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2017 - Gold Medal Gala


Story written by:  Megan Callahan (Young Athletes Program Intern)

On Saturday, October 28, Special Olympics Missouri hosted the inaugural Gold Medal Gala at the Grand Hall on Chouteau. This event helped raise money to continue sponsoring athletes to compete in local and area games.

As guests first walked through the doors, they were greeted by athletes Darrius Robertsbefore receiving their name tag and finding their tables. The venue was filled with gold balloons and the gentle rumble of conversations. Lining the walls were baskets for the raffle, many surrounded by interested guests. Along with the raffle, an auction and "Sponsor-An-Athlete" was held – raising a total of $49,000 for the athletes.

Fox2/KPLR 11 anchor and reporter, Andy Banker, emceed the event which began with the National Anthem. It was sung by athlete, Darrius Roberts, which brought some guests to tears. Other athletes in attendance were Brock Guseman, Lindsey Hawkins, Amanda Koch, Stephanie Littrell, Joseph Niemeyer, Christa Roth, Dakota Steffens, and Becca Tincknell.

Throughout the evening, a handful of athletes gave heart-felt speeches about how Special Olympics has impacted their lives and it was such a joy to watch the audience connect with these stories. Dakota Steffens said it best, "We all want to be productive members of society," when discussing the impact Special Olympics has made in his life. Dakota ended his speech with one of his favorite quotes: "The only disability in life is a bad attitude." – Scott Hamilton.

Gold Medal GalaThank you to law enforcement officers who worked alongside our athletes in many capacities. They greeted guests, sold raffle tickets, interacted with guests during the auctions, conducted the Torch Run around the perimeter of the venue, presented the Honor Guard, and preformed the pipes and drums. We were pleased that St. Louis City Interim Chief, Lawrence O’Toole, and St. Louis County Chief, Jon Belmar, were able to join us.

Thank you to our many sponsors.

  • Area Partners: Knights of Columbus, Law Enforcement Torch Run, Moneta Group, and Shop ‘n Save
  • VIP Partners: Chuck’s Boots and 590 the FAN
  • Gold Partner: Russo’s
  • Silver Partner: Pepsi
  • Bronze Partners: Argent Capital Management, LLC and Segal Consulting
  • Event Partners: Anheuser-Busch, Carolyn Niehoff Creative Services, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, and Fixture Contracting Inc.

In conclusion, thank you to the committee members, staff, and many volunteers who helped make this event a success.


Andy Banker


More photos from the 2017 Gold Medal Gala can be found here.

2016 Glo Run - benefitting Special Olympics Missouri



Special Olympics Missouri is proud to be the charity of choice for the 2016 Glo Run taking place on Friday, August 19 at Forest Park. As a for-profit healthy entertainment event, the organizers of the Glo Run want to give back to Special Olympics Missouri.

"We love the opportunity to help raise funds for and provide exposure to the charities we work with. We have helped to raise over $100,000 for partner charities and we encourage all participants to be a part of the giving and donate during registration." - Glo Run staff

If you are interested in volunteering, please visit the Glo Run website. We need at least 35 volunteers in order to receive $1,000 from the organization, so all of your help is appreciated. A sign in sheet will be provided the day of the event. Please be sure to mention that you are volunteering on behalf of Special Olympics Missouri. A list of volunteer job descriptions can be located here. Volunteers can also sign up through SOMO's volunteerhub, but you will also have to sign up with the Glo Run form seen above.

You are also encouraged to sign up for the event! The theme for the event this year is the 80's. So whether you volunteer, or participate, we hope you join us in bringing awareness to the great cause of Special Olympics Missouri.

For any questions or concerns, please contact Jennifer Krumm at

Special Olympics Athletes Invited to St. Louis Ambush!



St. Louis Ambush invited Special Olympics Missouri to Friday night's game in honor of former goalie, and current goalie coach, Jamie Swanner (pictured in a black button-down below). SOMO soccer players from Ft. Zumwalk teams and their families got to sit in the end zone during the game. They also received special "Keepers Korner" t-shirts, and went on the field for an autograph session with Jamie Swanner after the game. They had a wonderful time!

New to SOMO


An all new Cheer Team has joined SOMO! Introducing SOMO Shine!

We are excited and proud to announce that we now have a cheer team in our SOMO family! These athletes have been working hard at practices to be able to show off their talent at different events and games. SOMO Shine consists of many of our Special Olympics athletes who are energetic and ecstatic to perform for their friends, family, and fans all around the area.

SOMO Shine has already made a few appearances (see photos below) since starting this new team, but if you would like, come support our athletes as they would love to see you in the crowd cheering them on! Below you will find a list of future performances.

2/11 -6:45pm at Oakville High School

2/19 – 7:15pm at Lindbergh High School

2/24- 7:30pm Rockwood Summit High School

2016 St. Louis Metro Area Basketball Tournament


January 23, 2016, Special Olympics held the 2016 Area Basketball Tournament. This tournament took place in the Wright City and Warrenton areas, adding up to eight different venues. Each gym was filled with eager athletes, cheerful volunteers, and proud families and friends.

The Area Basketball tournament accumulated about 750 athletes who were all very excited and ready to play basketball all day. Athletes came from the Central Area, Southeast Area, as well as the St. Louis Area for a day filled with competition, family, and friends. Volunteers as well as family and friends were rarely seated during the many games as they were cheering on their friends and family on the court.

Events at this tournament included 3-on-3, 5-on-5, individual skills, and team skills. Each venue had games and events ranging from early morning to mid-evening with athletes who were focused and ready to compete. During this competition, athletes were awarded by many special volunteers, such as police officers from different areas. The athletes enjoyed taking pictures and visiting with the many volunteers for the day. All in all, it was a day filled with comradery, love, and support all around.

Play Unified



St. Louis Area held its first fully unified tack meet at Sullivan High School. Each athlete was paired with a unified buddy. The athletes got to spend the day with their unified partner and got to enjoy their time running together. The purpose of Play Unified is to help individuals with and without intellectual disabilities join each other in playing sports. Play Unified helped not only promote playing games together, but it also helped promote an end to using the r-word for good.

2015 Area Spring Games

Over 400 athletes registered for the Area Spring Games at Westminster High School. It took nearly 600 volunteers that helped make this event happen. The athletes had fun dressing up in 80s themed attire while playing the games. The Special Olympics staff encouraged athletes and volunteers to use the hashtag, #ASGRocks so that anyone could share their photos of the event.






Together We Can Make A Difference
The St. Louis Metro Area - Bocce Tournament took place on September 7th at Hillsboro High School.
Several students from Hillsboro High School willingly volunteered their time alongside their teachers.  A few of the students had volunteered for the event the previous year.  Despite whether or not they had previously volunteered, everyone in attendance was eager to learn and help in any way necessary in order to make sure the event ran smoothly - which it did indeed.
The students and teachers from Hillsboro High School were able to work closely with the athletes and coaches competing.  Several of the duties included keeping score and making sure the rules of the game were being enforced.  When questions or concerns were brought forth, the volunteers were polite and flexible.  Therefore, they were able to quickly address those in charge in order to relay the most accurate information.
One of the most important duties assigned was to have fun while cheering on the athletes, though.  The athletes fed off of the positive attitudes which were being displayed by the volunteers.  They were able to utilize the positive attitudes which contributed to the their hard work and determination on the field.  Ultimately, the athletes' hard work and determination was due to the countless hours spent preparing for competition.  However, volunteering has the ability to impact the lives of others in a positive way and it was evident that it occurred at this event.  
The Special Olympics Missouri staff is very appreciative and grateful for the relationships being built amongst the Hillsboro High School volunteers.  We hope to see even more students and teachers volunteering - not only for the St. Louis Metro Area - Bocce Tournament next year, but also for other volunteer opportunities in the near future.
Thank you Hillsboro High School!
If you'd like to volunteer for events like this, please check out our volunteer page.
SOMO Athletes Bat Against SILL at Celebrity Softball Tournament


For the second year, Special Olympics Missouri has been invited to compete against Special Olympics Illinois in a special game proceeding the Coach Fisher Celebrity Softball Game, hosted by the St. Louis Rams.  The Ft. Zumwalt Crush, also competing for a softball slot for the 2015 World Games, battled against the Beverly Farm Blue Jays from Illinois at the GCS Ballpark on Sunday, June 8.

Celebrities included St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher, current Rams players, cheerleaders and of course Rampage, the St. Louis Rams mascot. Former St. Louis Rams cheerleader and top 10 finalist on The Voice, Tess Boyer was on hand to sing the national anthem.

This is an exciting benefit to our partnership with the St. Louis Rams!


Maryville University Basketball Game

maryville, saints

Above is a picture from the Maryville game that was played on March 27 after the Maryville women’s game and before the men’s game. Over 1,600 fans jammed the arena. Maryville waived the usual $5.00 admission charge, and asked fans to donate whatever amount they wished to Special Olympics. If anyone did donate, Maryville gave them a choice of a free t-shirt, rally towel, or bobble head. All at Maryville were great hosts for Special Olympics, and they went above and beyond with the offer of free Maryville merchandise if someone made a donation.


The crowd was extra loud for the athletes while they played, and gave huge ovations as each basket was made. It was a great night for our athletes and a great night for Maryville University and its fans. We put on a great show, and so did they.


NextStep Athletes are on the Ball


NextStep for Life basketball players had the honor of participating in exhibition games at Northwest High School and De Soto High School in between their JV and Varsity basketball games. This allowed them to show off their basketball skills in a short scrimmage and promote NextStep for Life and Special Olympics Missouri. The 10-minute exhibition play sends such a powerful message to communities about the abilities of our Special Olympics athletes.

desoto, nextstep

Terri Dallas, Program Coordinator for Leisure Services at NextStep for Life said, "I am blessed with many amazing memories of our participants but these events allow our athletes to bless others with amazing memories as well. Thank you to our players for their positive influence and to our volunteer coaches for their great support and encouragement they give to our athletes."

Kim Kingsland is the De Soto High School Girls’ Head Basketball Coach and felt the strong impact as well. "Absolutely one of the best nights of basketball I have ever witnessed. It wasn’t about winning and losing last night, it was about courage, perseverance, teamwork and a winning attitude. I was truly blessed to be a part of our Special Olympics’ basketball game. The student body, staff, and spectators will have a wonderful memory of watching not only our De Soto High School Special Olympics athletes but also the NextStep for Life athletes play and enjoy the game of basketball. The spectators were hands down the best."

northwest, nextstep

Want to bring an event like this to your school? Contact St. Louis Program Outreach Manager Aimee Loyet at 314-961-7755 or at


Matt Krippel, 43, of Columbia, IL, was inducted into the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2013. Krippel was presented with the Special Athlete of the Year award for his outstanding contributions to Special Olympics Missouri – St. Louis Metro Area and the St. Louis sports community at the induction ceremony at the Millennium Hotel – St. Louis on November 20. This is the third year the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame has honored a Special Olympics Missouri (SOMO) athlete with its prestigious Special Athlete of the Year award.

