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North America Special Olympics softball tourney coming to ND

Craig Pippert, a representatitive of Special Olympics North America, announced the Special Olympics North America Championship will be played in Bismarck this summer. Pippert made the announcement at the annual meeting of the Bismarck Mandan Convention and Visitors Bureau on Thursday. Tom Stromme / Bismarck Tribune

BISMARCK -- Bismarck-Mandan will host the 2017 Special Olympics North America Softball Championship this summer.

The event, which is expected to draw more than 700 participants and bring about 1,000 visitors to the community Aug. 17-20, was announced during the Bismarck-Mandan Convention and Visitors Bureau's annual meeting. This is the first time the event will take place in North Dakota.

Craig Pippert, senior manager of sport development for Special Olympics North America, said 32 teams from across the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean are expected to compete. In addition to the tournament, the public is invited to attend opening ceremonies, including a parade of athletes.

Kathleen Meagher, president of Special Olympics North Dakota, said she believes the event will serve as a “springboard to make Bismarck-Mandan a more inclusive community than it already is.”