This is the 34th year for the Special Olympics, said Ginnie Molnar, Berkeley County Special Olympics director.
"I feel very blessed I can give the athletes a chance to excel and be a part of the community like everyone else," she said.
Molnar has been the county's director for the past 16 years. She said 44 West Virginia counties participate in the Special Olympics program, and Berkeley County has the largest budget in the state. There are between 40 and 50 families "very involved in the program, and they raise about $35,000 a year," she said.
Stew Barger, master of ceremonies for the event, said Molnar is a "big rock for the coaches."
Tiffany Fowler, 24, has been a Special Olympics participant for eight years. Her mother and coach, Becky Fowler, said Tiffany competes in the 100-meter dash, long jump and shot put.
"I love being with the kids," Becky Fowler said.
The Eastern West Virginia Community Foundation, a Special Olympics sponsor, gave Berkeley County Special Olympics a $2,500 special-needs grant, Executive Director Amy Owen said. The money purchased the Special Olympics T-shirts and will pay for the sports banquet in December, she said.
"Everybody feels pretty good at the end of the day," Owen said.
Audrey Weigle and Penny Lescalleet, Stonebrook group home counselors, came to watch seven of their clients participate in the games. Lescalleet said she has been working with her clients for more than eight years, but they have been Special Olympians before then, she said.
"They are really excited to participate," she said.