(MUSKOGEE, Okla.) – Thirty-eight contestants have registered to compete in the 10th annual Oklahoma Regional Cane Quest competition hosted by Oklahoma School for the Blind.
Cane Quest will take place from 12-4 p.m. on Wednesday, November 2. The competition is a national program of the Braille Institute of America, based in Los Angeles, California.
All contestants will use long white canes for travel to identify obstacles in their paths, changes in surfaces, such as drop-offs at stairs or curbs.
“White canes let the public know that people are visually impaired,” Faye Miller, OSB orientation and mobility specialist and regional Cane Quest coordinator, said. “This is especially important at street crossings because a long cane increases the chances a vehicle will yield when can users are crossing streets.”
Oklahoma law requires drivers to completely stop their vehicles 15 feet away from pedestrians who are visually impaired and identified by their use of white canes with red tips or dog guides. People who violate this law are guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for up to three months or $100 fine or both.
Cane Quest contestants in the Scouts category will compete on the Oklahoma School for the Blind campus in Muskogee. They will demonstrate a variety of human guide skills, body and spatial awareness abilities, and safe negotiation of stairs.
Scouts earn coins for expertly performed skills that they can use to purchase prizes.
Competitors in the Explorers and Trailblazers categories will compete in downtown Muskogee, near the Muskogee Civic Center. They will cross streets and alleys and demonstrate different long cane techniques while following recorded directions.
These contestants have the opportunity to earn gold, silver and bronze medals.
Miller reported that sponsors include Braille Institute of America, Frank Dirksen, Lawton Council of the Blind, Liberty Braille, Muskogee County Health Department, NanoPac, Oklahoma Chapter of Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of Blind and Visually Impaired, Oklahoma Council of the Blind, Oklahoma State University – High Obesity Program, Sapulpa Lions Club, Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired and Tulsa Downtown Lions Club.
Donations in memory of Bud Holder will also support the Cane Quest competition.
“Cane Quest is an excellent opportunity for students to demonstrate their cane usage skills and challenge themselves while having fun in the process,” OSB Superintendent Rita Echelle said. “We appreciate Faye Miller, all our sponsors and the volunteers who make this event possible.”
OSB is a division of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services.
The academic program for OSB residential and commuter students meets all state-mandated education requirements. Students also receive specialized instruction in Braille, orientation and mobility, technology and other areas. They attend classes Monday through Thursday free of charge and are transported home for three-day weekends, holidays and summer breaks. OSB staff assist students with visual disabilities who attend other public schools, their families and educators free of charge..
For more information about OSB, phone toll free 877-229-7136 or visit http://osb.k12.ok.us/.