Special Olympics Colorado Selects Colorado Mesa University, Grand Junction as Host Site for 2013 Summer Games

Special Olympics Colorado (SOCO) will host its 2013 Summer Games June 1-2 at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, Colo. It was announced today during a press conference at the El Pomar Natatorium on CMU’s campus. This marks the first time a statewide competition of this magnitude will be held on the Western Slope since the organization began hosting competitions in 1969.

The Summer Games is the largest Special Olympics sporting event of the year in the state of Colorado. The two-day event will bring the state’s top athletes performing in track and field, soccer, swimming, gymnastics and powerlifting. More than 1,100 athletes, 400 volunteers, families, supporters and sponsors will be in the Grand Junction area for two to three days, and festivities will kick off with Opening Ceremonies on Saturday, June 1 at 10 a.m. All five sports will be in action throughout the day Saturday and into mid-day Sunday. Saturday evening, there will be a Victory Celebration which includes a fireworks show and dance. All competitions and events are free and open to the public.

“Colorado Mesa University has some of the best athletic facilities in the western United States,” said Mindy Watrous, now in her seventh year as President and CEO of Special Olympics Colorado. “I’m thrilled for our athletes and coaches to have an opportunity to compete in state-of-the-art facilities like the El Pomar Natatorium. President Foster and his team have been welcoming from the first conversation, and I’m thrilled that our board of directors endorsed the move to the Western Slope.”

“We are very excited to host the Special Olympics Colorado Summer Games at Colorado Mesa. The opportunity to share in this event, which is so important to these athletes, is very gratifying,” said Colorado Mesa University President Tim Foster. “We hope the athletes, their families and friends and all the spectators enjoy visiting CMU and take the time to see all the sites the Grand Valley has to offer.”

The Summer Games are possible with the support of sponsors and donors, including Charlie Monfort. Monfort, former CMU chair of the board of trustees and active board member of Special Olympics Colorado, is the primary partner of the 2013 Summer Games. The Monfort Family was the primary sponsor of the Summer Games and summer sports programs over the past 10 years, and the support from Charlie Monfort will continue with the move of the Games to CMU.

John Hopkins, former CEO of Rocky Mountain Health Plan, has secured a $10,000 commitment from The Colorado Trust to support the Games. Mike Stahl, CEO of Hilltop, has committed $5,000 as the venue sponsor of aquatics. CMU and Special Olympics Colorado leaders have recently begun discussions with additional prospective sponsors and donors to fill the opportunities that range from $1,000 to $10,000. Additional sponsors will be announced in the coming days and weeks.

The venues selected for competition are the El Pomar Natatorium (aquatics), Maverick Center Gymnasium (gymnastics), Stocker Stadium (track and field), outdoor practice fields (soccer) and the CMU Performing Arts Theatre (powerlifting). The Victory Celebration dance will be held in the University Center Ballroom and is open to the public.

Special Olympics Colorado provides year-round training and competition in 22 sports for more than 12,000 athletes living in the state of Colorado. With the support of more than 6,600 volunteers and the generosity of Colorado citizens, corporations and local businesses, Special Olympics Colorado is able to offer more than 100 events annually to individuals with intellectual disabilities. Participation with other athletes, Unified partners (typically developing peers), coaches, sponsors and volunteers builds confidence and creates opportunities to participate as productive and respected members of society by increasing public awareness of the athletes’ capabilities. For more information, visit SpecialOlympicsCO.org.

A comprehensive university located in the center of western Colorado, Colorado Mesa University provides exceptional educational opportunities on a state-of-the-art campus. As western Colorado’s largest university, Colorado Mesa serves students on its main campus in Grand Junction, its satellite campus in Montrose, its community college, Western Colorado Community College, and via online offerings.

Colorado Mesa University serves as the primary intellectual and cultural center in western Colorado and promotes the exchange of ideas that are of regional, national and international importance. Founded in 1925, it’s a dynamic university enrolling 9,000 students at the associate, baccalaureate and graduate levels.


Saturday, June 1

Opening Ceremonies, 10 a.m.

Competitions, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Victory Celebration, 7- 9 p.m.

Fireworks, 9:00 p.m.

Sunday, June 2

Competitions, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Closing Ceremonies, 2 p.m.