It’s been five years since local Special Olympic bowlers have gone on to the State Tournament and returned with the first place trophy. Special Olympic bowling coach Tina Strayhorn is proud of her team, “It’s been exciting and everyone is so happy to have earned the gold medal and brought the championship trophy back to Kenai,” she told the Dispatch at a pizza party celebration recently at the Alaska Lanes Family Bowling Center in Kenai. “This was my first time to coach a winning state team and it was wonderful. All our bowlers came out to celebrate the victory because all our bowlers share in the championship, not just those who went to state. They’d have loved to go of course and train hard but they are so happy for everyone on the Central Peninsula who participated and won the championship that everyone shares in this victory,” she said. Kenai Mayor Pat Porter was on hand to congratulate all the bowlers and brought bunches of balloons to the celebration and said they had made everyone in Kenai proud of their achievement.
Local Special Olympic athletes will now move into the swimming and basketball season. Anyone with special needs can learn about participating in the local programs by looking up Central Peninsula Special Olympics on line, “There is a participation form there that has to be filled out and all athletes need a physical that tells us they are able to participate in the sport. We will have a registration for swimming and basketball in the next few weeks and will send out notices and put the information in the paper,” said Strayhorn. You may also donate on line and according to Strayhorn any donations given to the Central Peninsula Special Olympics goes to our local athletes and stays here on the Peninsula. “This is all done at no cost to the athletes, from facility expenses or travel expenses, we do all our own fund raising the largest of which is our annual torch run. We are always looking for volunteers, basketball and swimming coaches and we have a place for anyone who wants to help out. And of course our appreciation to all the local businesses and police and fire fighters who help throughout the year, without you none of these smiles and achievements would be possible.”