Celebrating 40 years of special sports day

May 5, 2021 marks a very special occasion: it's the 40th anniversary of the Forbes Special Sports Day.

Event organiser Dianne Decker remembers the early years of the competition - like a Special Sports Games that spread across multiple local venues with athletes camped at the Showground - clearly.

"I could see there was a great need for the day, and we had a huge response (when we started the event)," Di said of those early days.

"People came from Sydney and Canberra, we borrowed all the shearers' beds from (a local property) and they all camped at the showground."

Swim events were held in the heated pool, novelty events like the dress up races on Spooner Oval, bowls at the Services Club.

There were wheelchair sports, and some of the athletes went on to compete at a national level.

There was also no shortage of pranks with the athletes all camping on site, but "we had a fantastic time", Di remembers.

The event has changed since those days, as more more opportunities came up for many of the athletes who were drawn to those early games.

Di thought the departure of the wheelchair athletes might be the end of the event, but there was an outcry from those with intellectual special needs to continue with their annual event.

The Special Sport Day still caters for all ages, and draws athletes from all over the region for a morning of fun and games.

It begins with the traditional marchpast, led by piper Brian Tisdell and the Red Bend Catholic College Drummers for the honour of the Forbes Advocate trophy.

It's now a great day out with walking races and novelty events such as dress up races designed to be inclusive for those with special needs.