The State Cycling Finals are held annually for Special Olympics Michigan athletes and this year they were held at Chrysler Chelsea Proving Grounds in Chelsea, Michigan on Saturday, September 10th, 2011.



Chrysler Group retiree John Shumate, admires his team's Special Olympics Michigan State Cycling Finals awards September 10, 2011 at Chrysler Group's Chelsea Proving Grounds.


About 200 Special Olympics Michigan athletes, coaches, and chaperones participated in the event; including one of Chrysler's own, Joel Smith, a Vehicle Validation Technician for Chrysler Group LLC for the past 43 years!

Joel started volunteering with Special Olympics after a neighbor, who has a child with Down syndrome, asked him if he would be a coach. His first volunteer job with the organization was as a basketball coach and he has since become the Tournament Director for Cycling, Special Olympics Michigan. Joel has been involved with the organization for 25 years and has won numerous awards from them, including being inducted into the Special Olympics Michigan Hall of Fame in 2009.

Joel Smith's own step-daughter, Lindsay Ruprecht, has been competing for 21 years in several of the offered sports and this month, at age 29, she was part of the State Cycling Finals at Chelsea Proving Grounds. 


Lindsay Ruprecht joins her parents Joel and Barbara Smith at the Special Olympics Michigan State Cycling Finals at Chrysler Group's Chelsea Proving Grounds on September 10, 2011. Joel is a Chrysler Group employee and tournament director for the Special Olympics Michigan.