CMU to host state Special Olympics Summer Games

Special Olympics Colorado announced Tuesday it is partnering with Colorado Mesa University to bring the 2013 State Summer Games to Grand Junction on June 1–2.

Hosted by the University of Northern Colorado for the past decade, the Summer Games are the largest Special Olympics sporting event to take place in the state annually. This will be first time the event has taken place on the Western Slope.

Charlie Monfort, a Special Olympics Colorado board member and former chairman of the board of trustees at the university, said Colorado Mesa has state-of-the-art facilities and the location will be easier for athletes and their families to access.

“We view the campus as a community asset and intend to use it in a way that benefits everybody,” said John Marshall, CMU’s vice president of student services.

Hosting the Special Olympics Colorado Summer Games, Marshall said, is keeping in that philosophy.

The games are expected to attract 1,100 athletes, 400 volunteers, plus families and sponsors from across the state. Competitions will include track and field, soccer, swimming, gymnastics and power lifting. Admission to all of the events will be free and open to the public.

“It is a tremendously competitive and exciting event,” said Mindy Watrous, president and CEO of Special Olympics Colorado.

In addition to athletic events, there will be opening and closing ceremonies, a dance and fireworks.

The venues selected for competition are the El Pomar Natatorium (aquatics), Maverick Center Gymnasium (gymnastics), Stocker Stadium (track and field), outdoor practice fields (soccer) and the CMU Performing Arts Theatre (powerlifting).

The Victory Celebration dance will be held in the University Center Ballroom and will be open to the public.

In addition to the announcement about CMU hosting the Summer Games, a number of donations were given to support the games, including $50,000 from Monfort and his family. The Monfort Family Foundation has been a primary sponsor of the games for more than 10 years.

“We’re planning on having this event at Mesa for a long time,” Monfort said.

Other donations included $10,000 from The Colorado Trust, secured by former Rocky Mountain Health Plans CEO John Hopkins, to support the Games Olympic Town, which will be at the center of CMU’s campus. Hilltop also gave $5,000.

“We just want to thank everyone for making our dream of holding our games here a reality,” Watrous said, “These are world-class facilities, and we are thrilled to have our events here.”

Likewise, CMU President Tim Foster said, the university is thrilled to host the event.

“The opportunity to share in this event, which is so important to these athletes, is very gratifying,” Foster said in a news release.


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