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2017 Special Olympics takes place in county

Students from across Chilton County showcased their skills on the big stage during the 2017 Special Olympics event at the Clanton City Park on Thursday.

Athletes competed in several events, such as running long jump, standing long jump, soccer kick, boy and girls softball/tennis ball throw, as well as boys and girls track from 10 meters to 100 meters.

“There are lots of different things that they can do,” Michelle Coppedge said. “The city [Clanton] is super accommodating and the park crew has worked tirelessly this morning to help us with whatever we needed.”

All 11 public schools entered participants in the countywide event. From elementary to high school, 110 students took part.

Many athletes spent time between events enjoying inflatable slides and obstacle courses and face painting.

New this year was the addition of the Kona Ice truck, which provided each competitor a cool relief from the warm sun.

“That was a surprise to them [athletes], no one knew about that,” Coppedge said.

Volunteers from many high school student governments around the county were on hand to assist the athletes as needed, while demonstrating the community’s involvement.

According to Clanton Mayor Billy Joe Driver, who shared a few words prior to the start of the games, it was one of the biggest turnouts that he remembers in recent years.

“If you’ve ever come once, you’ll want to come back every year,” Coppedge said. “They love you like nobody else and appreciate it. They want to know when the Special Olympics is next year, because this is their day.”