Lottery Winners, Special Olympians Square Off Over Strikes, Spares

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Almost two dozen Missouri Lottery winners gathered in Kansas City on Friday to help make some area Special Olympians feel like a million bucks.

The event at the Z-Strike Lanes bowling alley in the Power and Light District on Friday is part of the 26th annual Missouri Millionaires reunion, where lottery jackpot winners gather to share stories and to stay grounded by giving back to the community.

On Friday, the Missouri Millionaires took some Special Olympians bowling.

"It's wonderful to me because I actually have a child that's special, he is in his 30's, so it means a lot," said Independence millionaire Lisa Hamilton. "I was thrilled it was going to be Special Olympics."

For millionaires like Linda Gabel of Centerview, some time at the lanes helps to, "keep your head on straight."

"That's a big thing, just realizing it's a large windfall," said Gabel. "But be realistic too. You can change your lifestyle, but not neccessarily your life."

For the athletes, competitive by nature, the presence of big money didn't change their desire to win. When asked what they would like to say to the millionaires who came out, Special Olympian Andrew Baswell said, "Thanks."

But when asked if he was going to beat them in bowling, the answer was an emphatic, "Yes!"

Regardless of who came out on top on the scorecard, the smiles were a welcome sight for Special Olympics developmental coordinator Kami DeLaMeter.

"I think it's great for both, because both are getting to see the others as just regular people having fun bowling, and having a great time today," said Delameter. "I think it's great for the millionaires and the athletes."

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