for a spot on Special Olympics Team USA Bowling. They are among a 491-member delegation representing the United States in competition in 17 sports.

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Spencer Unified Golf Tournament

  • August 16, 2015
  • Spencer Municipal Golf Course
  • 8:30 am

There are many levels to Unified Sports.  Special Olympics Iowa Unified Golf follows the guidelines for Unified Development: paring up athletes (individuals with intellectual disabilities) with partners (golfers without intellectual disabilities) who are more knowledgeable about the sport to compete in a team environment.

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