Nevada Hosts 2018 LETR International Conference

Special Olympics Nevada (SONV) hosted the 2018 Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics (LETR) International Conference last November at Bally’s Las Vegas.


The conference featured more than 1,200 law enforcement personnel from around the world gathered to celebrate Special Olympics, exchange fundraising ideas and network with one another. Special Olympics is law enforcement’s international charity of choice and the LETR has raised more than $600 million since 1981, including $68 million worldwide in 2018.


The LETR International Conference is held annually and rotates among cities in the U.S. and throughout the world. Last year marked the first time that Nevada had hosted the four-day event, signifying a major achievement for the program. Activities during the conference included:


  • Opening Ceremony
    • A star-studded ceremony to kick off the conference that featured Special Olympics Board of Directors Chair Tim Shriver as the keynote speaker.
  • T-Shirt Exchange
    • State and country programs exchange their respective LETR T-shirts.
  • Nevada Host Night
    • SONV hosted conference attendees at Stoney’s Rockin’ Country. Award-winning Vegas headliner Jeff Civillico put on a memorable performance highlighted by physical comedy, juggling, action-packed stunts and more. Host Night was presented by Lyft.
  • Live & Silent Auction
  • Torch Run ®
    • Hundreds of law enforcement personnel joined together to carry the Flame of Hope down the world-famous Las Vegas Strip. The group finished with a memorial to the victims of the October 1, 2017 mass shooting.
  • Unified Bocce
    • Conference attendees partnered with local Special Olympics athletes for an exciting afternoon of Unified bocce.
  • Slot Tournament
    • Conference Attendees had an opportunity to ‘win big’ as a Vegas high roller at the Slot Tournament, presented by Caesars Entertainment and Paris Las Vegas.


In addition to the highlighted activities, the conference featured full days of general assemblies, awards, breakout sessions, luncheons and more. Guest speakers included Shriver; former Oakland Raiders General Manager Reggie McKenzie; NBA Hall of Famer Gary Payton; Assemblymember Tom Roberts; Chris Sproule of Las Vegas Fire & Rescue; Director of the Nevada Department of Corrections James Dzurenda; and SONV President/CEO David Solo, among others.


Special Olympics athletes also played a major role in the conference. In addition to being in attendance to meet and greet with law enforcement, athletes took on speaking roles at breakout sessions and three general assemblies, which featured 1,000+ audience members. General assembly speakers were Paul Brooks Jr., Rob Doyle and James Stinson, all of Las Vegas, who shared their respective Special Olympics stories and the impact that the program – and LETR – has had on their lives. Lindsay Mibach of Northern California also presented at the Opening Ceremony and received the Athlete of the Year Award.


The 2018 International Conference was a resounding success for SONV in terms of financial impact, global feedback and athlete engagement. Several key figures played major roles in the planning and execution of the event:


The LETR International Planning Committee included: Retired Assistant Sheriff Tom Roberts; Lt. Robert Woolsey; Marshal Michael Gilbert; Sgt. Todd Shulman; Sgt. Shawn Maples; Detective Darryl McDonald; Trooper Barb Stapleton; Sheriff Chuck Allen; Case Worker Steve Prentice; Deputy Director Harold Wickham; Cpt. William Scott; Retired Lt. John Pratt; and SONV (and Special Olympics Northern California) staff members Katie Ostrom, Allyce Pierson, Scott Souza, Ilisa Kessler and Tyler Krochmal.


The SONV LETR Executive Committee included: Trooper Barb Stapleton; Sheriff Chuck Allen; Deputy Director Harold Wickham; Retired Sheriff Jim Pitts; Marshal Michael Gilbert; Cpt. Natasha Koch; Lt. Robert Woolsey; Officer Ron Larsen; Case Worker Steve Prentice; and SONV Associate Director of LETR Allyce Pierson.


Click here to learn more about the Law Enforcement Torch Run