Over 560 students from 50 different schools and programs packed the Cuesta College gymnasium and field on Friday for the 50th annual San Luis Obispo County Special Olympics competition.
Volunteers included the San Luis Obispo Police Department, Cal Fire, and the Cal Poly football team.
Rick Blankenburg has been a part of the organization for all 50 years of its existence in San Luis Obispo County, and to commemorate the games, the longest-standing athlete got the highest honor. With the assistance of San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson, Blankenburg got to light the torch, signaling the start of the games.
After the ceremony, the athletes made their way to the field for a variety of events, including the shot put, softball toss, and even some races around the track.
“We all go out for the same thing, to be there with these athletes and make their day as happy as we can make it,” said 48-year volunteer Penny Berryhill. “I’m going to do it until the day I can’t walk anymore.”