On Wednesday, September 13, Special Olympics of Muscatine held a unified golf tournament for area athletes. Athletes are matched with volunteers who would like to golf with them. This is an alternate shot tournament, meaning the athlete and their partner take turns on each shot.

“They get awards, they get a lunch, they get a T-shirt, and it’s just a fun day for everyone,” said Jason Miller, Special Olympics Program Director.

Special Olympics of Muscatine has been serving the Muscatine and surrounding area for over 20 years. “It started in the early 1990s with five or six groups, and it’s just blown up since then. Right now we have 45 groups, which amounts to over 100 people between the volunteers and athletes,” said Miller.

Miller said they offer sports for their athletes to participate in all throughout the year. “We do 13 sports year-round. We’re getting into bowling season and in the winter, we will get into basketball. In the fall, we have football, and in spring, we have track and field. We always have something going on.”

The number of Special Olympics athletes has been growing exponentially through the years, both in Muscatine and the state. Miller said, “In Muscatine and the surrounding counties, we have over 150 athletes, and statewide there are over 13,000 athletes.”

Anyone with an intellectual disability is welcome to join the Special Olympics program. According to their website, “Special Olympics athletes are men, women, boys and girls. They are like other athletes. They train and compete. They learn to win and to lose. They strive to do their best. They inspire us.”