Team Iowa to Compete at USA Games in Seattle July 1-6
On July 1-6, 2018 – more than 4,000 Special Olympics athletes and coaches from all 50 states and the District of Columbia will gather in Seattle to compete before tens of thousands of spectators and volunteers. The 2018 USA Games will showcase the limitless talents of people with intellectual disabilities while promoting the barrier-breaking power of sport to promote inclusion and acceptance. 

Among those 4,000 athletes and coaches will be  Team Iowa, which includes 50 members.

The USA Games kick off with the spectacle of the Opening Ceremony at Husky Stadium on July 1, 2018 and will offer 14 Olympic-type sports: athletics (track and field), basketball, bocce, bowling, flag football, golf, gymnastics, powerlifting, soccer, softball, stand up paddle boarding, swimming, tennis and volleyball. Opening Ceremonies will be aired on ABC at 2:30 p.m. CT. To keep up with the games and coverage by ESPN and ABC, follow this link for an airing schedule.

Competitions will be held at venues across the Seattle area including the University of Washington, Celebration Park, Kenmore Lanes, Seattle Pacific University, Seattle University, Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center and Willows Run Golf Club. Continue Reading
Follow Team Iowa’s Journey
Keep up with what the athletes from Team Iowa are up to by following our  Facebook Twitter , and  Instagram  and checking back with our website periodically to see updated scores and results at the end of each day of competition.

Meet Team Iowa  and get to know the athletes that are representing Special Olympics Iowa.
Visit the USA Games home page to keep up the schedule and all that is #USAGAMES18.
50th Anniversary Celebration in Chicago
July 17-21
The spark that became   today’s Special Olympics movement  ignited at the  first 1968 International Summer Games  in Chicago, Il., USA.

Five decades later, Special Olympics is returning to Chicago to launch the year-long global Special Olympics 50th Anniversary celebrations this July.

Join us as we play together, learn from each other, and chart an inspiring course for the future!

Special Olympics International, Special Olympics Illinois and Special Children’s Charities in Chicago are uniting to host nearly a week of exciting events to celebrate the first 50 years of Special Olympics and to launch the movement into the future.

Events planned for July 2018 in Chicago include the first-ever  Special Olympics Unified Cup . Special Olympics Iowa cheerleaders will be cheering at the Unified Cup.

Also planned is a star-studded Global Day of Inclusion, where the public can “Play Unified” and join in fun athletic competition with Special Olympics athletes. There will also be a Law Enforcement Torch Run  Commemorative Run  and the ceremonial lighting of the Special Olympics Eternal Flame of Hope, which will symbolize our burning passion for inclusion and justice for people with intellectual disabilities.

All Iowa athletes are invited to attend the 50th Anniversary events in Chicago July 17-21. More information about the events throughout the celebration can be found  here . Continue Reading
50th Anniversary Celebration Schedule
Special Olympics Unified Cup presented by Toyota
17 to 20 July 2018
Chicago, Illinois, USA
The inaugural Special Olympics Unified Cup competition will team people with and without intellectual disabilities from all over the world. A total of 24 international football/soccer teams will take part. The four-day event is presented by Toyota.

Torch Run and Eternal Flame of Hope
20 July 2018
Chicago, Illinois, USA
The Special Olympics 50th Anniversary Law Enforcement Torch Run Commemorative Run will include Special Olympics athletes and law enforcement officers. The entire city will light up with a new eternal “Flame of Hope”—symbolizing a world of welcome and inclusion.

Global Day of Inclusion
21 July 2018
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Soldier Field, the birthplace of Special Olympics, will host a massive celebration, a festival of inclusion that will serve as the spark for people around the world to commit to making their cities more inclusive. This family friendly festival will offer sports activities, interactive games, exhibits, delicious food offerings, and live entertainment.

Music Concert – LIVE!
21 July 2018
Chicago, Illinois, USA and around the world
Then comes a star-studded evening of inspiring entertainment at Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island—and a live audience around the world.

Des Moines Register Sports Awards
The Des Moines Register held their annual Sports Awards on Saturday, June 23rd at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. 13 Special Olympic athletes and Unified Partners were nominated and invited to the event. Alexis Wilcox of Winterset was awarded the Special Olympics girls' athlete of the year, Nathan Benge of Fort Madison was awarded the Special Olympics boys' athlete of the year and Christina and Natalie Rasmussen of Sioux City were awarded the Special Olympics United Team of the year. Read the full list of winners here.
Iowa Coach Receives Inspiring Coach of the Year Award from Brooks Running
As Special Olympics Iowa (SOIA) athletes prepare to head to Seattle for the 2018 USA Games July 1-6 at the University of Washington campus, coach Nicole Vetter of Council Bluffs is just returning from Seattle, where she was honored by  Brooks Running  with the Inspiring Coach of the Year award.

