PARKERSBURG - Competition was in full swing Saturday as the 2011 Special Olympics West Virginia Fall Games was in its first full day at Parkersburg South High School.
Sports for the first day of competition for the 43rd annual games were football skills, flag football, volleyball and bowling.
More than 500 Special Olympians from counties across West Virginia came to Parkersburg for the three-day event which concludes at 1:15 p.m. today with an awards ceremony.
Flag football players from Boone County huddle after a play during the 2011 West Virginia Special Olympics Fall Games at Parkersburg South High School. (Photo by Jeffrey Saulton)
Cheryl Baxter, a volunteer from Parkersburg, was working in the Olympic Village on Saturday in the Rod Oldham Athletic Center.
"This is the fun center were many activities take place," she said. "This is where they can come and kick back, relax, play games, win prizes and just kind of chill out for a while."
Baxter said while the Special Olympians do not have to visit the village, most of the 530 do come at least once.
"They are not required to come here but all make at least one pass through here," she said. "This is a favorite part of their activities this weekend. They come here when they are not scheduled somewhere else.""
Amy McGowan and Nona Montgomery, both with the Preston County delegation, were at the games not only as parents but coaches and volunteers as well.
Montgomery has been involved in the program for seven years and McGowan for five years. Montgomery said involvement in Special Olympics means taking on different roles at once.
"I'm a coach and parent and volunteer," she said. "We do it all; whatever we need to do we do it."
Parkersburg has been the site of the fall games for the past 20 years. Special Olympics in West Virginia began in 1968 in Parkersburg.