GRAND JUNCTION Grand Junction is buzzing with two major athletic competitions going on over the next week. Along with JUCO it's the second year in a row that the Western Slope will host the Colorado Special Olympics.
Dozens came out with local law enforcement for a 5K to raise money for the event, bring awareness to the community and carry the torch.
"Without these people running and walking we wouldn't really have a special olympics," Athlete Victoria Smith said.
Victoria Smith has been competing in the Special Olympics since seventh grade and she says her favorite aspects of the event are the friends she makes and the five sports she participates in; golf, soccer, bowling, swimming and track and field.
"Special Olympics is just where we can forget our differences and be on the same level of a playing field," Smith said.
This month communities all over the world gathered to carry the Special Olympics flame of hope. Today's 5K was the 30th Annual Law Enforcement Torch Run.
"You ask any law enforcement officer why did they join the job, most of them say it was to help people and there is no better way than to help someone that can't help themselves sometimes," Colorado State Patrolman Chris Wright said.
Earlier today 22 motorcycles transported a torch from the Front Range and handed it over to Western Slope troopers in Glenwood Springs.
Law enforcement is currently the number one fundraiser for the Special Olympics.
"They are athletes," Wright said. "They can compete with anybody, on any frame, in any form that you want to have them at. They try hard and they are happy with everything that they accomplish."
The summer games kick off Friday with dinner and a movie at Colorado Mesa University. More than 1,200 athletes from all over Colorado will gather in Grand Junction.
"For me Special Olympics means hope and to have that independence," Smith said, "And to have a voice where some of us don't even really have a voice."
Next weekend is an opportunity for athletes to qualify to be a part of Team Colorado and make their way to the national games which takes place in New Jersey next month.
The event is free and open to the public.
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