Matt Krippel has been involved with Special Olympics Missouri since the age of 9, but at the age of 43, he is having a banner year in 2013.  He competes in basketball, track & field and softball on a yearly basis, but this January was selected as the only athlete from the St. Louis Metro Area to attend the 2013 Special Olympics World Games in South Korea, representing Team USA in alpine skiing.  After practicing his skills at Hidden Valley in Wildwood, Krippel won a silver medal in the Advanced Slalom competition, and a gold medal in the Super G competition in PyeongChang, South Korea. 

Krippel is also very involved in his community, employed by the local Market Place grocery store, an assistant to the Columbia High School football and soccer teams, and a helper with the Columbia Volunteer Fire Department. 

October Bowling Tournament

Bowling season is underway as the tournaments commence
across the state, wrapping up in December.
Please enjoy the photos below from one of our St. Louis bowling
competitions on October 26th.
If you'd like to volunteer for events like this,
please check out our
volunteer page.

bowling 2013

bowling 2013

bowling 2013

bowling 2013

bowling 2013

da-com Supports Area Spring Games

We are pleased to announce that da-com has renewed their partnership and
contributed $10,000 to Special Olympics,
with $5,000 going to Missouri & Illinois Area Spring Games.
We appreciate all they have done for our athletes,
and we are very thankful for their continuous support!

Da-Com 2013

Polar Plunge Registration is Open!

This "unbearable" event is a unique opportunity to show your
bravery as you support local Special Olympics athletes by
walking, running or crawling into the frigid winter waters
that Missouri has to offer.

Proceeds benefit Special Olympics Missouri’s year-round program of sports training and competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

Participants must be at least 10 years old and raise a minimum of $75 by event day. The Polar Plunge is a project of the Law Enforcement Torch Run(R) for Special Olympics Missouri. Various police departments, highway patrols, correctional centers and other law enforcement agencise around the state are proud to host this event.

There are TWO plunges in the St. Louis area: Lake St. Louis on February 1 & Maryland Heights on February 22. Register here:

Clayton PD 5k: Register & Volunteer!

Join us in this annual event that has become a staple in the Clayton community! Together with the St. Louis Track Club, the Clayton Police Department is once again hosting a 5k to benefit Special Olympics Missouri.

To learn more about the event and to register, please visit the following link:

To volunteer for the run and help make it a success, please click on this link:

This is a great opportunity for individuals wanting to get a few hours of community service and contribute to a great event, great city, and a great organization.

Questions? Visit the links above or contact Benay Hicks, Development Coordinator for Special Olympics Missouri at or 314-961-7755.

STLM Bocce Tournament

The STLM Bocce Tournament took place at Hillsboro High School on September 15. The coaches, Athletes, volunteers, and fans all had an amazing day! Please enjoy the photos below:

Our coaches preparing for the tournament
(become a coach!

The coaches and athletes ready for the day.

Our volunteers learning how to play/judge bocce
(become a volunteer!

Our amazing volunteers for the day learning how to play bocce.

Some of the bocce Unified Sports teams
(learn about Unified Sports!

More unified teams -- contact us if you want to learn how to be a unified partner!

Three unified teams kissing their medals.

Proud bocce players:

Some of the amazing bocce women.


Proudly displaying their medals.

Coach Spotlight

Congratulations to Paul Gerth, coach of the White Spirits team, for his nomination and win of the Fox 2 Pay It Forward program!  The St. Louis Metro Office is proud to report that Paul was recently nominated by a White Spirits parent for his patience and persistence as a basketball and softball coach, and after being selected for this honor, was presented with $500 toward his program, sponsored by Fox 2 and American Equity Mortgage.

Please follow this link for the full story from Fox 2 News.  Congratulations Paul!

Go Over the Edge for Special Olympics Missouri


Over the Edge to be held October 4th in St. Louis

(St.Louis) St. Louis Metropolitan PD and St. Louis County PD are dispatching a call for all thrill seekers. The 5th Annual Over the Edge event will be held on October 4, 2013.  Brave men and women seeking an experience of a lifetime will rappel Over the Edge of the Four Seasons Hotel at Lumiere Place.  In addition to the experience, they will be supporting St. Louis Metro athletes in Special Olympics who overcome their fears everyday.  All proceeds from the event benefit the 7,972 athletes who train and compete in Special Olympics Missouri here in the St. Louis Metro Area. 

Over the Edge is open to anyone 14 years or older who is a fan of having a good time for a good cause. The event is hosted by St. Louis Metropolitan PD and St. Louis County PD and will take place at Four Seasons Hotel at Lumiere Place.  Event festivities begin at 8:30
a.m. and the rappel starts promptly at 9:00 a.m.

Each participant will raise a minimum $1,000 to participate in Over the Edge.  Participants will be rewarded for reaching extreme fundraising goals:  $3,000/ $6,000/ $10,000.  Top Teams will be recognized in the fallowing categories: Top Corporate Team by Money Raised, Top Corporate Team by Members, Top School by Money Raised, Top School by Members, Top Family by Money Raised and Top Family by Members.   

The easiest and most efficient way to register and fundraise is online! Simply go to, sign up, and email your friends and families to support you.  You will receive an OTE Participant package to help you prepare and fundraise.  

Over the Edge sponsors include Shop ‘n Save, Blue Bunny and EPIC Systems.

For more information about Over the Edge, please contact Jennifer Brown, Development Director, at (314) 961-7755 or email

About Special Olympics Missouri

Special Olympics Missouri is a year-round program of sports training and athletic
competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. More than
16,000 athletes participate in 21 Olympic-type sports throughout the
state.  Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, and experience joy as they participate in the
sharing of gifts and friendship with their fellow athletes, their family and
friends, and communities across Missouri. Visit Special Olympics at Engage with us on Twitter @somissouri; 

Special Olympics Missouri is proud of our financial health returning 87 percent of
every dollar back to program services. We are privileged to be recognized with
these honors: Better Business Bureau A+ Charity Accreditation, Charity
Navigator 4-star rating and an inductee into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame –
Class of 2013.

Krispy Kreme Cops-On-Top June 13 - 15

Picture below: St. Louis County PD with cheerleaders at the Fenton Krispy Kreme.
Cops-On-Top St. Louis County

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and the Law Enforcement Torch Run® are teaming up for the 13th year to raise awareness and funds for Special Olympics Missouri athletes.

St. Louis County and Overland Police Officers will take to the roof of the Krispy Kreme retail shops located in Florissant(1090 W. Florissant Ave.), Fenton (1871 Bowles Ave.) and  South County (6935 S. Lindbergh Blvd.) from 6:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 13 and Friday June 14. On Saturday, June 15 law enforcement officers will be there from 6:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. They will collect donations from customers as they eat, hang out and have fun on the rooftop at Krispy Kreme. You might even see a little dancing up there!

St. Louis County Police Department and Overland Police Department hope to raise $5,000 during the event. Customers who donate $5 or more to the cause will get a sweet treat from Krispy Kreme. For generous corporations, organizations or individuals donating $1,000 or more, Krispy Kreme will give you a complimentary doughnut party.

RECAP : What has been going on in the STL Metro Area

 On May 29, Ameristar hosted the Law Enforcement Torch Run Kickoff! Above is a picture of the Chiefs of Police who attended.  The kickoff started at 8:00 a.m. with the torch being brought in by Jeff Ottenad's brother. This particular part of the LETR is called the Jeff Ottenad Route in memory of Jeff Ottenad, a Special Olympics Missouri athlete and Hall of Fame inductee. Captain Jim Moran was our emcee for the event. He did a fabulous job, as always.


On May 30, teams headed to Columbia, Missouri for State Summer Games at Mizzou! Athletes competed in Track & Field, Aquatics, Volleyball, Power Lifting, Basketball and Bowling. The Opening Ceremony was held on Friday evening. The Zooperstars put on quite a show for all of the athletes. Below is a picture of Tim Tebull standing on his head along with other Zooperstars!Zooperstars

 On June 9, athletes from West County Wildcats played softball against a the Clinton County Cats from Special Olympics Illinois at GCS Ballpark.  This event was hosted by Coach Fisher, the St. Louis Rams Head Coach.


West County WIld Cats are Playing Softball on Sunday, June 9 at GCS Ballpark


Coach Fisher Will Host "Jeff Fisher & Friends" Celebrity Softball Game at GCS Ballpark on

Sunday, June 9, 2013

St. Louis Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher will host his annual "Jeff Fisher & Friends" Celebrity Softball Game on Sunday, June 9, 2013 at GCS Ballpark in Sauget, Illinois. The event, which will be the second annual in the St. Louis region, will feature a celebrity home run derby, softball game and post-game fireworks show and benefit five charities: The BackStopppers, The Jack and J.T. Snow Scientific Research Foundation, Mercy Ministries, Wounded Warrior Project and Catch-A-Dream Foundation.

"The softball game is a great way for our players to come together for a night of fun while benefiting charity," said Fisher. "I think everyone in attendance last year – from the players to the fans – had a blast and we are excited to make it even bigger and better this year. GCS Ballpark provides an intimate setting for fans to get an up-close look at some of their favorite players and see their personalities away from the football field.  My hope is that it becomes a must-attend for Rams fans every year." 

In addition to the celebrity portion of the event, team partner Worth Fastpitch will host an "Expert Skills Exhibition" from 12:30-2:30 p.m. challenging participants from the age of 8-18 to test their throwing, bunting, hitting and running skills.  Following the skills competition, Worth Fastpitch will also host a home run derby, which will be open to paid attendees from 3-4 p.m.

At 4:15 p.m., Special Olympic athletes will take the field to participate in a bragging rights rivalry game featuring a team from Missouri taking on a team from Illinois. 

General admission tickets for the Special Olympics game, celebrity home run derby, celebrity softball game and fireworks show are available for $10 and reserved field seats are available for $25.

Participation in the Worth Fastpitch Expert Skills Exhibition and a general admission ticket are available for $30, and participation for the Worth Fastpitch Expert Skills Exhibition and a reserved field seat are available for $45. All tickets may be purchased through the Gateway Grizzlies ticket office at

Sponsorships are available by calling 314-781-5233.  Sponsors will be invited to a special VIP reception hosted by Coach Fisher on Saturday, June 8. 

LETR Kickoff at Ameristar Wednesday, May 29 at 8:00 a.m.

The St. Louis Route of the Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics Missouri (SOMO), founded by the Missouri Police Chiefs Association (MPCA), will take place with a special kickoff ceremony beginning at 8:00 a.m. at Ameristar Casino Resort and Spa in St. Charles on Wednesday, May 29th. Many Chiefs of Police, as well as local dignitaries and Special Olympics Missouri athletes, will be in attendance.

The particular part of the Law Enforcement Torch Run is called the Jeff Ottenad Route in memory of Jeff Ottenad, a Special Olympics Missouri athlete and Hall of Fame inductee. Jeff was training for his first marathon when doctors discovered cancer in his leg. Although he lost his battle to cancer, his memory and legacy continues still today. His family will be in attendance again this year. Jason Ottenad, one of Jeff’s brothers, now runs in memory of Jeff.

From Ameristar, local law enforcement officers will run while carrying the Flame of Hope through the streets of their communities. The officers will make a brief stop at the O’Fallon North Shop ‘n Save store (intersection of Mexico Road and Highway K) around 11:00 a.m. before making their way to Columbia, MO for the start of the State Summer Games.

