Teams of law enforcement officers from both West River and East River South Dakota are joined Thursday evening by Vermillion runners in the community's downtown to accompany the South Dakota Special Olympics torch carrying the "Flame Of Hope" to its final destination -- the Sanford Coyote Sports Center on the University of South Dakota campus, where the opening ceremony of the state event was held later that evening. The teams started Monday in Sioux Falls and Spearfish, crossing the state and arriving in Vermillion Thursday. Among this year’s stops for the “Flame of Hope” were Murdo, Pierre, Winner, Platte, Highmore and Miller. The South Dakota Special Olympics begin Friday in Vermillion. As a joint collaboration between Special Olympics SD, the University of South Dakota and the Vermillion Area Chamber & Development Company, the event is expected to host over 500 athletes Friday and Saturday participating in a variety of competitions, ranging from soccer and softball throws, to volleyball, swimming and several different track and field events.