SIOUX CITY, IOWA (KCAU) – Smiles were aplenty at Riverside Park as the Miracle League of Sioux City took time in between fall games Sunday afternoon to recognize its athletes who traveled to the Ripken Experience Tournament in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee in July.

Practicing for six weeks prior to the trip, Sioux City brought a recreational team and its first competitive team to Tennessee. Made up of 25 youth and adult athletes, the Sioux city chapter was one of only four Miracle Leagues around the country to attend the 3-day tournament – participating the inaugural special-needs division.

Impact was felt by the Sioux City bunch in Pigeon Forge. The chapter traveled the furthest and was the largest out of any team attending. A portion of the funds were raised by Wanna have a Catch campaign founder Kevin Negaard, backing a trip that ended with Ripken rings, medals and lasting memories the athletes will take with them.

“It was fun and it was a lot of excitement the first time,” Miracle League of Sioux City athletes Rachel Slobin said. “Got nervous, but then it warmed up after a little bit you know. We did a good job and I think we all did our best.”

“Anna Stroud our shortstop turned a triple play,” Miracle League of Sioux City founder Kevin Negaard said. “Unbelievable experience for everybody just to travel and then to be around that kind of excitement in that type of facility was really neat. Here we just say ‘yes’ and then we figure out how it’s going to work. We can’t put limitations we just got to give them opportunities and they’re gonna continue to rise to those opportunities and do things we never thought they could.”

The fifth annual National All-Star Weekend for Miracle Leagues will be hosted by The Miracle League of Palm Beach County from November 3-5. Three athletes from the Sioux City chapter will be attending.