The State Summer Games will be held at the University of Missouri (Mizzou) in Columbia, May 30 – June 2. The culmination of the Torch Run – lighting of the Flame of Hope – will take place during the Opening Ceremonies on May 31 beginning at 7:30 p.m.

The 2013 Dodge Challenger being raffled off by Special Olympics Missouri will also be in attendance for all to see. Tickets go on sale June 15. Make sure to purchase your chance to drive home a brand new 2013 Dodge Challenger.

The Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Missouri is an annual event. The guiding purpose of the event is to raise funds and awareness for more than 16,000 athletes who participate in the Missouri program. Special Olympics is Law Enforcement’s charity of choice, not only in Missouri, but throughout the United States and in 35 countries worldwide. More than 950 runners from 100 agencies from across the state of Missouri will participate in the 2013 Torch Run. These runners will complete 40 different routes and cover more than 1,000 miles across Missouri.

Bayless Middle School National Junior Honor Society Supporting Special Olympics Missouri

(Pictured above: Brandon Gaffney, SOMO Employee - Ellen Coots, Christa Hessler, Shannon Flynn)

Bayless Middle School National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) raised $300 for Special Olympics Missouri. 

Christa Hessler, Bayless Middle School Counselor and NJHS Adviser, tells the story of how this project came about, " The notion of disability awareness was sparked by a 6th grade student, named Alex Elmore who was doing a Boy Scout project and asked me what we do in our school for Disability Awareness. I brought the question to the NJHS kids and they ran with it. Adrijane Bobaj, Katie Burnia, Alexis Clemons, Isidora Duka, Morgan Dunnegan, Shannon Flynn, Brandon Gaffney, Lashaun Hymes, Ella Karahodzic, Nasiha Mesinovic, Immanent Nwosu, Andy Reyes, Endi Rizvic, Bida Vranjkovina and Connor Woodard are the members of NJHS who took on the project.  These students created lessons about different types of disabilities and presented them to other classes to bring about disability awareness in our school.

After the students presented to the classrooms, we held morning Krispy Kreme donut sales for the whole school called "Donuts for Disabilities" and raised $300. The students decided that the money should go to Special Olympics (Missouri)."

Christa, Brandon, Shannon and Lashaun volunteered at our St. Louis Metro Area Spring Games. Christa said, "After my experience there, I am hoping that this is something we will do every year. Thank you for all that you do!"


Special Olympics Missouri would like to thank Bayless Middles School NJHS for their work, thoughts, and contribution.

Thanks to our Athletes, Volunteers, Coaches and Sponsors for a Successful Area Spring Games


Special Olympics Missouri athletes did not let the rainy weather put a damper on their exciting day at the St. Louis Metro Area Spring Games. Approximately 350 local Special Olympics Missouri athletes competed in the 39th Annual St. Louis Metro Area Spring Games, presented by Special Olympics Missouri.  The games took place on Saturday, April 27 at Westminster Christian Academy.

The day began with our Opening Ceremonies hosted by St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Captain Jim Moran.  The ceremony featured a Parade of Athletes, Torch Run featuring local law enforcement and the presentation of several awards including our 2013 Outstanding Athlete award. Following the ceremony, athletes participated in track & field and aquatics events, won prizes at Victory Village and enjoyed lunch provided by Shop ‘n Save.

The St. Louis Metro Area Spring Games are made possible by the efforts of many.  More than 500 volunteers came to give their time for this event.  We also wish to give a special thanks to our Presenting Sponsors: Shop ‘n Save, AEP River Operations, 92.3 WIL, Da-Com, Cummins Mid-South, Safety National, Anthem BlueCross BlueShield and Proctor & Gamble Manufacturing Plant – St. Louis and our Opening Ceremony Sponsor, Huntleigh McGehee.

Quote for a Cause - Direct Auto Insurance

Direct Auto Insurance is partnering with Special Olympics Missouri! Have you been wondering if you could lower your car insurance? Call one of Direct's locations for a quote.  Direct will make a $10 donation to Special Olympics Missouri for every quote made at locations in Missouri until May 31, 2013.  They have 10 locations in Missouri. For a list of locations visit their website at

Successful Young Athletes Program Concludes at Lindbergh High School

A Young Athletes Program wrapped up this week at Lindbergh Early Childhood Education! Special Olympics Missouri partnered with Fontbonne University students in a Sports Management class to plan and run the 6-week Young Athletes Program. University students took turns planning the weeks’ activities and leading the Young Athletes and their Lindbergh High School A+ Tutoring Buddies. Sports that were focused on included soccer, volleyball, basketball and baseball. Many Fontbonne students are also student-athletes and were able to provide their expertise to our youngest Special Olympics athletes.

Young Athletes, Buddies and students were able to enjoy beautiful weather on the last day of the program and participate in sports on the Lindbergh High School track and field. Young Athletes enjoyed running and throwing stations before playing with the parachute and tackling the obstacle course. Each Young Athlete received a t-shirt, a certificate and a ribbon for completing their first Young Athletes Program!

The inclusive Young Athletes Program is designed to strengthen physical development, increase special awareness, build skills in concept development and improve self-esteem and self confidence for children through participation in sports and socialization by providing an experience that will lead to a lifetime appreciation of physical fitness and sports.

To learn more about the Young Athletes Program, please contact St. Louis Metro Associate Area Director Aimee Loyet at 314-961-7755 or

Athlete Spotlight: Spring 2013

Mr. Bret Taylor Hammond is our featured athlete! He is 11 years old and plays for Francis Howell Special Olympics. He competes in a variety of sports including: golf and basketball for Special Olympics, ice hockey for the Gateway Locomotives and baseball for the Sports Image Sharks at Bridgeton AA.  Bret has been a SOMO athlete for 3 years. His first sport he competed in with SOMO was golf, and this year is his first time playing basketball for SOMO. Bret's goal when competing is to have fun with his friends and play hard.  

 Francis Howell- Jim Hammond Coach with players Bret's Dad, Jim Hammond, is on far left. Bret Hammond is #25.

When asked what his favorite memory with SOMO is, he had two different perspectives and answers.  His first answered the question as an athlete. He said, "I made a really long putt last year at the SOMO State Golf Tournament, awesome baby!" As a volunteer, he said, "Saying the opening pledge at the Polar Plunge in Lake St. Louis this year and watching everyone run into the cold water, especially Chelsea and Tony, they cracked me up."

As Bret previously mentioned, he recited the Athlete Oath - Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt - in front of all of the Lake St. Louis Plungers this past February.  There were over 300 people in attendance; good thing Bret doesn’t have stage freight. 

 Bret Hammond at Lake St. Louis Polar Plunge

Advice Bret wants to give to other athletes is to always have fun, play hard, be nice and back up and let me shoot the ball! As it’s easy to see, Bret has quite a sense of humor. He is a joy to be around and can make anyone laugh.

Want to learn more about Bret? I thought so! Continue reading to find out what his interests are and important family facts.

Bret loves the St. Louis Blues especially David Backes, TJ Oshie, David Perron and Alex Pietrangelo. His love for St. Louis doesn’t stop with hockey; he also loves the St. Louis Rams. His favorite Rams players are James Laurinaitis and Sam Bradford. Of course, he can’t get enough of our St. Louis Cardinals! Matt Holliday, Yadi Molina, John Jay and David Freeze are his top picks.  Even though Albert Pujols isn’t with the Cardinals anymore, he still enjoys watching him play for the Angels. Bret sure loves his sports, but he ended his interview by saying, "I love my mom and my dog Buddy; he is 4 years old. And my Dad, he is 108, just kidding."

Thank you for all of your answers Bret. We enjoyed getting to know you and look forward to watching you compete!

 Bret Hammond Golfing

Plunging on the Wild Side Wrap Up for Creve Coeur Lake

Every winter SOMO fans get excited about the Polar Plunge. Sometimes the weather is in the 50's with the sun shining brightly, but this year the 662 plungers at Creve Coeur Lake got a taste of what it is like to be an actual polar bear. Below are Individuals, Schools and Teams we would like to recognize:

2013 Awards

Top Individual: Daniel Bridges - $4,000
Top School: Oakville High School

Golden Plunger Awards

Gold: St. Louis Falcons, Hawaiian
Silver: Squirrel Masters
Bronze: Clayton Police Department, Toy Story

Gold: Mehlville
Silver: Hazelwood Central, Ducks
Bronze: Sigma Tau, Saint Louis University, Gladiator

Most Spirited: Alpha Delta Pi, Saint Louis University

A special thanks goes out to Maryland Heights PD, Hazelwood PD, Pattonville Fire Department, Special School District, Knights of Columbus and the Boy Scouts.

Below is a picture of Oakville High School Plungers with their hard earned trophy!

Oakville High School students with the Polar Plunge trophy!

Whitfield School Opens Young Athlete Program to Community

Young Athlete Dylan 

Special Olympics Missouri is excited to offer our Young Athletes Program to any child 3- to 7-years-old hosted by Whitfield School in Creve Coeur! The Young Athletes Program is designed to strengthen physical development, increase special awareness, build skills in concept development and improve self-esteem and self confidence for children through participation in sports and socialization by providing an experience that will lead to a lifetime appreciation of physical fitness and sports. In addition, inclusion of children with and without intellectual disabilities is encouraged so every child is welcome!

The Whitfield Young Athletes Program will be held at the Whitfield School campus on Mondays, April 1-May 13 from 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. with students as Buddies to the Young Athletes. Buddies will provide individualized attention to the Young Athletes as they learn and grow sport-specific skills in order to have athletes ready for Special Olympics competition upon eligibility at 8-years-old.

To learn more about the Young Athletes Program or to sign up your child, please contact Aimee Loyet, Associate Area Director at 314-961-7755 or


West County Special Olympics Exhibition Basketball Game at Marquette High School

West County Special Olympics Athlete with Marquette Basektball Player 2-1-13

The West County Special Olympics team played a basketball game Friday, February 1 at Marquette High School.  In-between the JV and Varsity game against Jefferson City High School, West County took the court! The game lasted for 10 minutes, but the memories made that night will last forever. 

When asked to tell Special Olympics Missouri about the game, this is what Coach Mark Bussen had to say, "This was our fifth year of being able to play an exhibition basketball game at Marquette High. It is a real thrill for us to play before a big crowd, and our athletes definitely perform at a higher level with the large crowd cheering them on.

West County Special Olympic athlete Scott Carron is a Marquette graduate. He is well known by the students and the Marquette basketball players. Scott hit two long 3 point shots to bring the crowd and Marquette players to a standing ovation.

Scott was also honored by the JV team. They asked him to sign a boxing glove that they present to a player on their team after the game who exemplifies the fighting, winning spirit. Pretty cool that they made this gesture to include Scott on their team of winners.

Another highlight was the one handed cart wheel that Michael Owens did down the court after he made a basket.

Athlete Chris Hemman stands 6 foot 3 inches tall and could score 50 points if he so chose to do so. Instead, he continually would rebound, and spread the ball around so everyone got a chance to score. It is a concept that we utilize at every practice. Everyone gets a chance to be a star.

As I stayed for the Varsity game, I had numerous fans approach me to thank us for coming and tell me how much they look forward to seeing us perform each year. One mother became teary eyed as she said she was so touched by how everyone got a turn to shoot the ball.

