ELKO – Smoke billowed from the parking lot of the Elko County Sheriff’s Office Wednesday at noon.

Fortunately, the only things “sizzling” were hamburgers, chorizos and hot dogs.

“We have fundraisers throughout the year,” said Dan Allred, Special Olympics area director. “This one is ‘Cops and Burgers,’ and I cannot tell you the energy we have out here.

People are so excited to be here, meet all of the athletes and see the medals they have won.”

Local Special Olympians attended the “Summer Games” competition in late May and early June in Reno. According to www.sonv.org, these games end the spring season with competitions in bocce, swimming and track and field.

“This raises money for Special Olympics,” said Armida Marin, Sheriff’s Office administrative assistant and the main coordinator for the event.

“We do ‘Polar Plunge’ in February and ‘Tip a Cop’ in May, and this is our July fundraiser. All of the money we raise here stays local.”

Marin said they are hoping to raise enough money during the burger sale to reach $30,000 for the year.

“We raised $20,000 in ‘Polar Plunge’ and $2,500 at ‘Tip a Cop,’ Marin said.

“I just wanted to come out,” said Terence Thornton, executive director for Special Olympics of Nevada.

Thornton traveled from Las Vegas for the event.

“From a rural standpoint Elko is one of our biggest supporters. I wanted to come and thank them in person.”

According to Thornton, the program now runs under the Northern California charter. Thornton’s work involves re-establishing the Nevada charter.

“My goal is to make that happen in two [years] with the philanthropic community we have statewide.

It’s time we make Special Olympics our own here in Nevada.”

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