The Special Olympics Missouri Committee is still seeking volunteers for the organization's upcoming Northwest Area Basketball Tournament.
Panel members anticipate the event will bring more than 280 athletes from across northwest Missouri to Maryville on Saturday, Jan. 12. The tourney will once again take place in Northwest Missouri State University's Bearcat Arena with opening ceremonies set to begin at 8:30 a.m.
Always stirring and emotional, the ceremony will include appearances by a Special Olympics cheer squad, a torch run and the recitation by athletes of the Special Olympics oath.
Play starts at 9:30 a.m. and will last until around 4 p.m. Competition divisions include individual skills, team skills, 3-on-3, modified and regulation, and unified basketball.
"We invite the public out to this free event to show your support by cheering our athletes on," said Bev Gardner, one of the event's organizers.
Special Olympics is the world's largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. It provides year-round training and competition for more than 4 million athletes in 170 countries. The first International Special Olympics Summer Games were held at Soldier Field in Chicago in 1968. Special Olympics Missouri serves 15,600 athletes who participate in 21 different sports.
This is the second year in a row Northwest has hosted the tourney, which has received strong support from university Athletics Director Wren Baker and other Bearcats personnel.
Gardner had warm words for the event's other sponsors as well.
"The 2013 Area Basketball Tournament would not be possible without the generous contributions from our sponsors," she said. "Thank you to our year-round partners Hy-Vee, Sam’s Club, and the Law Enforcement Torch Run. The presenting sponsor for this event is Northwest Missouri State."
For more information about the 2013 Special Olympics Northwest Area Basketball Tournament, or to volunteer, call Katie Hrenchir at (816) 233-6232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.