A judge called Samuel Hudson’s performance in the 14th annual East Texas Wheelchair Games on Saturday amazing, freaky, something he has never seen before and doesn’t expect to see again.
Zooming along in a manual wheelchair, Hudson outdistanced competitors in electric-powered wheelchairs as well as other competitors in manual chairs.
Not only did he do it in the 50-meter dash, he also did it in the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes.
“I haven’t seen anything close to that being done before,” Allen Bobbitt, who tabulated scores, said.
It marked the first time Hudson, of Flint, has competed in the games at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium, although he won three gold medals last year in the National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Pittsburg, Pa.
Hudson said he saw a flier about the local games and just wanted to come out and be a part of it
“Last year was my first time to be in any sports events,” Hudson said. With a laugh he added, “You get to the later part of your life and I said I’m going to do as much as I can.”
Hudson was competing with fellow manual-wheelchair racers who were on the track at the same time as the powered wheelchairs and he outran them all.
The games give someone disabled and in a wheelchair an opportunity to still participate in athletics, said Jon Mitchell, president, East Texas Wheelers and Walkers.
The real advantage, though, Mitchell said, is that a lot of folks in wheelchairs meet new people at the games and compare notes.
“Often trying to make it through life with a major disability, you learn more from other folks with similar disabilities than you do from doctors, physical therapists and occupational therapists,” Mitchell said.
Michael Walsh, of Lindale, started preparing for the games three or four months ago. He lifted weights and went back and forth down the road two miles to get in shape.
Walsh, who has been in a wheelchair since a car accident 20 years ago, said, “It’s a great event, and I’m so glad that they have this. I get to see friends that I haven’t seen since this event last year. I enjoy getting to meet with my friends and having fun and just getting out.”
“I have a wheelchair tennis clinic, and I’m here to meet people to try to get more people involved in that,” he said.
But Duncan, whose neck was broken in a car mishap 26 years ago, added, “It’s good for people to meet and see each other and it helps get people like us out of the house and have something to do.”
Michael Carpenter, of Gilmer, who suffered a spinal-cord injury at work 32 years ago, comes to the games almost every year.
“It’s fun to get out and compete, I like sports,” Carpenter said.
He rolls a mile or so daily out in the country to stay healthy, Carpenter said.
Frank Homesley, of Georgetown, decided to come to get “warmed up” for the National Veterans Wheelchair Games in June. He also said he came just for the camaraderie and competition.
Glen Bentley, of the Garland-Rowlett area, also considered the local games “a prelude” to the national games.
“It’s enjoyable and we have fun to be together,” he added.
Winners in the manual 50-meter dash were Linda Arnold, Michael Carpenter, Jon Duncan, Samuel Hudson, Michael Walsh and Bill Braun.
Winners in the powered 50-meter dash were Jerry Braun, Frank Homesley and Jon Mitchell.
Winners in the manual 100-meter dash was Linda Arnold, Jon Duncan, Michael Carpenter, Samuel Hudson, Michael Walsh, Bill Braun and Glen Bentley
Winners in the powered 100-meter dash were Frank Homesley, Jon Mitchell and Jerry Braun.
Winners in the manual 200/400 dashes were Samuel Hudson, Glen Bentley and Bill Braun. Winners in the powered 200/400 dash were Frank Homesley, Jon Mitchell and Jerry Braun.
Winners in the club throw were Jerry Braun, Linda Arnold, Bill Braun, Glen Bentley, Samuel Hudson, Michael Carpenter and Michael Walsh.
Discus winners were Jerry Braun, Bill Braun, Glen Bentley, Samuel Hudson, Michael Carpenter and Michael Walsh.
Shot put winners were Jerry Braun, Bill Braun, Glen Bentley, Samuel Hudson, Michael Carpenter and Michael Walsh.
Javelin winners were Jerry Braun, Bill Braun, Michael Walsh, Michael Carpenter and Samuel Hudson.
Winners in the bow competition were Judy Praffint, Linda Arnold, Michael Carpenter, Glen Bentley, Samuel Hudson, Michael Walsh and Pete Mollis.
Sponsors included Lone Star Handicapped Vans, Access to Mobility, JMS Medical, Custom Chair Bracing, Paralyzed Veterans of America Lone Start Chapter, Pinewood Mobility, William Booth Apartments and Smith County 911.