Special olympics comes to Clovis

CNJ STAFF

Today, 40 special Olympic athletes will be in Clovis to compete in the state special Olympics equestrian competition.

The athletes will compete in events such as showmanship at halter, figure eight and pole bending.

Gena Hankins is a volunteer helping with the event. Her 14-year-old daughter Brooke is competing in the competition.

She said this event is very special as are the athletes competing.

“They portray sportsmanship in a totally awesome way and they’re just incredible,” Hankins said.

She also gives credit to the horses.

“The horses just sense them, sense that they’re different,” Hankins said. “It’s sweet.”

Mini-blessings joined forces with the Special Olympics to bring more athletes to the competition.

The Clovis-based organization allows special needs children to ride their horses and miniature ponies as a form of therapy. Many of their riders are participating in the event, Hankins said.

Hankins said people from the community are welcome to come and watch or come and help.

“Anybody that would like to help any day can just show up at 8 a.m. and we’ll find them something to do,” she said.

For those who want to watch, the competition begins at 10 a.m. on Friday and 8:30 a.m. on Saturday. Opening ceremonies are at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, and awards will be given at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday.

The athletes are very excited for the entire weekend, Hankins said.

“They love to compete, love to be with their friends and the love the dance,” she said.