Coach Shane Matzen has been our contact at Marquette and has become a big supporter of our team.In addition to the exhibition game, Shane Matzen, fellow coach Derek  Hoffman, and the Varsity players put on a two hour, New Year’s day clinic for us.

Coach Matzen always says it is the absolute best way to start out the year. We agree! Our athletes look forward to it like a trip to Disney World. We greatly appreciate their financial support of our program, and we really appreciate the time and effort they put in to make it THE BEST DAY EVER!"

Thank you Coach Mark Bussen for all of your hard work and passion that you have for Special Olympics Missouri. Marquette High School has been a great supporter of Special Olympics Missouri -  Thank you!

West County Special Olympics Team playing at Marquette High School 2-1-13

Recap of Lake St. Louis Polar Plunge


The people of Lake St. Louis and surrounding areas were certainly taking a step on the wild side by participating in the 10th Annual Lake St. Louis Polar Plunge! On Saturday, February 2, 335 brave individuals  took a dip in the freezing water of Lake Saint Louise. The shore was filled with friends and family watching the excitement!  Dean Alexander, Jeff Chapple, and Jeff Cook were the 3 plungers who were recognized for plunging all 10 years! There were around  40 people celebrating their 5th year plunging.  As registration started at 10:00 a.m., all sorts of clowns, donuts and cowboys came running through the doors. We even had a man riding a chicken, a mermaid with a shark(okay, the shark was actually a dog with a shark fin) and 2 sets of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory casts.  One of our most popular guests was Louie from the St. Louis Blues; we want to thank him for coming out to support the event! He plunged not once but twice!  

Another special thank you goes to the following:

Presenting Sponsors: Shop 'n Save and 92.3 WIL

Hosting Agencies: Lake St. Louis PD, O'Fallon PD, Wentzville PD and St. Charles County Sheriff's Department

 Event Host: The Lake St. Louis Community Association

The Lake St. Louis Polar Plunge was a great success, and it would not be possible without all of the amazing plungers and the support they receive from their family, friends, co-workers and communities.


Young Athletes Program at Fox High School - Enroll your 3-7 year old!

YAP 2012Fox High School Student Council is hosting a Young Athletes Program this semester. The high school students are Buddies to the Young Athletes from their early childhood center. In an effort to promote
inclusion, the Young Athletes are learning fundamental sports skills to
continue their involvement with Special Olympics throughout their life. At the
most recent session, the Young Athletes were learning how to hula hoop,
throwing and catching balls and played Red Light, Green Light. For more
information on the Young Athletes Program in the St. Louis area, please contact
Aimee Loyet at

SOMO Athletes Perform at a Lindbergh High School Basketball Game

St. Louis Metro Special Olympics Missouri athletes showed
off their basketball skills in front of Lindbergh High School basketball
players, students and fans on Friday, January 18. Following a basketball clinic
hosted by LHS last month, SOMO athletes returned to the court for a 10-minutes
exhibition style game before they took on the MehlvilleLindbergh Basketball Team with SOMO Athletes 1-18-13 Panthers. Being coached
by the varsity Flyers, two teams battled on the hardwood that was a tight
battle. The LHS Cheerleaders and dance team, Flyerettes, lined the court,
cheering through out the game and creating excited for our athletes. It was
truly a night the athletes won’t soon forget!

Matt Krippel is Heading to World Games in Korea!

Matt SkiingWatch out everyone, Matt Krippel is skiing all the way to the World games in Korea! Skiing has been Matt’s passion for a very long time, and he has grown to become one of the best in our area. This is a huge accomplishment and we will all be cheering for him from home.

Just to let you know a little about Matt, he has always been an avid sports fan. Along with skiing, he loves hockey, football, and basketball. His all-time hero is none other than the great Michael Jordan. Krippel always helps out with high school sports that everyone has even developed a nickname for him, which is "Coach Kripps!"

Another interesting fact about Matt is that he was given a plaque last month and names the 2012 Honorary Fireman. This means he gets to help out the firemen at his local department. How cool is that?

When ask what he favorite quote is, Matt responds "Let me win, but if I cannot win, be brave at the attempt and let me have fun and meet a lot of new friends – GO USA!" We are all looking forward to Marr Krippel going to the World Games in Korea. His older brother and sister are excited to see their little brother accomplish so much. Let’s all give him a huge round of applause and wish him the best of luck!  


St. Louis Metro Area Basketball - Saturday, January 26

It's that time of the year again! Basketball Season! Our St. Louis Metro Area Basketball tournament is scheduled for Saturday, January 26 in Warrenton at the following venues:Daniel Boone Elementary, Blackhawk Middle School, Rebecca Boone Elementary, Warrior Ridge Elementary, Warrenton High School and Holy Rosary Parish. The games will start at 8:00 a.m., with most gyms finishing by 6:00 p.m.

Last year, we hosted roughly 90 STLM teams and 7 Southeast teams in the following divisions:Regulation, Unified, Modified, 3-on-3, Team Skills and Individual Skills Basketball. We are expecting this year to be just as exciting.

We still need quite a few volunteers to serve as Awards Assistants, Score & Timekeepers and Referees; if you are interested you can go online to

http://www.penncomm/volunteermgt/showevents.php?clientD=1006 to register to volunteer. You can address Aimee at 314-961-7755 if you have any questions.



Athlete Spotlight: Winter 2012

Our athlete shining under the spotlight this winter is a wonderful lady by the name of Lindsey Hawkins. She has been a part of Special Olympics Missouri for a little over seven year and plays a handful of sports. The five sports she takes part in are basketball, softball, soccer, volleyball, and bowling. When asked what her favorite sport was, she said, "Basketball because that is the season we are in."  Lindsey has gone all of the way to the 2010 National Games in Lincoln, Nebraska for Volleyball and won second place!

Lindsey’s involvement in Special Olympics Missouri is one that we appreciate greatly. She has been a Global Messenger for three years  and has reached out to ten different schools. As a Global Messenger, she speaks about the benefits of being an athlete with SOMO and tries to recruit others to join. Lindsey has also done three Spread the Word  campaigns recently and will be doing two more pretty soon. The Spread the Word campaign is trying to eliminate the use of the word retard.  She went Over the Edge in St. Louis in 2011 and fundraised for both, 2011 and 2012. She could not go Over the Edge this year due to a weather cancellation but she definitely plans on participating again. Below is a picture of Lindsey at the 2011 Over the Edge!

Lindsey 2011 OTE

Her favorite thing about Special Olympics Missouri is that it has given her a chance to develop many skills, win medals and make new friends. She says the most important thing is to have fun and that is what SOMO allows her to do. When Lindsey is not taking part in Special Olympics Missouri activities, she is filling her days with other activities she is fond of. Outside of SOMO, Lindsey likes to clean off the clipboards at her church, St. Paul’s in Des Peres, to get them ready for Sunday service. She enjoys watching television, and her favorite show is Law and order: SVU. Lindsey’s favorite food is always pizza over anything. When asked what her favorite color was, she state that she has many but if she had to choose it would be "purple and red…Cardinal red."   Lindsey would like to thank Mark Bussen for being an awesome coach.


We  want to thank Lindsey for being so passionate and involved with Special Olympics Missouri. We appreciate all of the time she has dedicated. She definitely sets a great example for all athletes everywhere.  If you would like to have Lindsey come speak at your school about the upcoming Polar Plunges please contact our office at 314-961-7755.

Basketball Clinic put on by Lindbergh High School

Lindbergh Basketball Clinic 2012

STL Metro Special Olympics Missouri  basketball athletes joined Lindbergh High School’s Varsity Flyers on December 14, 2012 for a Basketball Clinic. Led by Coach Wolford, the Flyers practiced and perfected our athletes’ skills, ran drills and scrimmaged. "I made seven 3-pointers in a row" an excited Daxton Miller, a Special Olympics Missouri athlete, said after the event.

All of the athletes that participated in the clinic were invited to return on January 18, 2013 for a 10-minute game prior to the Lindbergh Flyers hosting the Mehlville Panthers to show off their enhanced skills!

STL District Bowling

2012 STL District Bowling TournamentIt was a great weekend for bowling to start off the month of December! Special Olympics Missouri had its District Bowling Competition on December 1st and 2nd, and it was a great success. The weekend competition was taken over by talented bowlers which determined who would be advancing to the state level competition. Attendance rocketed up to 712 bowlers! Of the 712, 655 were Special Olympics Missouri athletes and 57 were Unified partners. Congratulations to those who advanced to the state level bowling competition! Thank you Harvest Lanes and Cave Springs Lanes for letting us use your facilities for this exciting event!


The bowling action has not ended for the month! West St. Louis County Kiwanis Club and The Bonhomme Lions Club are sponsoring the wonderful "Holiday Bowl for Special Olympics." This bowling event will take place on Sunday, December 16th from Noon to 3:00 PM. It will be held at West County Lanes. It is going to be a wonderful afternoon filled with bowling fun and socializing! Reserve your lane before they are all gone! If you are interested for more information, please call Ellen Coots at the Special Olympics Missouri –St. Louis office at 314-961-7755.

2012 Law Enforcement Torch Run International Conference

The 2012 Law Enforcement Torch Run(LETR) International Conference was held in Indianapolis on November 7 to November 11. Two staff members from the STL Metro Office and two staff members based out of the STL Metro Office were able to attend this exciting conference. This conference was a great opportunity to meet other Special Olympics staff members from all over and talk with key players in the LETR.

There were concurrent sessions that touched on a variety of important information from fundraising ideas to basic LETR facts. Hopefully, we will be able to try out some of the fundraising events in St. Louis.

Before each meal, Special Olympics Indiana athletes gave a short presentation and introduced the speaker. After our learning days were over, Special Olympics Indiana had special events planned for the evenings. One of the crazy events was the t-shirt exchange. Each state/country brought some sort of merchandise representing their country. Then everyone went around a large room trading shirts and badges. On Saturday, hundreds of law enforcement agents were ready to run in the special Torch Run! Following the Torch Run, there was LETR Bowling Open- Unified. 

Everyone from SOMO and all of our LETR guests enjoyed their time at the conference.  Special Olympics Indiana did a wonderful job hosting.

2012 LETR Conference

St. Louis Runners Supported Special Olympics Missouri

On Sunday, November 5 around 7:00 a.m., the Center of Clayton was filled with 1,491 runners ready to run a half-marathon and other runners ready to race in a 5K through downtown Clayton. Kids were also there waiting to participate in the Youth 1/2 Mile Run.  Here is a picture of Jennifer STL Metro Development Director and Mark Bussen, SOMO coach, fundraiser and fan, before he ran the half marathon.

 Jennifer and Mark Bussen

Below is a picture of the starting line before the half-marathon began. There were 1,246 participants. We even had a couple people run who were signed up for the NYC marathon, but couldn't since it was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy.

Starting Line- Clayton Half Marathon 2012

Area Bowling

Over 500 Special Olympics Missouri athletes and fans came out to Harvest Lanes and Cave Springs Lanes in St. Peters, Missouri for the Area Bowling Tournament. For some athletes, like Ricky MacDonald of St. Louis City Bowlers, this was their first ever bowling tournament with Special Olympics Missouri. Athletes competed in thirteen events across five sections to take home gold, silver and bronze medals for their efforts. The Area Tournaments are opportunities for the athletes to qualify for Districts in December and State in May. Many of our athletes reached their personal goals of obtaining new high scores and were definitely excited to show off their new medals to the family, friends, and fans that supported them.

