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Indiana Live! Casino employees assist at Special Olympics event

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February 22, 2011

Indiana Live! Casino employees scored a slam dunk by volunteering at the Arnie Petrie Tradition, a basketball tournament for Special Olympians who will benefit from almost $2,000 that the event raised.

Twenty-six teams from all over the State of Indiana traveled to Shelbyville High School to participate in the competition, which has been held annually since 2004. An additional 35 athletes who weren't part of a team took part in by performing a variety of skills that included tossing a basketball inside a marked square and shooting baskets.

Indiana Live! Casino employees helped at the event by running the scorer's table, providing encouragement to athletes, and performing a variety of other tasks as needed.

"Getting the volunteers lined up for this event is by far and away the most difficult thing about doing this every year," said Elaine Haehl, Special Olympics Shelbyville County Coordinator. "We do get a wonderful response from people. But it is all people who are either parents of the athletes or volunteers who work with disabled people."

"The volunteers from the casino are exactly what we want. We want other people involved and interested in supporting Special Olympics and we wouldn't have that unless we had the casino help us like they did. We really appreciate them helping us out. It makes a difference."

Money raised at the Arnie Petrie Tradition will help cover future transportation and participation costs that the Special Olympians may incur. All teams participating paid a $20 entry fee. Money was also raised through the sale of concessions and brightly-colored event T-shirts that were quite popular among the athletes.

All teams played two games at the event, which included teams comprised of both male and female players of various ages. A special award that emphasized spirit and sportsmanship was presented to one player on both teams following each game. That award is also named in honor of Petrie, the former Coordinator of Special Olympics in Shelby County.

Special Olympics programs are organized by each Indiana County. Basketball and bowling are the two most popular sports offered to these athletes.

"There is a very high standard of behavior," Haehl said. "The objective of Special Olympics is to have the athlete improve every year. It's not just about going out to do it. They're trying to get better every year."

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