GREAT FALLS – Out of around 61 teams that are participating in the 2019 Special Olympics Montana (SOMT) Summer Games, one team traveled over 300 miles to be in Great Falls.
It’s the team that ends up traveling the farthest for the summer games every year.
The Opheim Special Olympics Team is small but proud, with only three total athletes competing this year.
John Rogenes, Opheim’s Special Olympics coach, said, “It’s a long ways to come to these. This one’s 300 miles, Missoula is 500 miles, but we always do it, they always enjoy themselves, it’s worth the trip.”
Two of the Opheim athletes are best friend duo Donnie Bailey and Steve Fauth, who have been friends for over 50 years.
They have been participating in Special Olympics together since the beginning. They were bowling partners and now they are bocce ball partners.
Donnie works as a janitor in Opheim, and Steve works on his farm with his dad and brother.
Rogenes added, “We have a lot of heart, especially they’re getting a little age on them, but they just go, go, go. They like doing this. This is what they look forward to, this is their moment in the sun for the whole year.”
Win or lose, Rogenes said the athletes believe they are number one.
Reporting by Kasey Herman for MTN News