Everyone rolls: Wacky Wheelays set for Sunday at Bothell High for people of all abilities
By ANDY NYSTROM
Bothell Reporter Reporter
July 15, 2011 · 12:38 PM
Bob Rorabaugh gets emotional when he speaks about this Sunday's Wacky Wheelays. He calls it "an event of the heart."
The former Northshore Baptist Church staff pastor noted that starting with a 12:45 p.m. lunch and registration and then heading into games from 2:15-3:45 p.m., the Bothell High track and soccer stadium should be filled with hundreds of people with and without disabilities in wheelchairs, wagons, bikes, pedal toys, trikes, scooters, furniture dollies and more. Any wheeled contraption is a go, he added about the all-inclusive community field day.
When people arrive and see a host of classic cars lined up and then participants rolling around on their wheels, Rorabaugh said, "You're going to start smiling, and you're probably going to be smiling for the next three hours."
Games will include an obstacle course and people transporting water from one site to another to fill a cup, but Rorabaugh noted that the crowning moment of the day will be when the track is filled with both walkers and wheelers for a lap around the track.
Eleven years ago, Rorabaugh, his daughter, Debbie, and friend, Kenita Teague, hosted the first incarnation of the event, a "Hike on Wheels" at Myrtle Edwards Park in Seattle. About 30 people attended that event, and now it attracts about 300 folks and has dozens of disabled-services agencies on board, such as Bridge Disability Ministries, Free Wheelchair Mission, Northshore Wranglers and Northshore Special Families. This year, members of the Bothell Fire Department will be on hand, as well as the Jet City Roller Girls.
After the second event at Gas Works Park, one woman with cerebral-palsy mentioned to Rorabaugh, "'Call it Wacky Wheelays' — and it stuck," he said.
While the event is a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon, Rorabaugh feels it's also a learning experience for all involved.
"Children are losing their fear of people who are 'different,'" he said about attendees interacting with disabled children and adults, who are "loving the touch, the noise, the commotion of children all around them (at Wacky Wheelays)."
Rorabaugh's favorite moment from last year's event was watching a 4-year-old boy reach for a hand of a woman with cerebral palsy and try to move it up into high-five position.
"I saw her face," he said. "And it looked as if she thought she was being touched by an angel."
Email for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.Contact Bothell Reporter Reporter Andy Nystrom at email@example.com or 1-425-483-3732 (ext 5050).