The spirit of the Olympic and Paralympic Movements will tee off in Mesquite, Nevada, this week as the ParaLong Drive Nationals begin with a celebration of “Olympic Day.”
Festivities begin on Thursday night (May 8), with a Welcome Reception (6 p.m.) and Dinner (7 p.m.), at the Eureka Casino Resort (tickets are required). On Friday (May 9), an Opening Ceremony kicks off the ParaLong Drive competition at 8 a.m., on the Grid at the Mesquite Sports & Event Complex. The Opening Ceremonies, which are free and open to the public, will include a tribute to the Olympic and Paralympic movements.
“Our ParaLong Drive athletes personify the Olympic spirit of perseverance, sportsmanship and striving to achieve,” said Dean Jarvis, founder of the Amputee Long Drive Championship in Maryville, Tenn. “We hope that someday the Paralympics will embrace golf as a sport and also hope that ParaLong Drive may be the quickest way to make that a reality.”
The Mesquite NV ParaLong Drive Nationals ceremony is one of more than 700 events taking place nationwide between May 8 and June 30. The events, designed to engage youth and promote the ideals of the Olympic movement, feature athlete appearances, family-friendly activities and interactive learning experiences.
Around the world, more than 160 countries take part in the annual celebration. Olympic Day, created in 1948 to commemorate the birth of the modern Olympic Games, focuses on the Olympic values and ideals such as fair play, perseverance, respect and sportsmanship. In the U.S., Olympic Day events range from small gatherings to large, city-wide events.
Jared Brentz, a double-leg amputee from Nashville, Tenn., is the defending overall ParaLong Drive champion with a drive of 358 yards last October in Mesquite. This year’s ParaLong Drive Nationals will have champions crowned in Open, Leg Amputee, Arm Amputee and Paramobile (paralyzed) divisions through a double-elimination tournament and match play championship. Blind ParaLong Driver Bill Davis will give a demonstration and several other awards will be given to longest drives by Military Veterans, age divisions or specific type of disability.
The next disabled long drive event will be July 17-18 for the second annual Amputee Long Drive Championships in Sevierville, Tenn. The event comes back to the Mesquite Sports & Event Complex for the ParaLong Drive Worlds on Oct. 16-17, when North America will tee off with athletes from Scotland, England, Netherlands, Greece, Pakistan, Spain and New Zealand; all vying for their respective divisional World titles.
Other disabled golf championships will be held on golf courses in Mesquite this year with the North American One-Armed Golf Association National Championship event in June and the North American Disability Golf Partnership will have their Phoenix Cup Golf Tournament in October (North America vs. Rest of the world in a Ryder Cup format).
Mesquite NV ParaLong Drive Nationals 2014 Schedule
May 8, Thursday
Welcome Athletes, Olympic Day Introduction, Volunteer Thank You
Cocktail Reception, 6 p.m.
Welcome Dinner, 7-9 p.m.
Eureka Casino Resort – Grand Canyon Room
Public Welcome– $30 per ticket
May 9, Friday
Olympic Day Celebration – Opening Ceremony, 8 a.m.
ParaLong Drive Nationals Competition, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Awards Ceremony, immediately after competition
Mesquite Sports & Event Complex, 1635 Bertha How Avenue
Public Welcome, Admission Free