Vetter has been a teacher and coach for 22 years in Council Bluffs. She started her career as a special education teacher before transitioning into teaching physical education and coaching the Thomas Jefferson High School track team. Now she feels like she gets the best of both worlds. “I love getting to know that population of students,” says Vetter. “I get to help both Special Olympic athletes and high school students, which is the best of both worlds.”

In honor of the 2018 USA Games, Brooks Running, which is headquartered in Seattle, selected two track & field coaches from across the nation and awarded them with the Inspiring Coach of the Year award. The winner receives a trophy, a $10,000 grant for Brooks performance running gear, and $2,500 to their team’s athletic department for team expenses. Continue Reading
2018 Plane Pull Presented by the
 Lohse Family Foundation
Thank you to over 30 teams that participated in this year's Plane Pull on Saturday, June 23rd. It was a great success, helping to raise over $50,000 for Special Olympics Iowa.

A very special thank you to the Des Moines International Airport and all of our sponsors: The Lohse Family Foundation, Endeavor Air, Prairie Meadows, Lazer 103.3, Bonnie's Barricades, Bankers Trust, Aureon, Texas Roadhouse, Home Depot, Hogan's Limousines, Lamar Advertising, La Reina, La Ley, Conexion, DJ Yeti Productions, and all of the volunteers who helped day of.

World War II Vets involved in Annual Plane Pull

Team "Hangover Hattie," made an appearance for the first time at the Annual Plane Pull. This team consisted of two World War II Pilot Veteran's, Art Cross and Cy Kirk (pictured on the left, left to right). Cross flew a B-24 and B-29, and Kirk flew a B-26. We were honored to have them at our event this year with the rest of their group from Deerfield Retirement Community.
Special Olympics Iowa Hall of Fame
The SOIA Hall of Fame was created in 2018 by the Board of Directors as a way to recognize longevity and achievement of athletes and volunteers with the organization. A voting committee, appointed by the Hall of Fame Chair, is responsible for reviewing all nominations and voting for the inductees. A permanent display will be housed at the Special Olympics Iowa kiosk at the Hall of Pride in downtown Des Moines and Special Olympics Iowa State office in Grimes will also be host to a display.

*To learn more about the athlete and volunteer prerequisites, nominations, the voting committee, voting process, inductees, and the award please click more info below.
Challenge Day Volunteers Needed
SOIA is still looking for volunteers for two upcoming Challenge Days. Challenge Days are designed for our severe and profound athletes. For more information on Challenge Days, click here.

Upcoming Challenge Days:

Cedar Rapids
July 21
Northwest Rec Center, Cedar Rapids

August 2
Glenwood Resource Center, Glenwood
SOIA Awards Unified Champion Schools Participants
Special Olympics Iowa recognized individuals who embraced the Unified model during the 2017-2018 school year at a Unified banquet held in May. As part of our school based program  Unified Champion Schools , Hayley Goldsberry of the Iowa Connections Academy and Tyler Hungate of Linn-Mar High School were both selected as scholarship recipients for the work they have done to help develop a more Unified environment in their schools and community. 

Special Olympics Iowa also recognized the Des Moines Public Schools for adopting the Unified Champion Schools model with a district-wide approach.
The Special Olympics Iowa State Softball Tournament sponsored by Sammons Financial Group highlights the end of summer each August. Athletes play slow-pitch softball, which involves two teams of 10 athletes each. Softball can also be played as a Unified Sport, joining athletes with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team.

Individual skills competition is also offered to allow athletes to train and compete in basic softball skills. The development of these key skills is necessary prior to advancing to team competition. These skills include base running, batting, fielding and throwing.

