SPECIAL OLYMPICS SWMO — People braved the cold water for Special Olympic athletes. The Rivers Bend Campground hosted the inaugural Great Pumpkin Splash Festival recently.
Participants jumped in Shoal Creek to raise money for the 1,600 Special Olympic athletes in Southwest Missouri. Rivers Bend used to hold the Polar Plunge in February, but the committee decided to try something new this year.
Robin Anderson, Development Director, says, “The new event thing is very exciting to us because we are just doing a little twist, and it is something a little different than what we’ve done in the past. We have a great committee that has pretty much done this on their own.”
“It helps with cost of competitions. I have watched the atheletes grow through our program. Special Olympics is a place they can show their gifts and talents and gives them self confidence so that they can shine.”
KSN 16 Meteorologist Chase Bullman was the emcee for the Splash, Chase did you jump in the water? “NO WAY, it was 46 degrees,” he told Shannon Becker on The Big 3 on KSN Local News after the event.
Billy Joslen is part of the committee that decided to move the event to ‘freshen up’ the fundraising by changing names and dates. “My inspiration for this program is that my wife and I have a granddaughter in Special Olympics. She loves to compete in bowling and basketball. And in the spring she does track and field. When these kids are doing their sports? There is nothing but smiles on their faces, and that is what it’s all about.”
It’s getting cold and the athletes will be spending time indoors competing in the winter. Coming up are bowling competitions, then basketball events.
The Great Pumpkin Splash event raised about $8,000.
“The program runs year-round. Athletes train and compete all year in a variety of sports,” Anderson states. They are also always on the lookout for volunteers for events and coaches to help the athletes.
Check out their ongoing calendar of events if you want to volunteer. CLICK here for the calendar.