Come and volunteer at our District Bowling Tournament! It will be on December 1st and 2nd at Harvest Lanes and Cave Springs Lanes in St. Charles and St. Peters, Missouri. We need a lot of help to get the tournament rolling smoothly. Please visit for more information, or to sign up as a volunteer.

Shop 'n Save- Bowling for Special Olympics Missouri

Shop 'n Save is hosting a 9-Pin no tap tournament on Saturday, November 10, 2012 at St. Charles Lanes. The cost is $25 per person with a 7:00 p.m. check-in and a 7:30 p.m. start.  Join us for this 9-pin no tap tournament that will include Men's and Women's Divisions, Strike Pot tickets, great raffles and 50/50 tickets. All proceeds benefit SOMO. To reserve your spot call St. Charles Lanes at 636-949-0311.  For more information contact Eric Davis 636-343-1216 or Denise Bennett 314-984-1518.  Thanks to the sponsors: Shop 'n Save, Blue Bunny and Barcom Security!

Wheels For Winners Raffle

We are one step closer to the announcing the Grand Prize winner of a 2012 Mustang Convertible! The final raffle tickets for Wheels for Winners were turned in on Wednesday, October 31. The Wheels for Winners Raffle drawing party will be on Monday, November 5th at McMahon Ford.

McMahon Ford won the lunch party by being the automobile dealership that sold the most raffle tickets. The drawing at McMahon Ford will determine the two finalists representing the St. Louis area. There will also be a 2nd and 3rd place winner. Respectively, they will win a $100 and $50 gift card. The drawing lunch party is open to the public, so feel free to come and spread the word.

On November 17th, the two finalists, each accompanied by a guest, will be attending the MIZZOU tailgate party and game. At the game, all eight finalists of Missouri will be handed a key and the one with the key that starts the 2012 Mustang is the winner! We will post the winners and finalists on our webpage.

You Can Still Sign Up Your Child For Our Young Athlete Program

YAP: Boy playing with soccer ballJoin us on November 3 and 17 for our Young Athlete Program at the Academy of the Sacred Heart! Designed for children ages three to seven, student volunteers will take the Young Athletes to various specific sport-centered stations to prepare them for some of the 21-year-round sports offered by Special Olympics Missouri. Each session, children with intellectual disabilities and those who are typically developing will learn the fundamentals of sports. Email or call our Associate Area Director, Aimee Loyet, for more information about this exciting and educational outlet for your child! Aimee's email is

Restaurants near SLU are helping the SLU Baseball Team Fundraise for Over The Edge

SLU Baseball team profit shareThe Saint Louis University Baseball Team is engaging the SLU community to help raise money for Over the Edge.  On Tuesday night, September 25th, Pickleman’s near SLU had a profit share to help SLU’s Baseball Team reach their goal of $1,000.  Alex Alemann, pitcher for the Billikens, is taking on the challenge of going Over the Edge on October 5th. The profit share was from 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Despite the stormy weather, a lot of athletes and students came to support the SLU Baseball Team and SOMO. To the left is a picture of members of the SLU Baseball and Field Hockey Teams.  At the end of the night they made $300.

Pappy's  Smokehouse showed their love to the baseball team and SOMO by donating $200 worth of gift cards.

Thank you SLU Baseball Team, Pickleman’s and Pappy's Smokehouse for supporting Special Olympics Missouri!



St. Louis Metro Area Bocce Tournament

Teams from the St. Louis Metro Area gathered at Washington University for the area bocce tournament on Sunday, September 16th. It was a busy day for all the athletes with 8 games going on at once from 1:00 - 4:00.

Tim at STL Bocce CompetitionHere is a picture of Timmy, an athlete who competed in Unified doubles. He did a fantastic job and won the gold medal.

 Aimee Loyet, Assiocate Area Director, said, "With this being my first event since I came on board with Special Olympics Missouri in August, it was a defenate success for all teams competing. It wouldn't have been possible without the support of the Washington University students who volunteered. What made it more exciting was how enthusiastic and impressed the students were of our athletes and their bocce skills."

We look forward to seeing the teams compete at our 2012 State Fall Games in Cape Girardeau this October.

Athlete Spotlight : Fall 2012

Brock at STL Bocce 2012

Brock Guseman is our featured athlete! The picture above is Brock at the STL Metro Area Bocce Competition on Sunday, September, 16th.   He had a successful day and brought home the Gold in singles.

For 13 years, Brock has been competing in Special Olympics Missouri.  In the summer of 2011, Brock went to the World Games in Greece for 3 weeks to compete in Bocce.  He said he did a lot of practicing, but I am sure all the hard work paid off once he took his first step onto the plane to take him overseas. He placed 3rd in singles, 3rd in doubles and 4th in team… Who knew we had a champion bocce player right here in St. Louis! His favorite part about the whole trip was getting to play against people from all over the world.  Another favorite memory was beating Italy.

Brock competes in bocce, softball and basketball. Even though he is an all-star in Bocce, his favorite sport is softball; he plays left field. When asked what was his favorite part about SOMO is, he said, “Being able to compete and make new friends.” Of course, his favorite memory with SOMO is going to Greece.  Brock loves being active, helping out in the community and meeting new friends.  The St. Louis Cardinals are his favorite sports team, and he loves going to Cardinal and Rams games.

Not only is Brock a superb athlete, he also helps fundraise for SOMO. He is participating in Over the Edge on October 5th. He will be rappelling 19 stories down the Four Seasons Hotel at Lumiere Place. If you would like to help him fundraise you can visit his webpage at


It is such a joy to have Brock involved with SOMO. He is always fun to be around and will make you smile within a second of seeing him.  Not only does he have a great sense of humor, he also has awesome dance moves!  Brock, thanks for your commitment to SOMO.

The Employees Community Fund of Boeing St. Louis is Supporting Us!

Special Olympics Missouri received a $5,000 grant from the Employees Community Fund (ECF) of Boeing St. Louis.  The funds from this grant will be used to support Special Olympics Missouri athletes, training and competing here in the St. Louis Metro Area. We serve 8 counties and have 7,811 athletes involved in our program.  We would like to thank the ECF of Boeing St. Louis. 

It's Not Too Late To Register For OVER THE EDGE!

You can still register for Over The Edge.  Tell all your family, friends and co-workers that they can still register to rappel 19 stories down the Four Seasons Hotel at Lumiere Place on October 5th.  If you consider yourself someone who likes taking on new challenges then this is your perfect opportunity.

We know that Halloween is still a month away, but to make this event a little more exciting (I know you are thinking, "It is already so awesome, what could make it even better?" Well, you can rappel dressed in a costume and show everyone that you aren't only adventurous, but that you are also creative and cool. Test out that costume! If you don't plan on dressing up for Halloween then dress up for SOMO. Tell everyone that if you raise $1,000 in 3 weeks that you will dress up as a Superhero or Disney character.  We already have a group of girls dressing up as Nerds... What will you dress up as?

Vineyard Values Card Wine Tasting Event

Vineyard Values Card hosted their 2nd Annual Missouri Wine Tasting Event at the Magic House on Thursday, September 6th from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Guests had the opportunity to sample wine from a variety of Missouri wineries including Stone Hill, Montelle, Mount Pleasant, Les Bourgeois and St. James. Along with the wine sampling and appetizers, guests enjoyed live jazz music. 

Due to the inclement weather, the event had to take place inside The Magic House. The picture to the left, is the representative from Montelle talking with guests.   

Cliffedge Marketing hosted this delightful event. A part of the proceeds were given to Special Olympics Missouri.

Thank you for thinking of us Cliffedge Marketing.

Cruisin' 67 in the Rain

2 Hot Rods

On Saturday, August 25th all different types of cars were cruising around Festus and Arnold, Missouri.  The Shop 'n Save stores in those locations hosted a car cruise to support Special Olympics Missouri. Corporate partners included Reuther Ford, John's Auto Body and S&J's Snow Cone Shack. At each stop, the cruiser drew a card for his/her poker hand.  Along with showing off your ride and playing poker, one stop had free hot dogs and soda! At the end of the cruise, the player with the best hand won a prize.  Special Olympics athletes were also there to judge which car they thought was the best. 

Thank you to all the car enthusiasts who conquered the rain, Festus and Arnold Shop 'n Save, their corporate sponsors, Cruisin' 67 volunteers and a big thanks to Paul Warden!

Judging the Corvette                 Look inside here!

Marine Industry Charity Golf and Softball Tournament

AEP River Operations hosted the Marine Industry Charity Golf and Softball Tournament. The golf tournament was on Friday, August 17th at Pevely Farms while the softball tournament was on Friday, August 17th and Saturday, August 18th at Marshall Field in Kirkwood.  This event had tons of participation! 64 foursomes played in the golf tournament, and 37 teams played in the softball tournament. Talk about a tournament!

Special Olympics Missouri athletes participated in the Opening Ceremonies at the softball tournament.  The athletes from the West Co. Team were Lindsey Hawkins, Eric Haines, Chris Hemman, Tim Sitek and Seth Kimzey along with SOMO coaches Mark Bussen and Pat Hawkins.  Brian Williams and Brian Peters, members of Boy Scout Troop 748, helped with the event.   Jennifer Brown, SOMO St. Louis Metro Development Director, attended the golf tournament on Friday and softball on Saturday.  She was happy to see everyone enjoying themselves while helping out SOMO.

Thank you AEP River Operations for presenting SOMO with a $40,000 donation from this year’s event.  We are so thankful for our relationship with you and your kindness. Our 7,811 athletes appreciate you.

AEP Check Presentation

2012 Gateway Golf Benefit

The 2012 Gateway Golf Benefit painted the perfect picture of a gala and golf benefit. From the numerous amount of smiling people to the rooms filled wall-to-wall with donated auction items, we knew that this year's event was already a success.  We had sponsors, volunteers and members of the community who went above and beyond to help Special Olympics Missouri. 

To kick-off the evening, the participants walked through rooms stocked with silent auction items.  These items varied from baseballs signed by Stan Musial to big coolers overflowing with beverages, food, picture frames, etc. For those of you that weren't able to attend, here are some of the silent auction items: bicycles,  St. Louis Cardinals tickets, wok grills, baskets filled with candles, wine, beer and candy, basketball goals, foosball tables, autographed  sports photos and golf bags.  Dinner began at 7:00 p.m. in the gorgeous dining room. After dinner, Brock Guseman, a Special Olympics Athlete and Global Messenger for Special Olympics Missouri, gave a moving speech about the joy that Special Olympics Missouri brings him. He had the biggest smile and was so grateful for every single person in the room.  He shared with the crowd that he was taking on the challenge to go Over the Edge on October 5th.  By the end of the night, people had donated $829 to his fundraising efforts. 

The fun wasn't over after dinner; there was still a live auction! Bo Matthews was this year's auctioneer. One memorable bidding war was for the chance to take a trip with the St. Louis Ram's Football Team and Coaches.  This entailed flying on their private plane, fancy dinners, overnight accomodations, and watching the Ram's play the Arizona Cardinals.  The winner was a lovely woman who got this for her husband(that night was his birthday)!

