EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT)-Owensboro officials are preparing for the city’s first Special Olympics State Softball Tournament and Team Skills Competition in 16 years.

“It is a win-win for everyone. Our athletes are going to have an amazing experience,” says Trish Mazzoni, President and CEO of Special Olympics Kentucky.

The tournament is one of Special Olympics Kentucky’s biggest events of the year and is coming to Jack Fisher Park. Officials broke the news one of the parks’ softball fields today.

“It is one of the best, if not the best softball facilities in Kentucky,” Mazzroni says.

Tournament talks began in mid April, and players have been excited ever since. The event will bring in 40 to 45 teams and over 900 athletes and coaches from across the Commonwealth, including Jeff Johnson.

“I see people that will preform at their best. I see people that have formed a community of their own where they fellowship and just work together and just really enjoy being around each other,” Coach Johnson says.

In the past, the tournament was held in Bowling Green, limiting the chances for local families to watch their loved ones.

“In the western part of the state, we are just so spread out with all of our teams and this gives us the chance to bring a lot of teams in- and for them to play in front of their friends and families and showcase their talents,” Coach Johnson says.

The tournament takes place September 6-8, 2024.

“If you have any free time, come out and watch. You will be amazed at the athleticism and just the great atmosphere that goes on around Special Olympics events.