A rain storm delayed the opening ceremony of the Arkansas Special Olympics Summer Games held at the Hardin University Stadium in Searcy by about 30 minutes but did not dampen the spirit of the athletes. The contestants entered the Hardin University Stadium in Searcy lead by a Knights of Columbus Color Guard and Miss Teen Arkansas Ali Jones. Ali, of Heber Springs, is the daughter of Jayson and Jennifer Jones and will attend the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville this fall. Ali was seen greeting and encouraging the participants all through the ceremony.
The Arkansas Special Olympics provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in Olympic-type sports for all children and adults with intellectual disabilities giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills, and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community. The event kicks-off with Law Enforcement Officers carrying the “Flame of Hope Torch” from the steps of the State Capitol on a 50 mile run to Harding Stadium in Searcy for the Summer Games Opening Ceremonies.