For the first time in 35 years the Special Olympics is forced to cancel its western slope games in Grand Junction due to a scheduling conflict at Stocker Stadium. The games were to be held Saturday May 13th at Stocker Stadium until Special Olympics organizers learned last week it wasn't in the books with the Grand Junction Parks and Recreation Department. However, the Colorado High School Athletic Association regional track and field championships were scheduled for the same weekend. Stocker Stadium has been hosting that event for 40 years. Parks Director Joe Stevens says certain entities such as District 51 schools, Mesa State College, and JUCO have priority when it comes to using the city's athletic facilities. The conflict forced the cancellation of the Special Olympics leaving the 250 expected participants, some traveling from as far away as Gunnison, with no place to compete.
In order to participate at the state level and beyond competitors must qualify at the regionals. Some of the special Olympians are making plans to travel to Craig, Colorado for the northwest regional competition set for May 13th. The school District 51 Special Olympics track and field event is not affected by the scheduling conflict and is still scheduled to take place on May 9th at Stocker Stadium.