Monday, 25 March 2019 22:02

15 teams bowl to support Richmond County Special Olympics

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Fifteen teams participated in a bowling tournament Monday night to support Richmond County Special Olympics. Fifteen teams participated in a bowling tournament Monday night to support Richmond County Special Olympics. William R. Toler - Richmond Observer

ROCKINGHAM — Prior to the start of Monday night’s bowling tournament, Special Olympics Coordinator Theressa Smith had a problem: more bowlers than available lanes.

It was a good problem to have as 15 teams came out to Strikers Bowling Alley in support of the competitive games designed for special needs children and adults.

Last Wednesday, Smith was still seeking teams and sponsors. In addition to the high number of teams, there were also six corporate sponsors and eight lane sponsors.

“It was a really good turnout, we’re really excited about it,” Smith said, as the last team finished its second round. “People came through last minute. We were able to get a great number of teams — we didn’t even expect this many teams.

“People just showed up here and said, ‘We want to play.’”

Several Special Olympics athletes also came out to bowl, including Daniel Skipper, who played with the Richmond Observer’s team alongside Charlie Melvin, Russell Parker and William R. Toler.

Skipper, equipment manager for the Richmond Raiders football team, placed fifth last year in bowling in the state games and had the highest score in the RO team’s second game.

“I would love to go back,” he said about competing at the state level. “I had fun.” 

The state tournament will be in July. The local tournament was earlier this month.

The Fantastic Four — Greg Wall, James Fairley, Nelson Williams and Frank Williams — lived up to the team name with the highest score in the tournament.

The team from Jeff’s Trophies — Tommy Shelton, Buck Dawkins, Chris Coburn and Jeff Ingram — placed second, and The Sleepers — Ray Collins, Arthur Cole, Lawrence Bristow and Lynn Thomas — came in third.

The Jeff’s Trophies team came in first earlier this year for the tournament supporting Arts Richmond.

Smith said she is still in talks with Richmond Senior High School Athletic Director Ricky Young to nail down a date for the annual Spring Games, which will be some time in May.

But before then, there will be a one-day basketball/cheerleading camp on April 17.

“All the athletes were able to pick one sport or the other,” Smith said, adding that there are more than 100 signed up.

The camp is being paid for through a health grant, requiring the serving of healthy food. Smith said there will also be a speaker to come out and talk to the athletes about exercise and eating healthy.

Special Olympics of North Carolina applied for the grant on the local organization’s behalf, Smith said.