Region J provides programming for people in Bond, Calhoun, Clinton, Fayette, Jersey, Macoupin, Madison, Monroe, Montgomery, St. Clair and Washington counties.
There are many opportunities available for you to get involved with Special Olympics including serving as a volunteer or committee member, helping with fundraising, or competing as an athlete. If you live in the Region and want to find out more about the local program, please contact one of the staff members listed below.
Region J Contact Info
Justin Dunning – Director
Steve Whitlatch – Assistant Director – Sports
Katy Gruen – Manager of Development
1318 Mercantile Dr.
Highland, IL 62249
What is the Plane Pull?
The Plane Pull features the ultimate tug-of-war competition, as teams of up to 10 battle a United Airlines 737, weighing more than 60,000 lbs. That is right, the plane weighs nearly 3 tons! Individuals must raise a minimum of $50 to participate ($500 for a team of 10). Students with a valid school ID may participate for a reduced rate of $30 each. School ID must be present at check-in the morning of the event.
Teams compete in one of three divisions:
- Open Division: Ideal for companies, school teams, clubs, Friends and Families
- Public Safety Division: law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics, EMT, DNR, DOC and military personnel; teams need at least 10 public safety competitors to qualify for this division
- Student Division: ideal for student groups at the High School and College level. Student Teams registration fee is reduced to $30 per participant with valid school IDs.
***If we are successful in recruiting 5 teams of a specific type (i.e. fitness clubs or gyms), Special Olympics Illinois will create an additional division for competition. All divisions must have a minimum of 3 teams the morning of the event to be valid. If not, teams will be moved to Open Division for competition. ***
Congratulations to all that participated in the 2019 Southern Illinois Plane Pull! We cannot thank you enough for all of your efforts in raising over $16,000 for the athletes of Special Olympics Illinois! The funds that you contributed allow athletes across Illinois to compete in sports without costs; year in and year out!
Congratulations to this year’s Plane Pull Champions:
Grand Champion – Open Division: Hub Haulers – 5.98 seconds
Grand Champion – Public Safety Division: Monsta Squad VCC – 5.76
Grand Champion – School Divsion: Fighting Falcons – 10.75 seconds
Top Fundraising Team – Monsta Squad VCC – $2,177 raised
Team Spirit Award – Plane Tuggers & Thigh Huggers
Car Show Winners:
Best In Show – Gary Kolenberger – 1966 Mustang Coupe
Athlete’s Choice – Matt Harrison – 1967 Oldsmobile 442
All proceeds collected through the Plane Pull and Car Show benefit the more than 23,000 athletes and over 17,000 Young Athletes (ages 2-7) currently participating with Special Olympics Illinois. Donations raised through events such as the Southern Illinois Plane Pull allow Special Olympics to provide year-round sports training and competitions at no cost to our athletes or their families.
Please contact Sandy Nash with Special Olympics Illinois with any questions you may have. You may also call 618-974-9010.
Region J Sponsors