At 6:30 a.m. on Monday, August 6th, the golf registration began for the morning round of golfers. They had a beautiful morning with the temperature staying below 85 degrees.  After their round, the golfers were welcome to eat lunch and bid on another silent auction.  The afternoon round of golfers were also invited to eat lunch before their day on the course.  After they finished golfing, appetizers were provided and there was yet another silent auction.  Needless to say, everyone had a chance to bid on auction items and leave with that they just couldn't live without. 

Whitey Herzog and Ozzie Smith participated in our event by enjoying a day on the course, but they weren't the only athletes out there. Special Olympics Athletes helped make putts for our foursomes all day. Here are a couple pictures of an athlete with a foursome. 


With the help of all the outstanding members of the community that supported our 2-day event, we were able to make this possible. We are proud to say that we raised over $330,000! Thank you! We would like to give our biggest thank-you to Shop 'n Save and all their vendors for making this benefit possible. 

Special Olympics Missouri loves Shop 'n Save! 

Young Athletes Program at the Academy of the Sacred Heart

Special Olympics Missouri is offering Young Athletes, a program for children between the ages of 3 to 7 with intellectual disabilities.  Young Athletes introduces the world of sports to children.  Athletes will rotate through stations to practice motor skills including: walking, running, balance, jumping, throwing, catching and more.  This program strengthens physical development and self-esteem for children by building skills for future sports participation and socialization. 

The goals of the program are to:

  • Improve physically, cognitively and socially
  • Raise awareness by educating the public about the diverse abilities of children with intellectual disabilities
  • Offer children with intellectual disabilities and their peers opportunities for meaningful interaction that leads to future relationships of mutual respect, friendship, and inclusion
  • Introduce new families to the resources and support available within Special Olympics
  • Give the children confidence and readiness to start participating in Special Olympics by the age of 8

A five-week program will be held at Academy of the Sacred Heart. The dates are Saturday, September 22; October 6,20; November 3,17. The time is from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. The address is Academy of the Sacred Heart, 619 North 2nd Street, St. Charles, MO 63301

This is a great project for A+ students, Student Councils or any group of youth volunteers.

Contact Jocelyn Diehl at 314-961-7755 or to register or with any questions.

Shop 'n Save Benefit BBQ



Did you drive down Manchester Road on Wednesday, July 25th and wonder what that black big rig was doing in Kirkwood's Shop 'n Save parking lot? Well, to answer your question, Johnsonville Sausage's Big Taste Grill came to help Shop 'n Save support Special Olympics Missouri.  For $3 people could purchase a brat, chips and a drink.  Even though you could have probably grilled on your sidewalk on that toasty afternoon, people still came out and helped us raise $1,877!  Thanks to Shop 'n Save, Johnsonville Sausage, our volunteers and everyone who helped make this a great day!

Fun facts about the Big Taste Grill:
- 20 feet tall
- 60 feet long
-Semi-tractor's name is Miss Shelly
-Can cook 750 brats at a time
Calling All Volunteers!

The St. Louis Metro Area is in need of new coaches! If you are interested in volunteering on a weekly basis, we can train you as a SOMO coach and place you with a group of athletes that is in need of a coach for any of our 14 area sports!

There is an immediate opening for an Aquatics head coach with the STL Zoomers. Practice space at the UMSL pool has already been secured for the winter, and a team of eight experienced swimmers is in need of a new coach.

Please contact Area Director, Jocelyn Diehl, at (314)961-7755 or for more information on coaching in the St. Louis Metro Area.


Athlete Spotlight: Summer 2012

Davo Sargent is our Athlete of the Summer! While residing for the past year at St. Louis Life, he has competed in basketball and golf. His favorite memory with SOMO is winning the 2011 Golf State Championship. He is interested in playing bocce, and learning more about the sport of powerlifting. Besides being an awesome athlete, Davo also volunteers at the SOMO St. Louis Metro office.

When asked what his goal is, he responded, "To do the best I can and not be disappointed with my performance. I don’t expect to win the highest honors; I just expect to be happy with myself. If I don’t win a single event, but I did the best I could, then I’m happy with that."

His advice to other athletes: As long as you’ve done the best you can, there is no reason to be disappointed. Don’t give up. Always give as much as you possibly can.

3 things you should know about Davo: 1) Loves to be active 2) Enjoys the City Museum and Sky Zone 3) Likes learning about the Asian culture

A great life moment of his is when he went on an Alaskan cruise in 2007 with his mom. The 10 story boat was so big that he didn’t even find the movie theater during his whole trip. While in Skagway, he took a helicopter ride to the top of glacier. If that wasn’t a big enough thrill, he went dog sledding with dogs that have competed in the Iditarod race. He was able to watch black bears catch salmon out of the river. He will never forget that amazing trip.

Here is a picture of Davo volunteering at the SOMO St. Louis Metro office.

Manchester Police Department: Clean Up for Special Olympics

If you ate at Tucker's Place West on Thursday, May 31st, you know that the service was a little different than normal. Manchester Police Department donated their time and talent to bus the tables from 4:00 p.m. till 10:00 p.m. They went above and beyond their duty of bussing tables; they interacted with all the customers and created awareness for Special Olympics Missouri. Their efforts helped raise $6,375! According to Officer Dave Ebert, the shining star of the evening was Officer Nick Sampson. He is a new officer from England; so of course, everyone was waving him over to their own table so they could hear his British accent.

Clean Up for Special Olympics, a Law Enforcement Torch Run event, takes places annually at Tucker's Place West on the Thursday after Memorial Day. What a great way for the community to enjoy delicious food while supporting an amazing organization.

Tom Shelrik, owner of Tucker's Place West, was a huge part of this event. Thank you Tom and Manchester Police Department!


Left to Right: Officer Ebert, Staff: Ellen Coots, Chief Walsh

St. Louis Metro Area Golf Tournament

On Saturday, June 16th, the STLM Area Golf Tournament took place at Troy Country Club. The event kicked off with a shotgun start at 7:00 a.m., and individual skills began at 8:00 a.m. Around 90 athletes were able to participate in this fun-filled day. They did not let the hot weather get in the way of their golf game. Great scores were achieved, leaving athletes with smiles and stories to tell. After everyone finished golfing, a fantastic lunch was served, and athletes were recognized for their performance at an awards ceremony.

Thanks to Jan Bettencourt and Troy Country Club for hosting and putting together a great Area Golf Tournament!


2012 Area Spring Games

On Saturday, April 28th, athletes traveled from all over St. Louis to compete in Area Spring Games located at Westminster Christian Academy. We had a great Opening Ceremony filled with recognition of all those who helped make the Area Spring Games possible, a parade of all the athletes competing and a torch run. During opening ceremonies awards were handed out to most oustanding athlete, volunteer, coach, officer and business. Justin Bernhard, a local athlete out of Florissant won outstanding athlete of the year. Steve Farkas a coach for Fort Zumwalt was awarded most outstanding coach of the year. Most outstanding volunteer went to Rose Schwendemann and most outstanding business went out to Cummins Mid-South. Our most outstanding police officer went to Christopher J. Pigg, the Chief of Police for the Herculaneum Police Department. Both Track & Field and Swimming events started at 10:30am and finished up around 3:30pm. Many personal records were broken and many friendships were made thanks to all the buddies that volunteered for the day. While our athletes were not competing they had the chance to listen and dance to some great music, play arcade games and goof off at Victory Village. We had guest appearances made by the Lindenwood University Football team, Rampage and Fredbird, who were all available for pictures and autographs. Overall it was a great day full of fun competition. We were very lucky to get all events done and everyone home safe before the bad storms hit. St. Louis Metro athletes will now take their talents to the 2012 Summer State Games in Columbia, May 29. A Special thank you to Westminster Academy for hosting the games and to all of the volunteers and fans who came out to watch these fantastic athletes compete!

Athletes Compete in the McCluer North Powerlifting

On Saturday, March 10th at 9:00am three athletes competed in the McCluer North Powerlifting competition. Jason, Justin and Nick (pictured) put their strengths to the test while competing in events such as Deadlift, Squat and Bench Press. These athletes truly tested their endurance and strength and had a great time! If any athletes are interested in competing in Powerlifting please contact the St. Louis Metro Area office for more details. Congratulations again Jason, Justin and Nick!




The 2nd Annual Gateway Golf Benefit 
Returns to Norwood Hills Country Club on August 5, & 6, 2012

Last year we had 288 golfers in the morning round and 288 golfers in the afternoon round for a total of 576 golfers. The event raised $372,217.55.

Our Annual Gateway Golf & Gala takes place on Sunday, August 5 at 4:30 p.m.  Join us for cocktails, silent and live auctions hosted by a local celebrity and buffet style dinner. It's a great opportunity to socialize and connect with other Special Olympics Missouri supporters.

If you are a golfer, join us again Monday, August 6 at 6:30 am for our golf tournament.  The day starts with breakfast, contests, and another round of silent auction bidding, before golfers take to the tees! The afternoon golfers may begin registering at 11:00am with their shotgun start promptly at 1:00pm. Afternoon golfers will also have a chance to bid on a round of afternoon silent auction items and enjoy a post-tournament cocktail hour with appetizers.

*All sponsorship packages include 4 tickets to the Gateway Golf Gala*

Signage at each table
Mentioned at event
2 foursomes, morning or afternoon
Additional 4 tickets to Gala

Recognition via signage as sponsor of open bar (including cheese & fruit platters)
1 foursome, morning or afternoon

Name/logo on silent auction bid sheets
Oral auction brought to you by “your company” mention throughout the night
1 foursome, morning or afternoon

You and your guests to sit at the presidents table during gala event
Company sponsorship mention at event
1 foursome, morning or afternoon

*All sponsorship packages include 4 tickets to the Gateway Golf Gala*

2 foursomes
Additional 4 tickets to Gala
Hole sponsorship sign at each course
Your banner in pavilion area

2 foursomes for the round
Additional 4 tickets to Gala
2 hole sponsorship signs
Your banner hanging in pavilion area

2 foursomes, morning or afternoon
Additional 4 tickets to Gala
Signage on each table

1 foursomes, morning or afternoon
Signage on each table

Signs with your company's logo on every golf cart
1 foursome
2 hole sponsorship signs

Your company logo on pin flags, east or west course
1 foursome, morning or afternoon

Name/logo on silent auction MORNING bid sheets
1 foursome, morning or afternoon

Name/logo on silent auction AFTERNOON bid sheets
1 foursome, morning or afternoon

Your company name on the president’s cart
1 foursome, morning or afternoon

Company name on scorecards, morning or afternoon
1 foursome, morning or afternoon

1 foursome, morning or afternoon
Signage on driving range

1 foursome, morning or afternoon
Signage on putting green

FOURSOME - $1,200
1 foursome for the morning or afternoon round

Your logo included on sign at (1) hole on course

If you are interested in being a sponsor, joining the planning committee or participating in the 2nd Annual Golf Tournament, please contact Jennifer Brown at Special Olympics Missouri at 314.961.7755 or

Super Plunger Fundraiser at Indigo Joe's

Support Thom Taylor, a St. Louis County Police Officer, and Special Olympics Missouri at the same time as he raises funds for his Super Plunge at the Lake of the Ozarks on Friday, February 24th and Saturday, February 25th. 

