By: Shayley Swanson
The Bryan/College Station area will be hosting the return of the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation’s Summer Games from July 30 through August 3. The Games of Texas is an Olympic-style competition for amateur athletes from across the state. In 2014, more than 8,438 athletes came to B/CS to compete in archery, lifeguarding, boxing, golf, skateboarding, soccer, disc golf, swimming, tennis, and track and field.
“The smiles that you see on the kids’ faces when they win a medal is priceless,” says College Station Recreation Manager Kelly Kelbly.
With the elite level of the competitors, 97 Games of Texas records were set in the 2014 games. Winners were able to advance to the 2015 State Games of America in Lincoln, Nebraska.
In 2014, the B/CS community experienced an economic impact of an estimated $6 million. The upcoming Games of Texas is projected to see an increase in participants due to the addition of gymnastics, lacrosse, pickleball, softball, and triathlon. With the growth, the B/CS community can expect an economic impact of $7 million to $7.5 million.
“It’s amazing to see the joint nature of everyone coming together,” shares Kelbly. “It takes a lot of manpower to host an event of this size, and to host it well.”
Between negotiating with hotels for good prices for visitors, and reserving first class venues for the events, it takes a lot of cooperation between the cities. With more than 250 staff employees, 400 volunteers, and 100 liaisons, help from the community is greatly appreciated.
Opening ceremonies are July 31 from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at Texas A&M University’s Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park; admission is free.
Spectators are encouraged to show their support at the events at varying venues across the B/CS area. Admission for boxing and gymnastics is $7 per day; swimming tickets are $7 per day or $35 for six sessions; and admission to track and field events are $5 per day. All other events are free to attend.
Anyone interested in participating as an athlete should visit TAAF.com for details and registration; eligibility restrictions may apply. Registration deadline is July 17. Contact College Station Parks and Recreation Department for volunteer opportunities at (979) 764-3486 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kelbly summed up the communities’ reaction to hosting the games by sharing, “We are all very excited, and we are ready to do even better than last year.”