Special Olympians run, jump, soar

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Special Olympians run, jump, soar

Organizer leaving Escalante Middle School, but vows games will continue
Coca-Cola decks out kids with T-shirts to support Nicholas Mathews

This year’s Special Track and Field Event was sponsored by Coca-Cola, which became interested after hearing about Nicholas Mathews.
Nicholas, an eighth-grade special-education student at Escalante Middle School, has competed in the event for three years. He has Down syndrome, and every year he and his family look forward to the event.
During his three years at Escalante, Nicholas saved quarters every week to buy a Coke on Friday.
Every Friday, Nicholas would celebrate his treat by wearing a Coca-Cola T-shirt.
At Wednesday’s track and field event, all students wore Coca-Cola shirts to support Nicholas and the Special Track and Field Event.
“He gets a soda today,” his mother, Misty Mathews, said. “He knows that this is a very special Wednesday.”
“It’s fun,” Nicholas said. “Everyone waves.”
pblank@durangoherald.com

Special Olympians run, jump, soar

Rita May Hecker, a sophomore at Durango High School, crosses the finish line at the Escalante Middle School track after running a 50-meter dash. Athletes from around the region participated in what has become known as the “Bowker Games” in honor Billy Bowker, the organizer of The Special Track and Field Event.
Isaac Balderrama, a fourth-grader at Riverview Elementary School, displays his medal for winning the 50-meter dash Wednesday at the Escalante Middle School.
Cole Perez, a seventh-grader at Escalante Middle School, competes in a softball toss with his helper Misty Melody, an eighth-grader at Escalante on Wednesday afternoon.
Cole Perez, a seventh-grader at Escalante Middle School, celebrates his performance during a softball toss with his helper Misty Melody, an eighth-grader at Escalante.
Cole Martens of Durango High School is congratulated by Sonia Miera, left, a special-needs instruction specialist at the school, and Morgan Jaworsky after running a 50-meter dash.
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