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Pulling for Special Olympics, teams tug big airplane along to raise funds

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  • A giant UPS airplane waits at the end of the...

    A giant UPS airplane waits at the end of the runway for the Plane Pull to Benefit Special Olympics Athletes to begin at Long Beach Airport on September 23, 2023. (Photo by Stephanie E’amato, Contributing Photographer)

  • Aubrey Hernandez (age 4) helps her dad, Robert Hernandez, and...

    Aubrey Hernandez (age 4) helps her dad, Robert Hernandez, and their team, KP Spirit, pull the rope of that leads to the plane during the Plane Pull to benefit Special Olympics athletes at Long Beach airport on September 23, 2023. (Photo by Stephanie E’amato, Contributing Photographer)

  • Participants wear gloves to protect their hands while pulling on...

    Participants wear gloves to protect their hands while pulling on the large rope during the Plane Pull to benefit Special Olympics athletes. Long Beach Airport, September 23, 2023. (Photo by Stephanie E’amato, Contributing Photographer)

  • A giant UPS airplane sits on the runway at Long...

    A giant UPS airplane sits on the runway at Long Beach Airport while the Special Olympic teams gather to participate in the Plane Pull to Benefit Special Olympics Athletes on September 23, 2023. (Photo by Stephanie E’amato, Contributing Photographer)

  • Leo Ramirez gives the Special Olympics oath at the Plane...

    Leo Ramirez gives the Special Olympics oath at the Plane Pull to benefit Special Olympics athletes on September 23, 2023 at the Long Beach airport. (Photo by Stephanie E’amato, Contributing Photographer)

  • Sasha Cruz (age 18) is the host of this years...

    Sasha Cruz (age 18) is the host of this years Plane Pull to benefit Special Olympics athletes at the Long Beach airport on September 23, 2023. (Photo by Stephanie E’amato, Contributing Photographer)

  • D’Trace Porter of Long Beach, dresses up in a fireman’s...

    D’Trace Porter of Long Beach, dresses up in a fireman’s uniform at the Plane Pull to benefit Special Olympics athletes family event at the Long Beach airport, September 23, 2023. (Photo by Stephanie E’amato, Contributing Photographer)

  • A blow up version of axe throwing is a fun...

    A blow up version of axe throwing is a fun event to do at the Plane Pull to benefit Special Olympics athletes family event. Long Beach airport, September 23, 2023. (Photo by Stephanie E’amato, Contributing Photographer)

  • The Plane Pull to benefit Special Olympics athletes at the...

    The Plane Pull to benefit Special Olympics athletes at the long Beach airport starts with the pledge of allegiance during the opening ceremony. September 23, 2023. (Photo by Stephanie E’amato, Contributing Photographer)

  • Elena Hernandez, (age 83 from Anahiem) is all smiles ater...

    Elena Hernandez, (age 83 from Anahiem) is all smiles ater she helps her team compete in the Plane Pull to benefit Special Olympics athletes at Long Beach Airport on September 23, 2023. (Photo by Stephanie E’amato, Contributing Photographer)

  • A team participates in the Plane Pull to benefit Special...

    A team participates in the Plane Pull to benefit Special Olympics athletes by pulling the giant UPS airplane twelve feet. Long Beach Airport, September 23, 2023.

  • The American flag waves over the crowd gathering at the...

    The American flag waves over the crowd gathering at the Plane Pull to benefit Special Olympics athletes family event. Long Beach Airport, September 23, 2023. (Photo by Stephanie E’amato, Contributing Photographer)

  • Superman (Mark Wolffer, age 30) starts the Plane Pull to...

    Superman (Mark Wolffer, age 30) starts the Plane Pull to benefit Special Olympics athletes with a smile and a thumbs up, as contestants try pulling the rope before the actual competition begins. Long Beach Airport, September 23, 2023. (Photo by Stephanie E’amato, Contributing Photographer)

  • A group of young boys participate in the Plane Pull...

    A group of young boys participate in the Plane Pull with a smaller plane than the large UPS plane that the adults will pull. Long Beach Airport, September 23, 2023. (Photo by Stephanie E’amato, Contributing Photographer)

  • Fun things to participate in, like dunking baskets, are part...

    Fun things to participate in, like dunking baskets, are part of the family Plane Pull to Benefit Special Olympics Athletes at Long Beach Airport on September 23, 2023. (Photo by Stephanie E’amato, Contributing Photographer)

Dozens of teams gathered Saturday, Sept 23 at Long Beach Airport. Their mission: To pull for the Special Olympics. Literally.

The Law Enforcement Torch Run and Special Olympics Southern California hosted their annual Plane Pull at Long Beach Airport to raise money for special athletes.

Teams rolled up their sleeves and competed to pull a 124,000-pound jet 12 feet down the runway in the fastest recorded time.

The squads came from all over the region, consisting of law enforcement officers, business leaders, community and religious groups and other folks.

Each team was paired with an athlete “copilot” pulling along with them.

The eday-long event also included a supercar show, stage entertainment, a dunk tank and other kid-friendly activities for families to enjoy together.

All funds raised through the Plane Pull are aimed to help empower people with intellectual disabilities to live happier, healthier and more fulfilling lives, organizers said.

“The Plane Pull is one of the most anticipated SOSC events,” SOSC President and CEO Kelly Pond said. “Where else can you be on the airport tarmac pulling a real plane with other members of the community in a family-friendly environment to raise money for Special Olympic athletes.”

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