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Let the Games begin

The softball portion of the 2013 Special Olympics Fall Games will take place at Bielenberg Sports Complex this weekend. (Bulletin file photos)1 / 2
The Special Olympics Fall Games bocce event will be held at East Ridge High School.2 / 2

This week, the Special Olympics is coming to south Washington County. A portion of the Special Olympics Minnesota 2013 Fall Games will take place the weekend of Aug. 16 through 18 at East Ridge High School and Bielenberg Sports Complex.

The softball portion of the 2013 Special Olympics Fall Games will take place at Bielenberg and the bocce event will be held at East Ridge. In addition, East Ridge is hosting the celebration ceremonies, dinner and dance after the Games.

The other events in the Fall Games include equestrian, which will be held at the Northwest Saddle Club in North Branch, and golf, which will take place at Oak Marsh Golf Club in Oakdale.

Last year more than 1,200 athletes took part in the 2012 Fall Games. Athletes may enter events in multiple sports based on the schedule of events and the coaches' judgment of the athlete's ability.

The Special Olympics holds numerous events throughout the year, including the Spring Games, the Summer Games and the Fall Games. There are 18 sports available and over 70 percent of the athletes are over 18 years old.

Special Olympics Minnesota serves over 7,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities, providing them with year-round sports training and competition opportunities. In all, more than 2.5 million athletes from nearly 200 countries around the world benefit from participation in Special Olympics.

According to a release, Special Olympics Minnesota is founded on the belief that people with intellectual disabilities can, with proper instruction and encouragement, learn, enjoy and benefit from participation in individual and team sports, adapted as necessary to meet the needs of those with intellectual and physical disabilities.

Special Olympics Minnesota is still looking for volunteers for the Fall Games. Volunteers can help time events, distribute awards, keep score, stage competitions, set up and tear down for events, prepare for lunch, and more. To volunteer, visit or contact Jay Pedersen, Volunteer Manager, at or 612-604-1267.

Patrick Johnson
Patrick Johnson has been the South Washington County Bulletin’s sports editor since 2008. He reports on and oversees coverage of high school and amateur sports in south Washington County and Woodbury. Prior to joining the Bulletin, Johnson worked for other Twin Cities suburban newspapers. He is a University of Minnesota graduate.
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