Fundraiser to help local athlete attend World Special Olympics

By Patrick Fisher, Staff Writer

Matthew Schoenbauer, son of Leroy and Pam Schoenbauer of rural New Prague, has been riding horses since age two.

Now an eighth grader at New Prague Middle School he has been chosen to represent Minnesota as an equestrian rider at the 2011 World Special Olympics in Athens, Greece.

To help him attend the event in June, a fundraiser is being held from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday, May 14, at the KC Hall, 411 Fourth Ave. SW in New Prague. The event includes a spaghetti supper, silent auction, bake sale and special events. Among the prizes are donated gift baskets and a raceway package. For the supper, people have a choice of spaghetti and meatballs or fettucinni alfredo. It also comes with garlic bread, a salad and a beverage.

Matthew first rode when he jumped onto the back of an untrained pony. He continued learning and now rides for the Tri-County Chargers Special Olympic Equestrian Team and belongs to the Sand Creek Riders Saddle Club. He now teaches Trail and Therapy sessions. The two horses he has used for the sessions are his Quarter-Arab gelding, Chuck, and his dappled gray Percheron, Johnny.

Pam said they learned last August that Matthew had been nominated for the games. The team looks at such things as an athlete's participation and how well he does in his sport. Matthew had an interview later that month and was notified in September that he had been accepted.

Pam said the reaction around the house was ecstatic since this an opportunity that only comes every four years. Added to that is at age 14 Matthew is the youngest athlete to ever compete in the equestrian Olympics.

This is quite an honor

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