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Photo contest winners Carl Brunning (left), Spencer Fox (top), and Danny Lilya.

Got Out and Enjoyed Life

Online Exclusive posted Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 3:58pm

Summer is filled with breaking the rules, standing apart, ignoring your head, and following your heart.

Summer is filled with breaking the rules, standing apart, ignoring your head, and following your heart. For 30 days S‘NS and Life After Spinal Cord Injury (LASCI) asked you to join our Get Out and Enjoy Life this summer.

From July 15 to August 15, we posted a daily destination or travel idea from across the country and asked you to share your favorite accessible rule-breaking-standing-apart-follow-your-heart activity with us. Some days you flooded our page with replies, while other days we wondered if the Internet was turned off.

Whatever the response, we had a blast hearing from everyone and learning more about our fans and the diverse range of interests, hobbies, and activities you enjoy.

Since 1975, SPORTS ‘N SPOKES has been the symbol of athletic and recreational freedom for many wheelchair users around the world and has served as a motivational tool for those who thought there was no Life After Spinal Cord Injury.

Thanks to the social media boom, we had the opportunity to get to know you better and form many new friendships over the summer. Spoke Karen Lohr posted, “I just moved to New England so I'm excited to explore.” Ms. Wheelchair Maine 2011, Monica Quimby, posted, “ so much to do in Maine. If you want to visit, let me know.”

John Vcelka posted, “There is lots going on in Washington. Just check out all the activities at Sports Abilities. Danny Lilya kept cool this summer playing sled hockey, while Vanessa Barron did some surfing off the Texas coast.

Spoke photo submissions from our contest. So many great pictures, smiles, and stories.

This was also the summer for competing at events like the National Junior Disability Championships (NJDC) in Michigan, and the exciting 31st National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Pittsburgh. We crowned this year’s SPORTS ‘N SPOKES Junior Athlete of the Year, Jessica Rogers, and met our first 1st runner-up, Sean Burns.

Other summer favorites included the nationwide Abilities Expo, which hosts mobility equipment vendors, products, and special guest speakers. The Ability First Sports Camp, held each year in Chico, Calif., draws dozens of kids to the California State University for a week-long sports and recreation extravaganza. Others surfed the California coast with AmpSurf, hit the gym with the IM ABLE Foundation, or attended the 2011 No Barriers Summit in Colorado. Our only regret is not being able to attend each event in person.

It was an active summer, but we would be remiss if we didn’t give thanks to Bert Burns and the LASCI team. Burns has dedicated his life to “paying it forward” after his life-changing injury from a car accident. “In those early days following rehab, as I was trying to build my strength, I relied heavily on S‘NS to help me believe I could regain the athletic ability I had before my accident.”

In the weeks, months, and years to follow, he aggressively worked out and looked to the pages of S’NS for role models and set his sights on becoming a racer. Now, years later, Burns is still part of the S‘NS family, and we have come full circle.

But enough of that. You want the results of the Get Out and Enjoy Life Family Snaps contest. If you’re holding the September issue in your hands, you knew the results the moment you opened your mailbox. For those of you who don’t subscribe, shame on you. What are you waiting for?

We received more than 100 photo submissions. From surfing to wheeling across the barren desert to bungee jumping, you didn’t hold back, and we had fun looking at each picture. Thankfully for us we passed the judging over to our panel of professional photographers to pore over each entry and make the final choice. We’d still be trying to decide.

The judging process is composed of multiple stages and calls upon the evaluations of our skilled photographers. They judged based on how closely the photos portrayed the contest theme, photo clarity, sharpness, creative / artistic composition, and, of course, given its intended use, how good a cover it would make.

The voting process unfortunately eliminates many good images. You can see all the entries on our website and Facebook pages.

Congratulations to third runner-up Danny Lilya for his photo of the Badlands National Park in South Dakota. Second runner-up goes to Spencer Fox and his water skiing photo from this year’s Ability First Sports camp.

Our first place winner is London resident Carl Brunning and his bungee jump photo. Carl wins a brand-new wheelchair courtesy of Colours Wheelchairs, the cover of the September S ‘NS issue, and a Get Out and Enjoy Life prize pack.

Thank you for all your photo submissions, daily destination comments, and suggestions, and to all our participating sponsors who donated gifts and prizes. For a full list of daily winners and sponsors, visit us online.

It only made sense that S‘NS and LASCI pair up for the Get Out and Enjoy Life this summer contest – if only to have some fun.


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