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More in Sports
Oxford County Special Olympics winter games
SPECIAL OLYMPIANS — From left, Chelsea Warner, Peter Hill, Cory Hutchins, Ryan Schwartz and Zachary Schoonmaker.
BRIDGTON — On March 6 and 7, Oxford County Special Olympics held its State Games at Shawnee Peak. More than 100 athletes, from Kennebec and Oxford County, 100 volunteer and 80 coaches came together to see a performance of abilities based on athletes' competencies, commitment and courage to their sport of choice.
Eight speed skaters competed at Bridgton Academy Ice Area. Wyatt Andersen was chosen for the 2012 outstanding skater award. Thanks to Jeffery Dobson as the venue leader; he offered 100m, 300m and 800m races.
The cross-country skiing venue challenged 17 skiers as Ray Broomhall offered 100m, 500m and 1K races. James Littlefield won the Ray Broomhall Award for outstanding athlete in cross-country skiing. From Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School, Peter Hill and Ryan Schwartz competed in both the 100 and 500m races. They proudly took home gold, silver and bronze in those races.
Downhill skiers were led by organizers Ken Ruff and Neil Williamson. More than 20 skiers competed in Slalom, Giant Slalom, Super G and BiSki. Zack Conley received the Shawnee Peak award for Alpine Skiing. Rentals and lift tickets were available at Shawnee Peak at no cost to the athletes or volunteers.
Sixty snowshoers took charge of the area in front of the lodge for their competition in the 25, 50 and 100 meter sprints. Rhonda Lausier, venue leader, did an outstanding job with this event. Stephen Dean won the Tubbs Snowshoe award for his spirited effort and enthusiasm. Chelsea Warner, Zachary Schoonmaker and Cory Hutchins proudly represented Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School. They were happy to bring home medals and ribbons in their events.
The National Guard provided a Humvee for athletes to get in, take pictures of and learn about the vehicle. The Easyriders, from Bridgton, graciously provided snowmobile rides all day on Tuesday. Athletes were so excited to go on rides and enjoyed them very much.
Smokey the Bear, accompanied by his Ranger, spent time with everyone on the mountain. The State Farm Bear encouraged the athletes in their events and attended the dance for pictures and congo lines with the athletes.
A bonfire at the base of the mountain provided some warmth outside to the chilly evening as athletes waited for the "Red Carpet Dance' to open for the evening entertainment. Caprice Littlefield took charge of this project and made it into an affair to remember. Athletes dressed up as there favorite “star.”
Athletes and coaches were able to stay on the mountain in the Shawnee Peak House and the Downeast Ski Club due to generous donations from each.
Shawnee Peak provided a cookout lunch on the mountainside along with a banquet dinner before the dance and bagged lunch for Wednesday. The athletes loved the food and listed it as one of the highlights of the games.
Mary Beth Sullivan managed the volunteers. The Special Olympics USA Scarf Project provided enough scarves for all athletes, coaches and volunteers to wear with pride in the opening parade and throughout the games.
The Oxford County Sportsmanship Award went to Momentum, a team from Casco. They showed courage, camaraderie and great effort in the games. The Mickey Boutillier Award went to Emma’s Happy Rebels, for their enthusiasm.
Oxford County athletes and volunteers were delighted with opening speakers Julie Parisien, USA Olympian - Alpine Ski and Barbara Smith, Deputy Commissioner, DHHS. Both women excitedly rallied the athletes and got them ready for the games.