Event Schedule

Softball Skills Competition- Manning
Date: July 12, 2018
Registration Deadline: June 15, 2018
Location: IKM-Manning High School, Manning

Softball Skills Competition- Muscatine 
Date: July 21, 2018
Registration Deadline: June 15, 2018
Location: TBD

West Conference Softball Tournament
Date: July 14, 2018
Registration Deadline: June 15, 2018
Location: Sioux City

West Central Conference Softball Tournament 
Date: July 21, 2018
Registration Deadline: June 15, 2018
Location: Des Moines

East Central Conference Softball Tournament 
Date: July 14, 2018
Registration Deadline: June 15, 2018
Location: Ellis Park, Cedar Rapids

State Softball Tournament
Date: August 4, 2018
Area Registration Deadline: June 15, 2018
State Registration Deadline: July 25, 2018
Locations: Prairie Ridge Sports Complex, Ankeny

State Softball Tournament Schedule
8:00 a.m.        Delegation Registration
8:30 a.m.        Parade of Athletes Line-up
8:45 a.m.        Opening Ceremony
9:15 a.m.        First Softball Games & Softball Skills Competition
11:00 a.m.       Lunch begins with no break in play

Event Links
Unified Golf
Special Olympics Iowa Unified Golf pairs individuals with intellectual disabilities with Unified Partners (golfers without intellectual disabilities) to compete in a team environment. Unified Sports are crucial to our mission as they promote inclusion and friendship for all.

Several skill levels are offered to meet the skill level of any athlete:
  • 9-hole: Pro (knows the game and skills for a full golf game)
  • 6-hole: Intermediate (knows the basics of golf but still improving skills)
  • 3-hole: Beginner (just learning the game of golf)
There is no charge to participate. Lunch and water will be provided along with a tournament t-shirt and awards at the end of play.

Dubuque Unified Golf
Date: July 21, 2018
Location: Derby Grange Golf & Recreation

Spencer Unified Golf - CLOSED - FULL
Date: August 12, 2018
Location: Spencer Municipal Golf Course

Cedar Rapids Unified Golf  
Date: September 8, 2018
Location: Twin Pines Golf Course

Muscatine Unified Golf
Date: September 12, 2018
Location: Muscatine Municipal Golf Course

Davenport Unified Golf
Date: September 13, 2018
Location: Red Hawk Golf Course

River Hills Unified Golf 
Date: September 26, 2018
Location: River Hills School

Jester Park Unified Golf
Date: September 29, 2018
Location: Jester Park Golf Course

Sioux City Unified Golf
Date: October 6, 2018
Location: Sun Valley Golf Course

Davenport Unified Golf
Date: TBA
Location: Red Hawk Golf Course

For more information about Unified Sports, contact:
Bryan Coffey , Unified Sports Director
515-986-50520 x119
Truck Raffle for SOIA
Buy a $5 Ticket for Your Chance to Win This 2018 Ford F-150!
Purchase Tickets From Any Special Olympics Iowa Delegation
From the State Office
Give Us A Call At 515-986-5520 or email .

50 For 50 Years
2018 marks 50 years for the Special Olympics. That means 50 years of our volunteers, staff, and supporters working tirelessly to achieve our mission – a world without discrimination. A world where individuals with intellectual disabilities can tap their untold potential and live their lives to the fullest.

Special Olympics Iowa asks you to join us in celebrating 50 years of bliss, bravery and empowerment by donating in our  $50 for 50 campaign  in honor of the 50th Anniversary of Special Olympics. With each $50 donation, donors will get their choice of a limited-edition commemorative 50th Anniversary Gold Pin or Gold Coin.

Special Olympics Iowa is so proud of what has been accomplished over the past 50 years. With 5 million served in over 172 countries, we have changed many lives all over the world. Help us continue to make a difference in athlete’s lives.
Pigskin Madness tickets for Sale!

Help us sell Pigskin Madness tickets or purchase yours today! For just $20, you have 8 chances to win each week of the NFL regular football season (17 weeks).

Purchase your ticket today, or help us sell books by clicking on this link.
Athletes Invited to Monthly Karaoke Night
Discounted Iowa Tickets for SOIA Athletes
The Iowa Hawkeyes invite all Special Olympics Iowa athletes and their families to enjoy the excitement of Iowa Hawkeye football this fall. Take advantage of discounted group rates to five home games. Youth tickets are only $25 for high school ages and younger. Adult ticket prices vary for each game. 

Game Options:
September 1 – Iowa vs Northern Illinois, Time: TBA. Regular ticket price $50.
Adult Tickets: $35. Youth Tickets: $25.
September 15 – Iowa vs. UNI, Time: TBA. Regular ticket price: $50
Adult Tickets: $35. Youth Tickets: $25.
October 20 – Iowa vs Maryland. Time: TBA. Regular ticket price: $65
Adult Tickets: $55. Youth Tickets: $25.
November 10 – Iowa vs Northwestern. Time: TBA. Regular ticket price: $65
Adult Tickets: $55. Youth Tickets: $25.
November 23 – Iowa vs Nebraska. Time: TBA. Regular ticket price: $75
Adult Tickets: $60. Youth Tickets: $25.

