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Local News

March 9, 2012

Very special athletes

Duncan Power Shop bowlers host tourney

DUNCAN — Getting ready to send some special folks to Special Olympics, Power Shop of Duncan is hosting a bowling tournament Tuesday, at Freedom Lanes.

Registration will begin at 6 p.m. and action begins shortly after, with funds raised to be used to cover expenses for sending Power Shop clients to compete in the 2012 Oklahoma Special Olympics in May in Stillwater.

While the bowling team has received monetary donations from local businesses and individuals for almost three months, another avenue was needed to bring in more funds.

That’s when Mark Watkins came to Rebekah Williams, the team’s coach, with the idea for the bowling tournament only a couple of weeks ago.

“When we approached the (Freedom Lanes) bowling alley about helping out. They were great and just embraced the idea,” said Williams. “It all came together in just a week’s time.”

The tournament is open to anyone of any age, whether or not individuals are sanctioned bowler.

A $10 fee will get each player at least three games in the 9-10, no tab tournament. The format means, if a player knocks down nine out of 10 pins on their first ball, they are awarded a strike.

Those who want to be a part of the event but can’t or don’t want to bowl, they can sponsor someone to bowl in their place.

It’s a great way to not only support the Special Olympics team — who named themselves The Unbreakables — but also can provide some fun for a child who doesn’t have the money to enter the tournament.

Several businesses have donated gift cards or gift items that will be given to the top winners of the tourney. There will be a certain top number of men, top number of women and a top number of youths that will receive the prizes.

“We want to express gratitude to those who have already donated and let anyone else know they are welcome to donate,” said Watkins. “Nothing is too big or two small.”

Most of all, the coordinators encourage the community to come out for a night full of fun at Freedom Lanes. Many of the Power Shop clients who will be participating in the Special Olympics will be there as well.

“If you’ve never bowled with any of the guys of Power Shop, it’s a blast,” Watkins said. “They’re just as competitive as anyone else and you can’t underestimate them.”

All of the money already collected and that raised Tuesday evening will go directly to the Special Olympics fund. These funds will pay for each team member to have two T-shirts, meals during the three-day state competition, travel costs and any other needs that may arise.

“It has been heartwarming,” Williams said, of the community response. “I believe the tournament will put us over the edge and where we need to be.”

Uniforms for the team are being printed by Power Print, a division of Power Shop. Therefore, it is essentially the members of the team who are hand-producing their own custom uniforms.

There are 20 members of the Unbreakables and each is allowed to compete in two events at the competition. First, they will participate in the Area Special Olympics in Lawton on March 30 and then go on to State. The special athletes practice two to three times a week at Halliburton Stadium, many times right along with Duncan High School student-athletes.

The Breakables are training to win, just as other serious athletes do, so this side-by-side training is a great deal of help.

“It helps them get into the competitive spirit and pushes them,” said Williams, who is in her third year of being directly involved with the Special Olympics. “It’s a really neat thing to witness.”

Participating in the event also helps Power Shop participants in making good health choices and staying in shape. Additionally, it boosts their moral and self-esteem.

“If you could just see them during just practice, it’s amazing,” Williams said. “They are all excited and (State) is all they can talk about.

“Seeing that change is so rewarding.”

Those wanting to donate directly to the Special Olympics fund may call Williams at 580-319-2478 or the Power Shop at 580-252-4516.

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