Ask any athlete; sports are about more than the score. Sports have the power to inspire us, empower us, create pathways to grow, gain new skills, challenge ourselves, build confidence and forge new bonds within our local communities. It’s precisely that potential that inspired the founding of Prairie Grit Adaptive Sports.
The Minot-based nonprofit creates opportunities for children and adults with a wide range of abilities to participate in sports and recreational activities by providing adaptive tools and programming.
With a mission grounded in equity and inclusion, Prairie Grit’s core work helps remove the barriers that can make it difficult for athletes who are impacted by physical or mental disabilities to play and engage within their community — an opportunity that can be harder to access in rural communities.
“You can find adaptive sports programs in larger metro regions like Minneapolis or Chicago, but we saw a huge need for adaptive resources in more rural communities like ours,” says Krystal Butgereit, executive director of Prairie Grit Adaptive Sports. Those opportunities to help differently-abled athletes just didn’t exist here, so we set out to build those resources ourselves.”
Since its founding in 2016, Prairie Grit has helped more than 300 participants impacted by cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries, spina bifida, Down syndrome, autism and amputations to participate in everything from gymnastics, to golf, hunting and more.
Their work doesn’t just help keep athletes off the sidelines, it also opens doors to build important life skills and more inclusive community connections.
“Prairie Grit Adaptive Sports is about so much more than sports. The opportunities we’re creating are a ton of fun for our players, but these activities also provide important physical and mental health benefits, like improved self-esteem, social skills, increased range of motion, strength, endurance, and more,” says Butgereit. “These are the skills that open doors and build relationships, creating connections in our community.”
And now Prairie Grit will have additional support from the Cenex® brand. The nonprofit was recently selected as the recipient of a $25,000 Hometown Pride grant, presented by Cenex and Pinnacle Cooperative, based in Stanley, N.D. The grant initiative was established by Cenex, the energy brand of CHS, to support the philanthropic efforts that connect and support rural communities.
Prairie Grit was nominated by Pinnacle Cooperative for the organization’s commitment to building more inclusive community connections.
"As an active fundraiser, I can truly say that Prairie Grit Adaptive Sports has been one of the greatest additions to our community," says Josh White, retail operations manager for Pinnacle Cooperative. "With this $25,000 Hometown Pride grant, I'm confident this organization will provide more opportunities for residents in the surrounding communities by creating a welcoming, inclusive and accessible space for our neighbors with disabilities."
As Prairie Grit's programs continue to grow, there is a need for more equipment for new community members to participate. With the help of the $25,000 Hometown Pride grant, the organization will be able to purchase additional sports wheelchairs, eliminating the high financial burden for those unable to participate without adaptive equipment.
"It's amazing to see the impact these adaptive programs can make," says Butgereit. "The funds we raise help create avenues for everyone to participate and get in the game, but those activities also help build welcoming culture and support system for everyone, regardless of their ability. To be able to reach and support even more athletes in our community with this grant will have a remarkable impact."
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