Santa Clarita’s seventh annual wheelchair sports festival is scheduled for April 28-29.
The free event sponsored by the Triumph Foundation is open to people of all ages with disabilities and without, according to the foundation’s founder and director Andrew Skinner.
All participants will be able to use sports wheelchairs to play in different events such as wheelchair hockey, basketball, quad rugby, racquetball, handcycling and other events.
The purpose of the event is to introduce wheelchair sports to people that are newly injured, as well as veterans and others with disabilities, Skinner said.
“You don’t need to be on a team or know what you’re doing,” Skinner said. “We have all the equipment, all the coaches and all the staff. This is inclusive for anyone, and everyone gets to participate.”
Registration begins at 8 a.m. and events begin at 9 a.m. on both days.
The event will also feature a youth camp within the festival for children with disabilities and their family members. Skinner said this way, kids can try the different sports out with individuals who match their size.
Skinner said the event is a unique opportunity for children with disabilities who are often picked last in gym class to lead the pack now.
“At our event, we put all the kids in wheelchairs,” Skinner said. “So now the kid who’s picked last in gym class at school is doing circles around the other kids, and all the other kids want to be on his team.”
Much of the gear is through community assets, as equipment is expensive, Skinner said.
The festival will also have a resource fair and the Triumph Foundation is still looking for exhibitor booths and sponsors.
The Wheelchair Sports Festival is part of the Paralympic Gateway to Gold initiative, a talent identification program that is a pipeline for Paralympic-eligible athletes to represent the U.S. Paralympic Team.