ONALASKA, Wis. -

Hundreds of Special Olympic athletes are in our area competing for a chance play in the state tournament later this summer.

Special Olympics Wisconsin hosted its District Softball, Tennis and Bocce tournament in Onalaska on Saturday.

More than 500 athletes and coaches are here to compete.    

It draws in teams from across the region.

Special Olympics Wisconsin Regional Sports Director, Don Wigington said it's an important event for the athletes because it gives them the opportunity to get out and compete when they wouldn't be able to otherwise.

"The athletes they come out here and they have a good attitude about it but they also want to win. It's a chance for them to compete with their peers in sports they normally couldn't. They maybe play on a softball team and sit on the bench if they did a rec program but here they're able to participate and shine," said Wigington.

Athletes competing in the softball tournament said they love getting out to play some ball.

They said making it to the state competition would be an incredible experience.

"We're going to have fun playing a few more games and then dancing," said Jesse Barrow, competing in the softball tournament.

The winning teams will compete in the state tournament this August.