SOILL Athletes to Take to Court, Arena at Fall Games in Rockford Area


NORMAL, Ill. – More than 740 Special Olympics athletes from all over the state will compete at the Special Olympics Illinois Fall Games, which includes volleyball and equestrian competition, on Oct. 22 and 23 in Poplar Grove. View list of athletes expected to compete.

Volleyball competition will take place at Harlem High School from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 23. Equestrian competition will take place at the Bergmann Centre in Poplar Grove from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, and 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 23.

There will be Special Olympics flag football trainings and demonstrations at noon and 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24, at Harlem High School’s practice field in Machesney Park. The trainings for this emerging sport will provide coaches with knowledge, tools and resources, while allowing athletes and coaches practice the sport.

Nearly 600 volleyball athletes will be competing in traditional team, modified team or Unified team play, with 70 athletes competing in the individual skills competition. The individual skills competition involves different skill tests that the athletes participate in including forearm pass, overhead set and serve. Unified teams include players with and without intellectual disabilities that compete against other Unified teams.

More than 150 athletes will compete in equestrian competition, including dressage, English equitation, showmanship, stock seat equitation and working trails.

Athlete participation per event are:

  • 4 athletes competing in Equestrian Dressage
  • 57 athletes competing in Equestrian English Equitation
  • 15 athletes competing in Equestrian Showmanship
  • 86 athletes competing in Equestrian Stock Seat Equitation
  • 104 athletes competing in Equestrian Working Trails
  • 70 athletes competing in Volleyball Individual Skills Competition
  • 185 athletes on 20 teams competing in Volleyball Modified Team Competition
  • 231 athletes on 27 teams competing in Volleyball Traditional Team Competition
  • 108 athletes on 11 teams competing in Volleyball Unified Team Competition

The Opening Ceremony will begin at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Harlem High School. A victory dance follows and will feature a Halloween costume contest.

The Fall Games Presenting Sponsor is the Illinois Knights of Columbus and Gold Medal Sponsors are the Illinois Law Enforcement Torch Run and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois.

Special Olympics Illinois is a not-for-profit organization offering year-round training and competition in 19 sports for more than 22,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities and more than 20,000 Young Athletes ages 2-7 with and without intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics transforms the lives of people with intellectual disabilities, allowing them to realize their full potential in sports and in life. Special Olympics programs enhance physical fitness, motor skills, self-confidence, social skills and encourage family and community support. If you are interested in learning more about Special Olympics Illinois, volunteering or providing financial support to help make Special Olympics programs possible, contact your local Special Olympics agency, call 800-394-0562 or visit our website at


Michele Evans, Office: 309-888-2573; Mobile: 309-660-8497