Big Send Off for Region 8 Special Olympian

September 21, 2007 - Posted at 8:49 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, AR -- Hundreds of Special Olympians will be headed to china next week for the World Games Competition and four athletes from Arkansas will be gunning for the gold.

Jonesboro resident Bridgett Copeland will be representing the United States in bocce ball and had a very special send off Friday afternoon.

Her friends and family were on hand as she was presented a key to the city from Mayor Doug Forman.

Bridgett's big adventure starts next Tuesday evening as she leaves from Little Rock headed to Los Angeles.  Wednesday morning, she'll begin the 18 hour flight to China.

"My mom's going and my grandmas going so they are going to be my good luck charms," said Bridgett.

"We've been busy for three months it seems like just trying to get all the preparation made, make sure that everything is just in order, our flights, our accommodations, how to pack, what to take, what not to take. It's been a lot but it's been fun too," said Bridgett's mom Barbara Copeland, "We're getting there. It's a big, big trip alright, but we are excited as well."

Bridgett has already prepared for her trip, learning to say "welcome" in Chinese...and she says she's ready to chow down when she gets there.

"I eat Chinese food, I like eggrolls and noodles and rice!" laughed Bridgett.

Friday was also proclaimed "Bridgett Copeland Day" by the city of Jonesboro.  Bridgett has been competing in the Special Olympics for 28 years.