It started with a cheer. “We are determined, yes we are. We are determined, we’ll go far!” rang out across Slaughter Field early Friday morning as Special Olympics teams from across the region prepared for the opening of games.

More than 250 people participated in the 2010 Spring Special Olympic games, hosted in Waynesville by the Waynesville R-VI?School District. Just as many, if not more, were on the sidelines, cheering on the athletes.

“I have been organizing this particular event for three years. I have never seen so many people in the stands,”?Diane Brimer, Special Olympics Central Area director, said. “It’s beyond awesome.”

Waynesville’s Student Government Association helped coordinate and run this year’s event, and student Tim Williams was at the front of the effort.

“I think it’s a wonderful event because some of these athletes who are blessed with gifts, just like everybody else, can compete in their niche,”?Williams said.

It’s a sentiment Brimer shares.

“It’s the awareness,”?she said, speaking of what makes having events like this in communities so important. “These athletes are doing things. I think it also gives the volunteers that are here in this community a better understanding of what our athletes can do.”?

And for the participants, they took an oath at the beginning of the games to have fun, no matter the outcomes.

“I think it’s fun,”?said James Rickerson, who was among 10 other athletes from the Pulaski County Sheltered Workshop (PCSW) to participate in this year’s games.

“It’s great!”?Dawn Travis, PCSW Vista worker said. “We’re having a ball... We don’t care how we did, we just participate.”?