Nearly 200 area Special Olympics Texas athletes are set to compete in the organization’s area track and field Spring Games on Saturday at Ratliff Stadium.
The event brings together participants from Odessa, Midland, the surrounding Permian Basin area and the Big Bend area, all as part of Special Olympics Texas’ Area 18.
The event’s opening ceremonies are scheduled for 9 a.m.
Special Olympics Texas runs several events in the area throughout the year, but in track-crazed West Texas, the track and field Spring Games is this area’s most popular event, said Special Olympics Texas director of field services Norm Arias.
“For Area 18, it is the largest event,” Arias said over the phone this week. “We’ll have roughly 190-plus athletes that will be in attendance and competing.”
Children and adults with intellectual disabilities eight years old and up will compete, with competitors 12 years old and up participating to qualify for the statewide Summer Games set for May in Arlington.
Traditional track and field events are set to be part of the action, as well as modified events, such as assisted walks, wheelchair races and ball throw events.
“We want the community to come on out and cheer our athletes on,” Arias said. “At the same time, our athletes have trained hard for the last eight weeks in preparation for the track and field events. We basically we want to show the community that our athletes are athletes.
“They go out there, they compete, they train, and they’re all very competitive and they all want to try to get the gold.”
Admission is free.
“Come on out,” Arias said. “It’s all free. Check it out. Maybe you’ll want to get involved and volunteer somehow. It’s a community-based organization where we’re always trying to get the community involved.”
Organizers are still searching for volunteers to help with the event. Those interested in volunteering can sign up on the games’ Eventbrite page by following tinyurl.com/ycwqvopd — or by checking with the volunteer registration table at the stadium on the day of the games.
Arias noted volunteers may be especially needed in the afternoon after a busy morning. Events are set to open at 9:30 a.m., and then continue after a break for lunch from around 11 a.m. to noon.
Those interested can learn more at SpecialOlympicsTexas.org, or through the organizations Facebook page at Facebook.com/SpecialOlympicsTX.