Indigo Joe's Sports Pub & Restaurant, located at 16721 Main Street in Wildwood, has agreed to donate 10% of their entire day's business to SOMO.  Stop by and enjoy some great food and a relaxing atmosphere and help Thom Taylor reach his goal.  Thom is just one of 12 Super Plungers working hard to raise funds for SOMO athletes.  Super Plungers agree to raise $2,500 each and plunge every hour for 24 hours.  Now that's a lot of plunging!

You can donate directly to support Thom at  To read more about our amazing plunge opportunities, go to

It's not too late to take the PLUNGE!

Grab your best pals or come solo and take the PLUNGE with SOMO-St. Louis Polar Bears, Saturday, February 4, 2012 @ noon. Over 450 participants have already registered. We want you to be apart of the big Plunge! We only require you to be 14 years of age or older and willing to raise $75.00, that’s it! Now you’re ready to PLUNGE! Register online at or at Lake St. Louis the day of the event. Plungers automatically receive an official Polar Plunge shirt! Plus, the more money you raise, the more cool stuff you can get-1st, 2nd and 3rd place top fundraisers will be recognized (awards based on funds collected by the event’s end).

If taking an icy dip isn’t for you, then come out and watch as other Polar Bears take the Plunge. There is no fee to view the Plunge, but a $5 donation is required to access the heated tent and post plunge party area. The Post Plunge Party features entertainment, food, Best Costume contest, Silent Auction and more – don’t miss the chance to prove you’re FAN enough to take the Plunge for a great cause.

Check in begins at 10:00 a.m., and the Plunge begins at noon.


2012 Area Basketball Competition

On Saturday, January 21, 2012, athletes traveled from all over St. Louis and Southeast Missouri to compete in the Area Basketball Tournament in Warrenton, Missouri. The icy rain couldn’t stop our athletes for competing all day long. Athletes competed in individual skills, team skills, 3v3, regulation, modified and unified basketball. Opening ceremonies kicked off around 7:45am and competition went until 6:30pm. All of the athletes performed to their fullest potential and it showed throughout the competitions. A special thank you to all volunteers and coaches for helping make this tournament a success. Our athletes will compete next in District Basketball on February 19, 2012, in Cape Girardeau.

STL metro bball

Open Skate Night with the St. Charles Elks

Thank you to the St. Charles Elks and the Ft. Zumwalt High School Hockey Team for hosting our SOMO athletes at an open skate night on November 19th!  Athletes and our mascot Shiver took to the ice at the St. Peters RecPlex rink with the help of their new friends from Ft. Zumwalt to practice their skating technique and take some shots on goal.  After skating, the St. Charles Elks presented SOMO athletes with their own hockey jerseys and posed for pictures.  Everyone who participated enjoyed their evening, thank you to Steve Still and everyone coordinatin this event!






Project UNIFY Workshop

Congratulations to Athlete Emily Carroll and Unified Partner William Reese from the Warren County R-3 School District for their selection as our Missouri representatives at the Project UNIFY Workshop in Denver, Colorado!  Special Olympics programs from all over the country will converge on Denver in March to participate in workshops such as Inclusive Student Leadership and Engagement, Project UNIFY Sustainability, Navigating the Education Landscape and Unified Sports.  We look forward to the knowledge they will bring back from this conference to improve our Unified programming, congratulations Emily and William!


Brock Guseman, 33, of High Ridge, was inducted into the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2011. St. Louis Cardinals legend Lou Brock presented Guseman with the Albert Pujols Special Olympic Athlete of the Year award for his outstanding contributions to Special Olympics Missouri – St. Louis area and the St. Louis sports community at the induction ceremony at the Millenium Hotel – St. Louis on November 16. This is the second year the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame has honored a Special Olympics Missouri (SOMO) athlete with its prestigious Athlete of the Year award.

Brock Guseman has been involved with Special Olympics for 13 years, but 2011 has been a banner year. He was selected as the only athlete from the St. Louis Metro Area to attend the 2011 Special Olympics World Games this past June, representing Team USA in bocce. After practicing his bocce skills for over a year, Guseman competed in Greece and earned a bronze medal in singles, bronze in doubles and a fourth place ribbon in team play bocce. He played the best games of his life against players from Australia, Germany, England, China and Puerto Rico.Guseman was introduced to Special Olympics track and field in grade school and now as an adult participates in bocce, softball and basketball with his teammates at NextStep for Life in Jefferson County.

Local and Area Bowling

On September 19th and 30th athletes came out and competed at the Frankling County and Jefferson County Bowling tournaments. Athletes from all divisions were able to come out and show off their skills. Both tournaments went well and our Bowlers got some great scores! A special thanks to all the volunteers that helped make the local bowling tournaments successful! On October 23rd Area Bowling will be held in St. Peters, Missouri. The tournament will be held at Harvest Lanes & Cave Springs and opening ceremonies will begin at 11am. We are still in need of some volunteers for this tournament. We are in need of lane assistants and award presenters especially at Cave Springs. Click on volunteer sign up under fast links for more details, times and to sign up. The bowling tournaments are always a great time for all so come out and help us cheer on the athletes!

District Softball Tournament

On Saturday, July 30th, 2011, athletes traveled from all over St. Louis and Southeast Missouri to compete in the District Softball Tournament at Sun Valley Sports Complex in Pevely, Missouri. With the day quickly heating up, the tournament made way around 8:15 a.m. Opening ceremonies took place shortly there after once the majority of the teams had arrived to the complex. The weather held off just long enough to get about half of the tournament games in and due to the thunderstorms, the tournament ran until about 1:00 p.m. Luckily enough, the district games do not need to be played out in order for the teams to move on to the state tournament. So come out and support these amazing athletes as they move on to compete in the 2011 Outdoor Championships located in Cape Girardeau, MO. A Special thank you to all of the volunteers and fans who came out to watch these fantastic athletes compete!

Special Olympics World Games

The St. Louis Metro Area Office is pleased to report that Brock Guseman, representing our area at the Special Olympics World Summer Games, is returning to the States with multiple medals!

After months of rigorous training and preparation, Brock departed for the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens, Greece on June 18th. He was a part of Special Olympics Team USA, comprising 315 athletes as well as 125 coaches, competed in the World Games from June 25 – July 4 against 7,000 athletes from nearly 180 nations.

Brock Guseman, 32, has been involved in Special Olympics for six years and attended the 2011 World Games, representing Team USA in Bocce.  He is bringing home a bronze medal for singles and doubles bocce, and won fourth place in team play. We are glad to have Brock back and so proud of his accomplishments – congratulations Brock! 



St. Louis Metro Area Softball Tournament 2011

On Saturday, June 25th, 2011, athletes traveled from all over the Saint Louis Metro Area to compete in the Area Softball Tournament at Affton Athletic Association. Athletes in multiple divisions were given the chance to show off their team softball skills on the fields that day. Opening ceremonies began around 7:45 a.m. and ran until about 2:00 p.m. The storms held off long enough to get in the majority of the scheduled games. There were some fierce match-ups and competitive games! Thank you to all of the volunteers who donated their time and efforts to come out and watch these amazing athletes perform the game they love to play!

State Summer Games 2011

(St. Louis) The 2011 State Summer Games took place this past weekend in Springfield, Missouri on the campuses of Missouri State University and Drury University. Although it did not feel much like the Summer Games with the chilly weather, that did not stop the athletes from having the time of their lives while playing the sports that they love the most. Hundreds of athletes traveled from across the state to compete in aquatics, bocce, track and field, and power lifting.

While the athletes were not competing in their individual athletic events, they were participating in many other activities. On Wednesday, May 25th, athletes arrived at Missouri State University and reported to Hammons Student Center, where Opening Ceremonies were about to take place. Athletes lined up with their teams and made their way into the arena where they were cheered on by their friends and family. As if the athletes weren’t fired up enough, Olde Mann Jamm performed live beach music, which brought everyone in the stands to their feet.

With a fun filled day ahead, athletes headed to their events bright and early Thursday morning. As bocce, track and field, and aquatics began, athletes were busy competing all day. When there was a break from competition, athletes were given a chance to stop by the healthy athlete park where they were provided with a complementary eye exam, an oral screening, and a hearing screening which were offered to SOMO athletes by the Wal-Mart Foundation. As the day of competition came to a close, athletes headed over to the Plaster Student Union to dance the night away with their friends or compete in a relaxing game of bingo.

On Friday, athletes came together to complete the final day of competition. The remaining track and field events of softball throw and low motor events began. All of the athletes performed to their fullest potential and it showed throughout the competitions. Overall, the 2011 Summer Games were a huge success but we do, however, need to thank our hundreds of volunteers who took the time out to help make the event run as smoothly as it did.

Salute to Special Olympics - Rascals Game

Shop 'n Save, along with Lucia's Pizza, is hosting a Special Olympics Night at the Rascals game on Tuesday, May 24th at T.R. Hughes Ballpark in O' Fallon.  Game time is 7:05 pm.  Tickets are only $8 for infield bleacher seats and $2 from every ticket in that sectioin will be donated to Special Olympics Missouri.  Tickets can be purchased by contacting the Rascals at 636/240-2287 or online at

BONUS:  The first 500 fans through the gates will receive a commemorative Rascals glass courtesy of Shop 'n Save and Lucia's Pizza.  Plus there will be raffles for many great items including $50 Shop 'n Save gift cards.

2011 Torch Run Kick Off and Celebration

Special Olympics athletes, Law Enforcement officers and the community will celebrate the 2011 Torch Run on Tuesday, May 24th with two celebrations.  The first celebration will take place at Ameristar Casino Resort Spa in St. Charles, beginning at 8 am.  Law Enforcement officers will run with the torch through their communities, making their way to the O' Fallon North Shop 'n Save store for the 2nd celebration at 10:45 am.  The torch is on its way to Springfield, MO for the start of the State Summer Games (May 25th - May 27th).

2011 is an especially exciting year as we wrap up the 25th Anniversary of the Law Enforcement Torch Run and begin the celebration of the 40th Anniversary of Special Olympics Missouri.

More than 900 runners from 100 Law Enforcement agencies will participate in the 2011 Law Enforcement Torch Run.  They will complete 35 different routes and cover 1,000 miles across Missouri.  The Missouri Police Chiefs Association founded the Missouri Torch Run.



(Jefferson City) Michelle Conley, Sgt. Mark Koeller & family, Shop 'n Save, Kirk Halveland, Lt. Rick Hayes, Lumiere Place Casino & Hotels and the Four Seaons Hotel will all be recognized for their outstanding contributions to Splecial Olympics Missouri - St. Louis Metro area at the St. Louis Metro Area Spring Games at Rockwood Summit High School on April 30. Special Olympics Missouri (SOMO) presents its most prestigious awards to those who have made significant contributions to the Special Olympics movement. Each area recipient is submitted for statewide recognition, and the overall winners will be announced during Opening Ceremonies of the State Summer Games in Springfield on May 25.

The St. Louis Metro Area award winners are:
Michelle arrived to the National Games Selection Camp a relative unknown, and no wonder, she almost always had her nose buried in a book, and said little.  An athlete competing in gymnastics, aquatics, softball, volleyball, basketball and track since she was 8, she may have been quiet, but she was known to her coaches simply as "the girl that was a fish."  In one week, Michelle, who was away from home without family for the first time, gew up.  Having been chosen by Team Missouri's aquatics squad, she could have chose to focus only on swimming, but she didn't want to let down her other teams, and so she competed in basketball, softball, and aquatics.  Although she demonstrated the entire year that she was an outstanding athlete in every way (sportsmanship, personality, ability and endurance), it was the time she spent at National Games that raised her above all of the rest.  We are so proud of you, Michelle!

