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Ride on! Special Olympics Cumberland County athlete creates lasting impact on community

It’s been said that horses can sense a person’s feelings. This sixth sense was evident with Cumberland County athlete, Steven Prescott from the first moment he sat in a saddle. There was an immediate connection with his horse, thanks in large part to Prescott’s gentle disposition.

Prescott started his Special Olympics career with swimming, but began training in equestrian after a suggestion from his coach. He started attending practices with equestrian coaches Larry and Bette Scott, and quickly fell in love with the sport.

“He really took to horseback riding,” explained Prescott’s mom, Claudia. “We didn’t push him at all and kept him with side walkers and basic events at first. But almost immediately, his coaches told us he could become an independent rider.”

And just like that, the Prescotts became what they call “horse people.”

“We had no prior experience with horses, but equestrian really gives us that family bonding time,” said Prescott’s dad, Tim.

Now eight years later, equestrian has become a favorite sport for the entire family. For 12 weeks leading up to Special Olympics NC’s state-level Equestrian Tournament, Prescott trains hard with his team and his horse. From events such as showmanship to trail riding, he shows that he is a versatile athlete who makes the most of his time in the ring, all while being calm and collected.

But who would have guessed that despite Prescott’s laid back temperament, he was a bit of a daredevil, too?

That daredevil streak showed up quite a bit while Prescott was in Raleigh for the 2017 SONC Equestrian Tournament. After a day of competition, he and his dad rappelled 30 stories down the Wells Fargo Capitol Center as part of the Over the Edge fundraiser for Special Olympics NC!

It may have been his dad’s idea to go Over the Edge, but Prescott was all in from the very beginning.

“I was able to go up to the top with them and I asked Steven if he was sure about rappelling,” said Claudia. “He gave me one last thumbs up and was ready to go! He has no fear.”

Together, father and son rappelled down the building and soon landed with all four feet on solid ground to much applause.

This “wild side” is nothing new to Prescott’s parents, though. For as long as they can remember, Prescott has joined his father on the back of his motorcycle for charity rides and bike convoys. After participating in these rides, Prescott even wanted to lead one of his own. However, his Zuma electric bike doesn’t get up to the same speed as motorcycles do and it didn’t seem as if his dream would come true.

Year one of Zuma ‘Round Town

He continued to participate in the charity rides, but always had the thought of leading his own in this back of his mind. Six years ago, Prescott, along with the help of his dad and uncle, organized a charity bike ride that he would lead on his motor scooter.

With about six bikes lined up behind him, Prescott took to the road and led his very first ride!

Year six of Zuma ‘Round Town

And the Prescotts didn’t stop there. The ride, Zuma ‘Round Town, has grown each year raising over $20,000 total for Special Olympics Cumberland County and other local nonprofit

organizations. In 2017, it saw over 100 cars and motorcycles come together to be led in the ride by the one and only Steven Prescott.

He may lead the ride, but Prescott’s leadership skills apply to many aspects of his life. He leads by example and by his willingness to help out where he is able. His peaceful demeanor mixed with his fearless attitude has helped to create a lasting impact on his whole community. And it’s only the beginning for Prescott. He will continue to ride, by horse, by Zuma or down the side of a skyscraper, for many years to come!

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