YEON Melon

Special Olympics athlete Shirley Fell closes her eyes while selecting the winning ticket during a raffle held at the Jan. 24, 2020, Melonville Comedy Festival in Hermiston. Also pictured are communications manager Kristi Smalley (holding basket) and Special Olympics volunteers Carol and Dave Nevin, who are seated in the background.

HERMISTON — The smiles were plentiful as Hermiston/Pendleton Special Olympics Local Program #510 raised $2,100 during a fundraiser at Melonville Comedy Festival.

Coaches and athletes sold concessions as well as raffle tickets during the Jan. 24 event at Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center in Hermiston. Chris Gibbs won a Snacks and Beverage basket, which was created by Rita McDougal, a longtime Special Olympics supporter; and Shawn Callahan won a cooler of beef donated by Kietzke Angus.

Kristi Smalley, Special Olympics communications manager, expressed appreciation to Melonville organizer Stuart Rice. In addition to providing the fundraising opportunity to the group, Rice made a $1,000 donation to Special Olympics.

“We greatly appreciate the positive exposure for our program and are always astounded by the generosity of the audience members,” Smalley said.

Special Olympics provides year-round training and athletic competitions for people of all ages with intellectual disabilities. There is no charge for athletes to participate.

Local athletes are currently training in basketball and powerlifting, with regional competitions in March. For more information about the program, visit For questions, call local program coordinator Angela Schneider at 541-314-0166.

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