Courtesy of our friends at SPORTS `N SPOKES – read full story here.
For the sixth consecutive year, SPORTS `N SPOKES and Wheel: Life paired up to encourage people to get out and enjoy life through accessible travel, sports and activities.
This year, more than 200 people participated during the GOEL daily destination contest that introduced readers to 30 accessible destinations from across the country. We received more than 400 photos during this year’s photo contest, making it one of the most successful and not to mention most challenging contests to judge to date.
“Our publications team up every year to help share fun ideas and accessible travel resources that help our readers explore their world,” Wheel:Life director Lisa Wells says. “The real impact of the GOEL program, though, comes through the adventures and moments captured in the photos submitted by our participants.”
“All of you are the real heart of GOEL and we are thrilled to share your experiences.”
Grand Prize Winner Angelo Sanchez
For Angelo Sanchez, weekend excursions around the San Diego River trails are commonplace for him and his family. But during one particular outing, Sanchez found himself faced with a challenging crossing on the trail and thought it would make for a great photo. Little did he know his photo would be this year’s Get Out, Enjoy Life Go, Let’s Go first-place winner.
Sanchez, 7, was diagnosed with spina bifida and has learned how to perform everyday tasks with a style all his own.
“At an early age he was a little performer,” says father Mike Sanchez. “I seriously think he liked the attention and shock factor of doing wheelchair tricks and maneuvers. He got his first wheelchair at 22-months old, and by the following month was capable of transfers, push-ups and single dips to name a few.”
As the grand prize winner, Angelo won a Pantera X carbon fiber wheelchair and his photo is featured on the cover of the September 2016 issue of SPORTS ‘N SPOKES magazine! Learn more about Angelo here.
2nd Place Winner Josh Heine
Josh Heine looks out over the valley of the Garden of the Gods of Illinois sitting with his thoughts, his wheelchair sitting empty in front of him. It wasn’t the first time Heine gave the Get Out, Enjoy Life photo contest a go, but it was the first time he made a special trip to capture that perfect photo.
A self-proclaimed outdoorsman, Heine has never let his injury keep him from doing the things he enjoyed, so along with his friend Brianna Clark, he set out to capture a GOEL-specific photo that best exemplified the get out and enjoy life philosophy as well as something that shows his spirit of enjoying life.
Heine decided on Garden of the Gods of Illinois as the perfect location. A couple hours’ drive from his Kentucky home, he hit the road with some provisions, his friend and his trusty camera in tow. But there was one problem. Heine’s scenic spot is not wheelchair accessible.
“There was an uneven cobblestone pass Brianna and I had to make our way down,” Heine says. “She was dedicated to getting me into just the right spot. She helped me up this giant hill then I had to crawl on my hands and knees to where that photo was taken. She had to carry the chair to put it in front of me. It was so awesome and totally worth it.”
For winning second place in the 2016 GOEL photo contest, Josh won a bodyboard courtesy of Bellyak and a complimentary subscription to SPORTS ‘N SPOKES magazine. You’ll see his picture featured in the September 2016 SPORTS ‘N SPOKES issue as well in the Final Frame section on page 54. Learn more about Josh here.
3rd Place Winner Katherine Beattie
For Los Angeles resident Katherine Beattie, her wheelchair is the vehicle to get out and enjoy life. Beattie is no stranger to the world of wheelchair motocross (WCMX) and is currently the first female shredder to land a back flip in her chair.
Beattie landed a third-place win during the Get Out, Enjoy Life (GOEL) – Go, Let’s Go photo contest doing what she loves most – WCMX.
“I love this shot because it encompasses everything about GOEL,” Beattie says. “To me, that’s what wheelchairs are … a vehicle to get out and enjoy life.”
Beattie’s photo, dubbed “The Snake,” was taken at Prince Park in Oceanside, Calif., and is one of the best skate parks in Southern California so says Beattie. “It’s one of the top wheelchair friendly parks I’ve ridden,” Beattie says. “This park wasn’t designed with chairs in mind, but it’s almost all accessible, and it has great WCMX features like the one in this shot.”
The “snake,” for lack of a better term, is made up of two big rolling humps leading up to an A-frame feature that apparently looks like a serpent in the water.
Beattie says the most difficult part of the “snake” is maintaining enough speed throughout the feature to make it over the last A-frame. “Timing is critical, Beattie says. “It takes a lot of finesse, but I love this shot because you can see I’m catching air off of it, which means I was charging hard.”
While her shot seems perfectly framed, she says it was unplanned. For her third place prize, Beattie’s photo will appear on the SPORTS ‘N SPOKES website for the month of September. She will also receive a new iPad mini courtesy of Comfort Medical and the GOEL Prize Pack. Learn more about Katherine here.
Join Us Next Year for GOEL 2017
Start snapping your favorite shots as you get out and enjoy life throughout the year, and save them for our next GOEL photo contest happening in June 2017! Who knows? You might find yourself spotlighted in Wheel:Life and SPORTS ‘N SPOKES magazine too!
Thank you to everyone who participated in the Get Out, Enjoy Life event this year, including our partners at SPORTS ‘N SPOKES and our sponsors: Triumph Mobility and Panthera X Wheelchairs – Bellyak Bodyboards – RoboCup – LuminAid – Hollister Incorporated – Cure Medical – Comfort Medical – Kessler Rehabilitation Hospital – Woody Foundation – Alter UR Ego – Grit Freedom Chair – IntelliWheels FitGrip.