BEAVER DAM, Ky. (WEHT) – Qualifying for a national competition is a huge accomplishment, and two brothers from Kentucky both get to add it to their list of accolades. Torrey Thompson is following in his brother Brett’s footsteps. Brett competed in the 2018 Special Olympics playing bocce ball and now, Torrey will be representing Team Kentucky with his Unified partner, Mark McKinney.

“My brother Brett’s been playing before I did, so I decided to go ahead and try it,” said Torrey. “I saw him practice before. It was hard for me to understand at first.”

Mark and Torrey have been bocce partners since 2014 and they’ve been preparing for months to compete against over 300 other bocce athletes in Orlando. He said, “I’m ready. I’m gonna be glad to compete against other states. That’s what I’m looking forward to. Having a good time down there.”

“He practices everyday,” said Bud Coffman, Torrey’s coach. “He gets out in his yard. We have in Ohio county two practices a week no matter what. If it’s raining or shining, we’re out there practicing.”

Torrey said that his goal is obviously to bring home the gold medal to represent the state of Kentucky, but also to beat Brett who won the silver medal four years ago. Brett couldn’t be happier to cheer on his younger brother.

“Well he’s pretty good and I like him and he’s good,” said Brett Thompson. “We just played together. I tried to beat him because I beat him before and he’s great.”

Mark said he and Torrey won the gold medal this year at the state competition in Louisville, but that getting the national title would mean so much to him.

Bud added, “we’ve only been doing bocce for three USA games and we’ve never brought home a gold. So I hope we bring home a gold this time.”

But in all, they all say they are just wanting to enjoy their time in Florida together, exploring Disney and playing the game they love.

“I’m really having fun playing Bocce,” added Torrey.

“I don’t care if they get a gold, silver, or bronze or if they don’t get anything, just as long as they have fun,” added Bud. “It’s an experience they’ll never get again.”

Hawesville’s Kevin Rates will also we heading to the Special Olympics to compete in track and field.