Rob Hunt: Special Olympics football in Pendleton on Saturday

·2 min read

Sep. 8—One of the great labors of love in all of sports will be on display this weekend as the Madison County chapter of the Special Olympics will hold its flag football state qualifier in Pendleton.

No less than six counties are expected to participate in the event, which will be held at the Pendleton Sports Complex. This is the second year for the qualifier, which is required for advancement in the state tournament. A county must compete against at least three other counties to qualify. This helps determine which division or skill level they will compete in at the state level.

The event would not be possible without the tireless efforts of the Madison County Special Olympics program director Bob Helverling and a long list of volunteers who are contributing their time, equipment and efforts for the athletes.

There is no admission charge to attend after Todd Miller and the Pendleton Sports Complex along with the town of Pendleton and Falls Park donated the use of their facilities.

The Pendleton Junior Football League — as it did last year — will donate the use of its equipment for the day, and the games will begin at approximately 2:30 p.m. after the PJFL games have been completed. The organizers of the event wish to thank Troy McKinley, president of the PJFL, for the contribution.

But the generosity goes well beyond Pendleton.

Daleville boys basketball coach Ashley Fouch, a long-time supporter of the Special Olympics, and her coaching staff and players will help out this year.

The Broncos will help with officiating, acting as emcees and working the concession stand. I would have to echo Fouch's reasoning that this is a great opportunity for those players to serve their community and instill a sense of volunteerism as well.

"Personally, I cannot say enough about Coach Fouch," event organizer Clay Sexton said in an email. "My son transferred to Daleville last year, and her willingness to help with this event is just one example of many that I have witnessed in a short time. She has a sincere heart for serving and for community."

Sexton has also made a social media page for the event with more information as well as ways people can help. It can be found by searching "Flag Football hosted by Madison County Special Olympics" on Facebook.

If you can't be there in person to support these special athletes, there are other ways to help. You can contribute financially by donating at

On a weekend loaded with high school, college and the NFL, the most impactful football games you're likely to see this weekend, will be right there in Pendleton.

Contact Rob Hunt at or 765-640-4886.