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Kalispell Krushers forfeit summer games due to funding shortfall

The Daily Inter Lake - 4/22/2019

April 22-- Apr. 22--Print Article

Special Olympics team looks ahead to fall games

Due to a $9,000 deficit in funds raised this year, the local Special Olympics team, the Kalispell Krushers, will miss the state summer games for the first time since the team began in 2006.

The 62 athletes that make up the team compete in various sporting events throughout the year, but this year, that will not include the Special Olympics State Summer Games in Great Falls, according to Suzy Stark, the parent of a Kalispell Krushers team member who is working to get the word out about the funding deficit.

Special athletes ages 19 to 66 practice and take part in seasonal games, including skiing and snowshoeing in the winter, basketball in the fall, and typically track, bocce, throwing and cycling in the summer.

A majority of the local team's funding, which covers the travel expenses of the local team members, comes from the sale of raffle tickets. For tickets sold by the athletes themselves, $4 out of the $5 cost goes directly to the athlete.

This year, however, Stark said she felt there was some confusion as to how best to support the local athletes.

When customers purchase the tickets directly from one of the two stores involved with the fundraiser -- Tire-O-Rama and Town Pump -- instead of from an athlete, she said, the proceeds go to the state fund and not to local athletes.

Though Special Olympics Montana provides some financial support to the team, the organization does not cover individual expenses, leaving the team responsible for raising the remaining $11,000.

The deadline for fundraising to attend this year's state summer games has passed, but the team has set its sights on participating in the fall games.

In order to attend the upcoming basketball tournament this fall, Stark said the team needs to sell 2,000 raffle tickets to raise around $10,000.

"For many these games are the highlights of their year," Stark said. "I can't tell you how important it is."

The team will host raffle-ticket booths, featuring prizes such a new truck, gas or pizza for a year, in order to raise money for the upcoming fall games.

Fundraising will take place on April 24 and May 1 at MOD Pizza in Kalispell and May 3 at Super 1 Foods in Kalispell.

MOD Pizza will also donate 20 percent of sales to the team if the customer says they're supporting the Krushers.

Truck raffle tickets can also be purchased at Absolute Transmission in Kalispell during business hours.

For more information, contact Kalispellkrushersteam@yahoo.com.

Reporter Mary Cloud Taylor may be reached at 758-4459 or mtaylor@dailyinterlake.com.

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