More than 2,000 people from around the state are expected to gather in Warner Robins this weekend for the Special Olympics Georgia State Master Bowling Tournament.
An estimated 1,200 SOGA athletes and unified partners representing 53 local agencies from throughout the state are expected to compete in the yearly event, which will be held Friday through Sunday. An additional 250 coaches and 600 volunteers will help with the activities, according to a press release from Special Olympics Georgia.
Hosted for the sixth consecutive year in Warner Robins, the competition will be held at Gold Cup Lanes and the Robins Air Force Base Bowling Center (Robins Lanes) and is free and open to the public. Awards also will be presented.
“We are so excited and looking forward to the upcoming State Masters Bowling Tournament,” Special Olympics Georgia CEO Georgia Milton-Sheats said in the press statement. “Thank you to the city of Warner Robins and the community for being so incredible and embracing us with open arms.”
Marsha Buzzell, executive director of the Warner Robins Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, said the economic impact from previous tournaments held in Warner Robins has been around $800,000. She said more people are expected this year and said the impact could be as much as $1 million for the city.
“The City of Warner Robins is really proud to host these games for the sixth year in a row . . . these games are more about showing the athletes’ abilities, not their disabilities,” she said, adding that the athletes, who range in age from 18 to 35 of age, are given a gift bag with information about places in the community.
“They are very special to us . . . we want them to feel like a part of the community.”
The opening ceremony will be held at Southside Baptist Church in Warner Robins and is considered one of the highlights of the event, according to the release. It will conclude with a Parade of Athletes and the Law Enforcement Torch Run, followed by a dance with singer Dell Cook providing entertainment. Warner Robins Mayor Randy Toms will serve as the Tournament Grand Marshal.
Anyone interested in helping with the event can contact whitney.warren@specialolympicsga,org. For more information, please visit www.specialolympicsga.org.
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