Please take part in the upcoming Special Olympics

Jake Goodrick, Gillette News Record

The Special Olympics is coming to Gillette later this week, and with it comes the opportunity for the community as a whole to take part in the games, as fans or as much-needed volunteers. These will be the first Special Olympics Wyoming State Summer Games held since 2019. It’s been more than 15 years since the games were last in Gillette, where they were set to be held in 2020, until the pandemic nixed that. 


For some of the athletes, this may be the first time in years that they’re reunited with friends from around the state, sharing in the spirit of friendly competition and a love of sport. 


About 500 Special Olympians from communities throughout Wyoming will compete in the games, including about 40 locals in the masters, or adult division, and another 40 or so local school-aged kids who will compete in basketball, power lifting, swimming, and track and field. 


The Opening Ceremony is Thursday night, but the games begin earlier that day with a Torch Run from the Gillette Police Department to the Campbell County Recreation Center and continue through Saturday morning, leaving plenty of time for you to support the athletes in the stands or as a volunteer up close to the action. 


Phil Grabrick, Gillette Special Olympics coordinator, said there’s still need for “a tremendous amount of volunteers.” 


The games are spread out across a number of local venues: Campbell County and Thunder Basin high schools, Cam-plex, the Rec Center and the Aquatic Center. 


And volunteers are still needed across the board. 


Special Olympics volunteers can do everything from basic but important set-up and tear down, to facilitating the events and escorting athletes to receive their awards after the competitions. 


It’s all appreciated and all needed to pull off the festivities of the few days a year these athletes get to reunite with their statewide community and be at the center of the action. 


It’s easy to forget how meaningful it can be to volunteer. 


Even if you don’t have the time to help, it’s worth stopping by and showing support as a fan, cheering on the athletes and translating Gillette’s love of sports to a group of athletes who don’t get as much spotlight. 


“The more people watching and cheering them on, the harder the athletes try, and they give 100% with what they’re able to do,” Grabrick said. 


Locally, that means 80 community members including 40 kids get their biggest opportunity in years to compete at the top of their sport. How many other events can claim that? 


For more information on the upcoming Special Olympics and a schedule of events, see the B section of the upcoming Tuesday paper or visit 


To sponsor, donate or volunteer, call Grabrick at 307-299-6400 or email him at



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