Thunder in the Valley kicks off at SVSU - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Thunder in the Valley kicks off at SVSU

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KOCHVILLE TOWNSHIP (WJRT) - (05/29/14) - The spotlight is on some incredible athletes in Mid-Michigan this week. Thunder in the Valley is underway on the campus of Saginaw Valley State University. It's a chance for people with disabilities to show off their skills.

This is the seventh year for the competition. The athletes range from novice to professional, and some are competing for a spot in the Paralympics.

"It's really a good thing to lift the spirits. Just getting out and trying to see what you can do," said Nick Cramer.

He's been in the Thunder in the Valley archery competition for six years.

"It takes practice and dedication to the craft," he said.

Cramer lost his ability to walk after a car accident more than seven years ago. Archery is a skill he's grown to love.

"It's more of just the fun of it for me," he said.

Cramer is among many athletes with disabilities competing in Kochville Township.

"There is like 11 or 12 states we have athletes from all ages," said director Art Hope.

Charles Keiffer traveled all the way from West Virginia to compete for his second year. He's focused on earning a spot on the world stage.

"I'm being tracked by the Paralympic Committee. I set a national record last year, so they are watching my scores now," Keiffer said.

He thinks he's got a good shot - as long as he can shake off the jitters.

"It's going good so far, if I can just keep my nerves from getting to me Sunday, I'll be alright," he said.

Thunder in the Valley includes archery, air rifle, track and field, swimming, popower lifting and table tennis.

The organization is still looking for volunteers to help out over the weekend. You'll find contact information and a complete schedule of events by clicking here.
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