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Troy University hosts 13th annual Special Olympics State Games

Tyler Patterson ran his hardest at the 50 meter run Saturday at the Special Olympics State Games at Troy University and took home third place.

Of course, Patterson wasn’t overly concerned with the placement despite taking great pride in his medal.

Patterson was actually just beat by fellow Pike County athletes Ty Quan McNair and Javon Mathis, but the trio was more focused on the fun of competition than on the final standings.

Patterson’s parents Bob and Christina Patterson said it’s all about getting out and having that time with friends.

“He’s been here a couple of times and he loves it,” said Chrsitina Patterson. “He loves being here and having fun with his friends.”

Nearly 1,500 athletes and approximately 350 of their parents and chaperones were in Troy over the weekend to participate in the event, with athletes competing across the Troy University campus and the city in sports including swimming, gymnastics, equestrian, bowling, track and field, softball/baseball, cycling, bocce, flag football and golf.

Kenny and Deborah Rutherford came from Lawrence County to enjoy the festivities with their daughter Lydia, who has returned for her third straight year to compete in shotput and the 25 meter run.

“(The athletes) have the biggest hearts ever,” said Deborah Rutherford. “Win or lose, it means everything to them. They give it their all, win or lose.

“This means everything to us,” said Kenny Rutherford. “It’s wonderful … For (the athletes) this is normalcy. They don’t care if they win or lose, they’re there to have fun. That to me is sportsmanship. A lot of people could learn from them.”

The athletes finished out the day of fun with a victory dance at Trojan Arena with a performance by Elvis tribute artist Scot Bruce.