Thunderbirds Charities Donate $240,000 To The Arizona Special Olympics

The Thunderbirds, hosts of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, donated over $240,000 this year to the Arizona Special Olympics.
If you’ve ever been to the Waste Management Phoenix Open, chances are good that you’ve witnessed the blue-tunic-clad guys roaming about TPC Scottsdale acting like they run the place. Well, for that week anyway, they do. But before you chalk it up as just another opportunity for golfers to rub elbows, it’s important to realize how that special event benefits other special events.

The Special Olympics Arizona Summer Games, for example, kick off every year with nearly 1,300 athletes competing in sports ranging from track and field and weight lifting to kayaking and tennis. This year, they all gathered Raymond Kellis High School in Glendale as well as Tempe Town Lake May 7-9 to show their stuff.

“As an organization, this is one of the most rewarding weekends of the year,” said Tom King, Big Chief of The Thunderbirds. “We get an opportunity to see how much it means to these athletes to get a chance to compete, and at the end of the day, we’re thrilled to shake their hands and say ‘well done.’”

The Thunderbirds – a premiere sponsor for Special Olympics for over 30 years – ran the awards ceremony, ensuring each athlete was honored for their achievements. Through proceeds from the Waste Management Phoenix Open, this renowned charitable organization has raised more than $3 million for Special Olympics Arizona to date, contributing to Summer Games as well as the Special Olympics Young Athletes Program.

The event was an Olympic-style affair, with an opening ceremony, torch run, parade of athletes and good-natured competition. As the last of six annual events from Special Olympics Arizona, it is also a qualifying event for athletes to go on to compete in national and world-level competitions.

Knowing that every ticket sold, Thunder Dog eaten and beverage purchased helps The Thunderbirds support organizations like Special Olympics Arizona, it becomes even more justifiable to indulge a little at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. So eat up, drink up and support the hundreds of local charities that benefit from the Greatest and Greenest Show on Grass.