We are honored to recognize Kirk Halveland as our Outstanding
Coach.  Kirk is one of those people who would walk into every area office and say, "I want to coach Special Olympics, can you help me find some athletes?"  And that is exactly what Kirk did several years ago.  He has since dedicated himself to younger athletes, and brings with him years of playing and coaching experience.  But what makes Kirk outstanding?  It could be that he has formed Unified teams with youth players including his daughter who not only is a Unified Partner, but is also a premiere fast pitch softball player.  Kirk has a busy schedule, but has found that he loves to not only coach his teams, but recruit new athletes and grow awareness amoung his friends, family and  business associates.  In a very short time, this coach, who had no family or personal connection to Special Olympics before he began coaching, has quickly become one of the more well-respected coaches in the area, and has continued to grow what has become the premiere youth team in the St. Louis Metro Area.

We're excited to nominate our dear friends and true partners, Shop 'n Save, for the 2010 Outstanding Volunteer Award.  What began as a table sponsor for the Hall of Fame banquet in 1998 has grown exponentially to new levels in 2010.  They continue to amaze us and accomplish even more amazing things for our athletes.  Shop 'n Save's support is limitless (not to mention their enthusiasm).  In 2010, Shop 'n Save employees not only served on event planning committees (Polar Plunge and Over the Edge), but also played an instrumental role at the events too.  They actively participated in the Lake Saint Louis Polar Plunge, grilled and sold food, distributed event t-shirts, sold souvenirs, donated auction items and assisted at the post-event party.  The Shop 'n Save team also comes through in a BIG way each year for the St. Louis Metro Area Spring Games.  In addition to donating all of the food for the day's events, the Shop 'n Save associates also come out in full force volunteering in Victory Village, as Medal Presenters, Buddies and to run events.  It's almost impossible to include every single detail about their involvement and impact not only here in the St. Louis Metro Area, but also statewide.  However, one thing is for certain, we are so blessed and thankful for our friends at Shop 'n Save.

The St. Louis Metro Area office is pleased to nominate Sgt. Mark Koeller and his family as Outstanding Family for 2010.  Sgt. Mark Koeller is an active member of the Law Enforcement community.  His involvement covers the entire state, from serving one the Statewide LETR committee to playing an integral role on the St. Louis Metro Over the Edge committee.  Through his involvement with Special Olympics and the LETR, his family has also become heavily involved.  His wife, Stacy, has stepped up to be a volunteer photographer at various fundraising events and competitions throughout the year.  With Stacy present, we always know we will capture photos that can be used on the website and in promotional materials at no cost to our organization.  She takes great pictures too!  Stacy took her involvement to the next level this year by going Over the Edge of the Four Seasons Hotel at Lumiere Place.  She was joined by her mother-in-law, Mary (Mark's mom).  They both watched Mark go Over the Edge in 2009 and knew they wanted to personally experience this thrill first-hand while also raising funds for Special Olympics athletes.  Mary was the Top Fundraiser for the St. Louis event in 2010, raising $3,580.  Mark and his family enjoy the State competitions too, in particular State Summer Games and State Basketball.  Mark, his daughter, Jessica, and his mom, Mary, have presented medals at several Area and State events this year.  Mark and his wife happened to be on a family vacation today, but accepting the award on behalf of the Koeller family is Mary Koeller!

If we had to describe Rick in tow words, they would be "the man."  there are many times throughout the year when we need to get a task down hat we look to "the man" to help.  Rick has been a St. Louis Co. Police Officer for more than 15 years and has been involved in the Missouri Torch run for more than 10 years.  If you ask Rick how he became involved, he would probably tell you a story of how his Major asked him to go for a little run.  And run, Rick did.

From that first run more than 10 years ago, Rick became one of the biggest champions of Special Olympics Missouri.  He has organized more fundraising events than anyone can count, and he has spearheaded efforts in the Shop 'n Save T-shirt days in more ways than anyone can understand.  The reason he may be involved in more events than anyne knows is because he does it quietly, which is exactly why he won the John Michael Letz Award in 2007, which is called Missouri's Unsung Hero Award.  Rick has long been a strong chamption and motivating force in the St. Louis Metro Area and throughout this state.  He is truly "the man."  For this and many more reasons, we are honored to nominate Lt. Rick Hayes as Outsanding Law Enforcement Offider in 2010.

Even though our relationship with these two partners is relatively new, the impact that it has made on our program is immeasurable.  In 2008, we were in very new and unchartered waters as we started the planning process for a brand new fundraising event - Over the Edge.  The key to the success of this event is, of course, the building.  We approached Lumiere Place about the use of their hotel for the event in 2009.  They not only own a casino, but two hotels.  We were given permission to use the Four Seasons Hotel for our event in 2009.  What an impressive building with an even more impressive staff! 

The 2009 Over the Edge event was definitely a success, raising more than $87,000 for SOMO.  We couldn't wait for the 2010 event to get here.  On October 1st, 74 participants rappelled from the roof of the Four Seasons Hotel once again, raising more than $100,000 for our athletes.  We are so thankful for our partnership with Lumiere Place and the Four Seasons Hotel.  We're looking forward to the 2011 Over the Edge event on Friday, October 7th.

A complete listing of all the statewide and area award winners will be posted on the SOMO website at in early June.  Please visit the Press Box section. For information about Special Olympics Missouri or the Annual Award recipients, please contact Mandi Steward at 1-800-846-2682 or

Special Olympics Missouri is a year-round program of sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. More than 15,000 athletes participate in 21 Olympic-type sports throughout the state.  Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to develop fitness, demonstrate courage, and experience joy as they participate in the sharing of gifts and friendship with their fellow athletes, their family and friends and communities across Missouri. 


(St. Louis)- Special Olympics athletes and law enforcement officials will celebrate the Law Enforcement Torch Run and the 40th Anniversary of Special Olympics Missouri (SOMO) on May 24. The special ceremony will begin at 8 a.m. at the main entrance of Ameristar Casino Resort Spa in St. Charles. Law enforcement officials from the first St. Louis torch run will take part in the ceremony, which will also include participation by Special Olympics athletes, St. Charles city officials and Ameristar Team Members. Past ceremonies have honored fallen officers, law enforcement-military veterans and Missouri Police Chiefs.


The kick-off ceremony starts the Torch Run to Springfield, Mo. for the start of Special Olympics Missouri State Summer Games. Before arriving in Springfield, the law enforcement officers will make a brief stop with the torch at 10:45 a.m. at the O’Fallon North Shop’n Save store. Special Olympics St. Louis Metro Area serves athletes in St. Louis City, St. Louis County and six surrounding counties (Franklin, Jefferson, Pike, St. Charles and Warren) and athletes from the area will be in attendance. More than 900 runners from 100 law enforcement agencies will participate in the 2011 Law Enforcement Torch Run. They will complete 35 different routes and cover 1,000 miles across Missouri. The Missouri Police Chiefs Association founded the Missouri Torch Run.



135 SOMO supporters will have the opportunity to rappel from the 19th story Four Seasons Hotel at Lumiere Place on Friday, October 7th.


(ST. LOUIS, MO) – Attention thrill seekers and fans of Special Olympics: We want you to go Over the Edge! 

On Friday, October 7, Special Olympics Missouri (SOMO) and the Four Seasons Hotel at Lumiere Place will host St. Louis’ newest and most extreme fundraiser – Over the Edge! During this event, 135 people will each rappel from the 19th floor of the Four Seasons Hotel to the street below. Each participant will raise funds for SOMO to take part in this event – all funds from Over the Edge will stay in St. Louis and directly support year-round sports training and competition for more than 3,000 SOMO athletes in the St. Louis Metro Area. Over the Edge is presented by the St. Louis City and St. Louis County Police Departments as part of their tremendous commitment to SOMO athletes through the Law Enforcement Torch Run.

 “We take pride in providing a year-round program at no cost to our athletes, that allows them to achieve goals in life they once thought impossible. With Over the Edge, we’re asking our fans to do the same thing. By stepping outside their comfort zones for one day, 135 fans will make it possible for Special Olympics athletes to create a lifetime of their own unforgettable memories,” said Jennifer Brown, SOMO’s St. Louis Metro Development Director.      


The event is open to the first 135 fans who meet the following criteria: 1. 14 years of age or older by event date NEW AGE for the 2011 EVENT); 2. Weigh 300 pounds or less by event date; 3. Raise a minimum of $1,000 for Special Olympics Missouri by event date. All participants will receive a prize package consisting of our official event apparel, a photo of their rappel and admission to our official post-party. Additional prizes are available for the top fundraisers and top recruiters. 

For more information or to register, visit or contact Special Olympics at 314-961-7755 or


Special Olympics Missouri is a year-round program of sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. More than 15,000 athletes participate in 19 Olympic-type sports throughout the state. Special Olympics provides people with mental disabilities continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, and experience joy as they participate in the sharing of gifts and friendship with their fellow athletes, their family and friends, and communities across Missouri.


(Lake St. Louis) The 8th Annual Polar Plunge on Feb. 5 at Lake St. Louis was a splashing success, raising $101,668 to date. A record 449 brave men and women from around the area donned costumes and swimwear to take a chilly dip into Lake St. Louis. Their Reason for Freezin’… the athletes of Special Olympics Missouri! 

Online fundraising is still ongoing. Donations can be made at

Top fundraisers included:
1st Place Fundraiser – John Hihn (St. Charles City PD) - $4,120
2nd Place Fundraiser - Jeff Chapple (Team O' Fallon) - $2,095
3rd Place Fundraiser - Jeff Conderman (West Middle Wildcats) - $1,518

1st Place School Fundraiser – Fort Zumwalt West Middle School - $7,268
1st Place Group Fundraiser – The Care Bears - $4,963
1st Place Law Enforcement Fundraiser – St. Charles City PD - $8,598

Competition for the Golden Plunger was steep this year. Participants are encouraged to come in costume and compete for the chance to take home the “golden plunger.”
1st Place Individual – Charlie Chaplin (Dennis Eddlemon)
2nd Place Individual - Spock (Lt. John Neske - O' Fallon PD)
3rd Place Individual - Snuffleupagus (Jason Chapple - St. Charles City PD)
1st Place Group – Chili Peppers (4Terry)
1st Place Law Enforcement Agency - The Royal Flushes ( Jefferson College Law Enforcement Academy)

This year’s event was held in conjunction with Lake St. Louis Police Department, O’Fallon Police Department, and Wentzville Police Department. Presenting sponsors included 92.3 WIL and Shop 'n Save. 

For more information about the Polar Plunge, visit

Special Olympics Missouri is a year-round program of sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with mental disabilities. More than 15,000 athletes participate in 21 Olympic-type sports throughout the state. Special Olympics provides people with mental disabilities continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, and experience joy as they participate in the sharing of gifts and friendship with their fellow athletes, their family and friends, and communities across Missouri.

Area Sponsors
 Moneta Group