University of Montana coaches and sports legends from the court and field will gather together to help raise funds for Special Olympics at the fourth annual Montana Sports Legend event, which is slated for 6 p.m. Saturday, April 13, at the UM Adams Center.
The tailgate-themed dinner and auction, which will take place on the Dahlberg arena floor, will raise funds to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition for 2,100 Montana children and adults with intellectual disabilities.
The event will feature Montana sports legends including Colin Dow, John Edwards, Tuff Harris, Barry Darrow, Dallas Neil, Guy Bingham, Bryan Waldhauser, Justin Green, Scott Gragg, Andy Larson, Jimmy Farris, Blaine McElmurry, Dave Berkoff, Thatcher Szalay, Dylan McFarland, Wayne Tinkle, Robin Selvig, Mick Delaney and Kent Haslam.
“Special Olympics Montana athletes overcome criticism, loss of dignity and non-acceptance their entire lives,” said Jim Lawrence, vice president of development for Special Olympics Montana. “Through Special Olympics they learn to push it aside, show their bravery and their will to excel, and as a result become winners.”
Eric Weber will be the keynote speaker at this year’s event. Weber is a Special Olympics athlete from California who has overcome challenges presented by his autism to become a stand-up comedian. At the event, he will share with the audience how he pushed aside adversity to become an author, obtain a master’s degree and hone his craft of comedy. After sharing his life story he will entertain the audience with a comedy routine.
Limited dinner and auction tickets are available, cost $75 and can be purchased at the First Interstate Bank South Branch, located at 3502 Brooks St. in Missoula or by calling Bob Burns, First Interstate Bank vice president and event co-chair, at 406-523-4477. Organizers encourage participants to wear their favorite sport team’s colors.
“In 2012 we were able to launch eight new Special Olympics startup teams,” Lawrence said. “Because of the tremendous support around the state and from fundraising events like the Montana Sports Legend Event, we are able to increase our reach and offer services to more Montanans with intellectual disabilities.”
Supporters unable to attend the event still can participate in an online auction at http://www.charityauctionorganizer.com/auction/msla-msle. This site features eight live auction packages, such as joining former Griz football player and national country music singer/songwriter Tim Ryan, along with celebrity guests, as he tours the recording studios of some of Nashville’s greats; and two tickets to any Dallas Cowboys regular-season home game during the 2013 NFL season and a personalized tour of the $1.5 billion Dallas Cowboys stadium, the world’s largest domed structure.
First Interstate Bank is the premier sponsor for the event. All proceeds will benefit Special Olympics Montana. For more information call Special Olympics Montana at 1-800-242-6876, email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to http://www.somt.org/events/montana-sports-legends-event/.
NOTE TO MEDIA: Grizzly Athletics will host a special training event where UM student-athletes will work out with Special Olympics Montana athletes from noon-2 p.m. Saturday, April 13, in the North B Area of Dahlberg Arena. Media is welcome to capture footage, take photographs and interview participants.