In the world of competitive athletics, usually horseplay is not permitted.
This year, however, Madison County Special Olympics made an exception.
Recently, the Madison County Special Olympics Program — affiliated with the Madison County Board of Developmental Disabilities — announced the winners of its annual recognition awards. Topping the list was Channin Ford of SpiritHorse of Ohio who earned Coach of the Year.
The awards are voted on by the Special Olympics athletes themselves, as well as staff and community people who are involved with the program.
This year was the first time that Madison County Special Olympics ventured into the realm of competitive horse riding. Ford’s wealth of knowledge and teaching skills helped the program thrive in its initial season.
“Her years of experience paid off as the six athletes representing Madison County flourished during the 2016 State Equestrian event held in Cincinnati,” said Lincoln Comer, Recreation Coordinator for Madison County Board of Developmental Disabilities. “Behind the guidance of Coach Ford, Madison County earned its first medals in the sport of Equestrian with hopefully many more to come.”
Excelling in four sports earned Kody Price the Athlete of the Year award. Among his accomplishments were being Madison County’s first gold medalist on the inaugural Power Lifting team, playing first base for the Unified Tigers softball team, being a starter for the basketball team which finished third in the state, and a member of the undefeated flag football team.
“Kody has had an outstanding year as an athlete for the Madison County Tigers,” Comer said. “He has shown great maturity, dedication and has excelled in multiple sports.”
Chris Zeeck’s heart is in the right place. It is this dedication that has earned him Volunteer of the Year honors. Still a high school student, Zeeck has helped with alpine skiing, collecting stats during basketball, running the raffle for home hoops games, and was a unified partner on both the Tigers’ National and State volleyball championship teams.
“He is a special young man who has overcome adversity and dedicated his spare time to helping others,” Comer said. “Our program is where it is today because of dedicated individuals like Chris Zeeck.”
Again this year, Madison County Special Olympics honored an organization which has offered support to enhance some aspect of the program. This year’s recipient of the Organization of the Year award is Sports Imports.
Contributions by Sports Imports made it possible for the Unified Volleyball team to attend the USAV Open National Volleyball Championships in Orlando, Florida.
“Through their generosity our athletes were afforded the opportunity to compete at the highest level,” Comer said. “Thanks to their generous donation our team not only played but returned with a National title and were rewarded with the memory of a lifetime.”
Rebecca Bell has an enthusiasm for life. She also has that same enthusiasm for her Madison County Tigers. With that in mind, Rebecca was named the Fan of the Year.
“She is not one to shy away from being vocal or expressing her love for her Tigers,” Comer said. “Rebecca is one of the most dedicated Tiger fans you will ever find.”
Special Olympics athlete Bryan Thompson was honored with the Savannah’s Heart of a Champion Award for his determination and commitment.
Named in memory of former Special Olympics athlete Savannah Wilson, the award symbolizes a person who displays courage, determination, and class both on and off the court.
“No matter the sport, Bryan shows up to every practice on time and ready to go,” Comer said. “He defines the word commitment and is the standard to which all athletes should dedicate themselves.”
For more information about Special Olympics in Madison County, please contact Comer at 740-852-7052, ext. 1917.