“The original games, the first games were held in Pincher Creek as well,” said Aline Holmen, recreation manager for the Town of Taber. “So they are hoping to make a bit of a celebration out of it because it is a significant anniversary number so they are trying to have a lot of other events going on as well along with the games that people can participate in. It’s a big deal for them because they haven’t hosted since 2004 and being the original hosts and a bit of an anniversary, they are going to try and play off of that.”
The Town of Taber/M.D. of Taber have always been a strong fixture in the games over the years with strong participation no matter where the Games are hosted.
“The years we haven’t been hosting, we’ve been averaging around 275 athletes. Depending on the location, our numbers are sometimes a little higher or a little lower, it just depends on location, but last time we went to the Pincher Creek/Crowsnest Pass area we had 275 so that’s our target number,” said Holmen.
There are new sports being added to the games this year, which has seen strong local participation like five-pin bowling, small bore, and a new golf scramble along with a new fad sweeping the region in cross-fit.
“Cross-fit is huge right now for people who like to exercise and work out. It involves weights and certain movements,” said Holmen. “It’s quite big right now. I don’t how big it is in Taber, but I know of people who go to Lethbridge from Taber to participate in it. It has grown to the point there are cross-fit games now.”
Families often view the Southern Alberta Summer Games as a mini-vacation with family and these Games will prove to be no exception coming on the heels of Canada Day celebrations.
“They are anticipating that people will go there early and take in their Canada Day as well with accommodations like camping,” said Holmen, who encourages any locals who may want to participate in the games to start looking for accommodations so they do not miss out on the opportunity.
Just a few years ago, there was a danger that the longest continuously running amateur sporting event in Canada would be no longer be running as there was a struggle to find hosts, but she added the trend has been reversed as of late. Holmen is also a member of the Southern Alberta Recreation Association.
“Nothing has been confirmed for next year, but we do have a potential host and the year after that as well. SARA as a board is in the process of reviewing those applications,” said Holmen. “With smaller communities like Raymond hosting and Taber and more central (locations), it has renewed some interest. You don’t get as much interest from Lethbridge and Medicine Hat because they are hosting the bigger games and so that’s where their focus is. We’ve been trying to focus on the smaller regions.”
“They are looking for coaches for various sports as well,” said Holmen. “Anyone who is interested can come in and have that discussion or looking for tryout dates they will be posting them on our Facebook page.”
Early bird registration deadline date is June 2 at 4:30 p.m.
“We’re quite excited. Usually our numbers are pretty good right after we’ve hosted the games. We’re hoping we can carry over the momentum from hosting last year,” said Holmen. “Maybe there were some new people who tried it last year who will continue.”
For more information on the Southern Alberta Summer Games you can refer to the Web site at http://www.southernalbertasummergames.com or the local Facebook Page at M.D. of Taber Southern Alberta Summer Games.
Town of Taber and M.D. of Taber residents who would like to register for the Games can do so by contacting Courtney Moser or Emily Bradbury at 403-223-5500 ext. 5561. Or you can drop by the Grey Room at the Taber Community Centre from Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.