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Special Olympics Team to Participate in Southern Illinois Plane Pull Saturday in Murphysboro

Teams of local law enforcement agencies and the general public will participate in a larger than life tug-of-war challenge at 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 24. They will face off with Southern Illinois University Aviation’s 737 at Southern Illinois Airport in Murphysboro for the benefit of Special Olympics Illinois. The Southern Illinois Run Plane Pull includes teams from law enforcement agencies, fire departments, private companies, high schools, colleges, fraternal groups and teams of friends and family. The Opening Ceremony is at 9 a.m.

“It’s great to see people supporting Special Olympics programs in Illinois and we’re excited to see them test their strength against a 60-ton airplane,” said Matt Johnson, Special Olympics Illinois Vice President – Development & Donor Relations. “In addition to those participating in the Plane Pull, we encourage family and friends to join in the spirit by supporting their loved ones and Special Olympics programs by making a donation to Special Olympics Illinois by visiting”

Check-in begins at 8 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, at the Southern Illinois Airport, 556 N. Airport Rd., Murphysboro, where team captains can turn in their donations and pick up their T-shirts and other materials. New teams can still sign up that morning.

Teams will be divided into three different divisions – Open Division is ideal for companies, school teams, church groups, clubs, friends and families; Public Safety Division is for law enforcement officers, firefighters, EMTs, DNR, DOC and military personnel; and the SIU Division created by popular demand. Each team of 8 will attempt to pull the plane a distance of 12 feet, with the top finisher from each division facing off for one final pull to determine the Grand Champion. To participate, each team is asked to raise a minimum of $400 ($50 per person) for Special Olympics Illinois. Teams raising more will be eligible for incentive prizes at the $2,500, $4,000 and $6,000 levels.

SIU School of Aviation, E.T. Simonds and the Law Enforcement Torch Run are Presenting Sponsors of the 2016 Southern Illinois Plane Pull, hosted by Southern Illinois Airport. Other sponsors are The Great Boars of Fire, Paradise Pools & Spas, Robin’s Nest Learning Center, Tammy S. Vaughn All State Insurance and Withers Radio.

Because Special Olympics athletes compete free of charge, all money raised by the Plane Pull will directly assist in their training and competition.

The Law Enforcement Torch Run is the single largest year-round fundraising vehicle benefiting Special Olympics Illinois. The annual intrastate relay and its various fundraising projects have two goals: to raise money and to gain awareness for the athletes who participate in Special Olympics Illinois. The Law Enforcement Torch Run has raised $39 million over 30 years while increasing awareness of Special Olympics Illinois athletes and their accomplishments.

Special Olympics Illinois is a not-for-profit organization offering year-round training and competition in

19 sports for more than 22,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities and more than 20,000 Young Athletes ages 2-7 with and without intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics changes lives by empowering people with intellectual disabilities to realize their full potential in sports and in life. Special Olympics programs enhance physical fitness, motor skills, self-confidence, social skills and encourage family and community support. If you are interested in learning more about Special Olympics Illinois, volunteering or providing financial support to help make Special Olympics programs possible, contact your local Special Olympics agency, call 800-394-0562 or visit our website at

Southern Illinois Plane Pull Teams

·        Carbondale Fire Hose Draggers (Carbondale Fire Department)

·        ETS Rodewad (E.T. Simonds – event sponsor)

·        Graham Correctional Center (corrections)

·        Henosis Hailstorm (Henosis CrossFit, Carbondale)

·        Hurricane Henosis (Henosis CrossFit, Carbondale)

·        Mavericks (Special Olympics  agency from Mt. Vernon)

·        Monsta II Squad (Vandalia – this team has been training by pulling a lumber truck)

·        Monsta Squad (Vandalia – this team has been training by pulling a lumber truck)

·        Progress Port (Special Olympics agency from Carterville)

·        Robin’s Nest (child learning center in Carterville – event sponsor)

·        Shiloh PD (Shiloh Police Department)

·        The Bulldogs (corrections group from Pontiac)

·        The Jet Setters (corrections group from Vienna)

·        The Wright Stuff (Special Olympics agency at Scott Air Force Base)