Texomans pull for Special Olympics athletes

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - Around 100 Texomans came out to support the Fourth Annual Fire Truck Pull in Wichita Falls on Saturday. 50 people tested their strength to support North Texas Special Olympics athletes.

The event is hosted by the Law Enforcement Torch Run.

The participants cheered each other on, including their competitors. They said it is the Special Olympics way to support each other even if they are out of breath pulling a 55,000-pound fire truck.

Five teams competed this year and each was made up of 10 people. The goal was to pull the fire truck 75 feet in the fastest time possible.

"That fire truck was a little heavier this year," Callie Nichols said. "It gets a lot heavier for us [every year]." Nichols competed alongside her daughter for The Flames, one of the women's team, and her husband competed for the Wichita Falls Fire Department.

The participants said this event is more than a competition.

"It was more about raising money and helping the community for us," Nichols said.

The event also honored former Special Olympics athlete and ambassador Daniel Bowen who passed away last year.

"He always had a smile on his face,"  Special Olympics Texas Region 9 Director Mike Strickland said. "He loved to compete and loved people."

Strickland said Bowen loved fire trucks and the fire truck pull event.

"Not having him here is difficult but he's in our memories, in our hearts, and our hearts through this event," he said.

This year's trophy was named after him and his parents awarded the trophy to the winning teams.

The two winning teams were The Flamers for the women with a time of 35.2 seconds. The Wichita Falls Fire Department won it for the men with a record time of 20.4 seconds.

Strickland said SOTX was able to raise around $1,500.

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