TABER - The Town of Taber has been announced as the region that will be hosting the 2018 Southern Alberta Summer Games.
The region was awarded the games by the Southern Alberta Recreation Association today (Oct. 11) in Taber.
Taber has hosted the games five times since 1977, the last time being 2013, and Southern Alberta Recreation Association Co-Chair Bonnie Ellis says their bid package was impressive.
"They certainly know how to come together as a Municipal District and a Town with a number of community volunteers to put on the games. We're looking to build on that legacy in 2018, and that's one of the reasons Taber was awarded the games in the first place," Ellis said.
2018 will mark the 49th anniversary of the games themselves.
Taber Director of Recreation Aline Holmen says they are beyond excited to host the games again.
"The facilities within the MD and Town are first-rate, and we look forward to welcoming everyone throughout Southern Alberta to our incredible community," Holmen continued. "When we last hosted the games, we had over 300 volunteers from both the Town and MD, and we are very thankful to those who have made and continue to make these games a success when we host them."
Ellis believes it's the volunteers who are truly what makes the Southern Alberta Summer Games so special.
"The incredible generosity of their time and talents showcase who we are as Southern Albertans, and the fact the games have reached their 49th milestone is evidence they wouldn't be what they are without the support of the volunteers and the communities," she said.
The host communities for the SASG usually see economic benefits, what with thousands of athletes and their families coming to town for the games, and Ellis says big numbers are expected again this year.
"There will be at least 2,000 athletes that will attend the games, they will bring their friends and family to either watch or be part of the games themselves. There's also the spin off of having people stay in your community for an extended period. Whether they're camping or in hotels they'll be spending money on food, groceries and other things people buy so that'll be a real boost," Ellis added.
The Southern Alberta Summer Games brings together communities throughout the region, Vulcan being as far north as the games cover and Cardston as far south.
Southern Alberta is broken into 13 regions and a variety of athletes from each region compete, according to Holmen.
"Take Taber for example. On average, they take 275 athletes to compete in the games and this year we expect that number to boost to around 400 in 2018 because we're the hosts," Holmen said.
Thanks to holding a number of games in the past, Taber has been able to build a legacy in the community.
What that means is they've been able to upgrade their track and field facility, as well as other facilities that will be used for different competitions during the games.
There's both team sports and individual sports that athletes will compete in including archery, swimming, soccer, trapshooting, ball hockey and many more. All levels and ages are eligible to compete in the games.
Over the years, the games have continued to grow and expand. Pickleball and cross fit were given as examples of sports that have been added to the slate recently.
More details regarding the Games are expected to be released in the coming months.
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