The 24 members of the Curry County Special Olympics Bowling Team have been practicing together for the last two months.

The team has met up once a week at Azalea Lanes in Brookings, shared the game of bowling and each other's company.

According to the local Director of the Special Olympics Tricia McCarten, they've really enjoyed themselves as well.

andquot;You can just see the joy on their faces,andquot; she said. andquot;It's pretty cool to watch.andquot;

There's something in the sport of bowling that's captivating their attention, too.

andquot;For some of them it's about the competition,andquot; she said. andquot;For the rest, it gives them something to be good at.andquot;

Now seven bowlers have the chance to take their game to the next level - the state competition in Beaverton on Nov. 22.

Following a regional qualifying round in Medford, Ore., on Oct. 25, the Curry chapter received the invitations to the state tournament.

All 19 participants in the regional took home a ribbon. Part of the Special Olympics philosophy is that, as Head Coach Hazel Campbell said, andquot;everybody in the Special Olympics in a winner.andquot;

That philosophy is mirrored in the oath every SO athlete recites:

andquot;Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.andquot;

The athletes, who range in age from 10 to 70, have benefitted immensely from the program, according to Campbell, and the community has also been instrumental in getting the program up to speed.

andquot;We want to thank everyone who helped us,andquot; she said. andquot;We really appreciate what everyone has done, even the people we don't know.andquot;

The support means the local chapter will be able to continue into the winter with a recreational basketball league.

Those interested can reach the local Program Coordinator Elaine Lortschler at (541) 698-7608.