Orders will be seated together. Orders are filled on a first come, first serve basis. Game may be subject to sellout. Tickets are mailed 2-4 weeks prior to each game. For questions or to order by phone, contact Bravo Sports at 319-626-8286.
Casey's Promotion
Thank you to our Statewide Partner Casey's General Stores for running another successful Casey's Campaign. During the month of June, Casey's stores across the state of Iowa sold $1 pin-ups in-store with proceeds going to Special Olympics Iowa. They also featured Special Olympics athletes and law enforcement volunteers
 on their 44 oz. cups.

Thank you Casey's and thank you to everyone who helped raise money for SOIA by donating! Look out for a final total raised on the promotion at a later date!
Upcoming Fundraising Events at SOIA
3rd Annual Responding for Heroes
Softball Tournament
The 3rd annual Responding for Heroes Softball Tournament will be held Saturday, July 14 at Lions Park in Altoona.

Team sign-ins will start at 8:15 a.m. with the first pitch to be thrown at 9:00 a.m. There will be up to 6 first responder teams and 6 co-ed league teams.

There will be silent auction items to bid on, as well as concessions available at the park. All proceeds go to Special Olympics Iowa.

There will be volunteer positions available for the silent auction, keeping score, and possibly assisting umpires.

For more information on ways you can help contact us at the Responding for Heroes Facebook page or at
Jim Jordan Memorial Golf Classic
The Kiwanis Club of Urbandale
presents the Jim Jordan Memorial Golf Classic August 15 at Otter Creek.

2018 Event Details
Date : Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Location : Otter Creek Golf Course, Ankeny
Cost : $80 per person. All golfers receive 18 holes of golf, cart, lunch and opportunity for prizes. Kiwanis members receive a discount of $10 per person.

Cargill Night at the Ballpark
Join Cargill and Special Olympics Iowa for a night out at the Cedar Rapids Kernels game. In addition to the ballgame, participants will enjoy a silent auction and 50/50 raffle. Special Olympic Iowa athletes who wear a medal or ribbon receive free admission and a meal voucher and will be introduced on-field prior to the game.

Event Details
Date : Saturday, August 25, 2018
Location : Cedar Rapids
Cost : Check back for tickets
Additional Details : Be sure to stick around for fireworks following the game! Athletes must arrive early to receive free admission ticket, meal voucher and to go onto the field to be introduced.

Schedule of Events
7th Inning: 50/50 raffle winner is drawn
TBA: First auction ends
TBA: Second auction ends
TBA: Third auction ends

For more information, contact:
Jeanette Steinfeldt , 515-986-5520
Coaches Corner 
Coaches' Guide Available Online!
The 2017-2018 SOIA Coaches' Guide is now available on our website !

Getting involved as a coach and re-certification is now easier than ever!
Check out our new "Become a Coach" page:
You can now become certified/re-certified ONLINE

Registration Forms Available Online
Registration forms for Challenge Days and Young Athlete Play Days are now available online! Go to the Participation Forms page on our website to view registration forms for all SOIA events.

Share Your Story!
Do you know someone with a great story to share? We're always looking to share our athletes' stories in the newsletter. If you have a story idea for us about an athlete, coach, volunteer, or family please email Rachel Bosworth at for a chance for them to be featured in the newsletter!
Event Calendar  

Visit our online calendar for event updates!

12- Softball Skills Competition- Manning
13- River Hills Young Athlete Play Day
14- Responding for Heroes Softball Tournament
14- East Central Conference Softball Tournament
14- West Regional Softball Tournament
21- Dubuque Unified Golf
21- Softball Skills Competition- Muscatine
21- West Central Conference Softball Tournament
21- Cedar Rapids Challenge Day

2- Glenwood Challenge Day
2- Culver's- ButterBurgers and Badges Tip-A-Cop
4- State Softball Tournament (Team and Skills)
12- Spencer Unified Golf
15- Jim Jordan Memorial Golf Classic
25- Cargill Night

4- East Central Area Fall Coaches Meeting
5- West Central Area Fall Coaches Meeting
6- Southwest Area Fall Coaches Meeting
7- Dunkin' Dounuts Cop on a Rooftop
8- Cedar Rapids Unified Golf
11- South Central Area Fall Coaches Meeting
12- Muscatine Unified Golf
13- Davenport Unified Golf
13- Davenport Unified Bocce
13- North Area Fall Coaches Meeting
15- State Equestrian Competition
21- Northeast Area Soccer Skills
26- River Hills Unified Golf Tournament
29- Jester Park Unified Golf
29- Back the Blue 5k Pump and Run