It’s athletics — and more — at the grassroots level.
That’s what the Southern Alberta Summer Games has been providing for a half century as of this year.
And to mark the 50th edition of the popular event, the Games are returning to the place they began back in 1970 — Pincher Creek, where they will take place July 3-6 with an expected 2,500 participants from 13 regions stretching from Medicine Hat to the Crowsnest Pass.
When the idea for such a regional event was being developed, spearheaded by the Southern Alberta Recreation Association, one of the goals was “To provide an opportunity for the greatest number of people possible to participate in an enjoyable grassroots sports festival.”
Right from the inaugural year, the Southern Alberta Summer Games succeeded in doing just that. The 1970 Games attracted about 1,200 competitors who were among the estimated 10,000 people who participated in regional playoffs to select representatives from each of the regions.
The Games — which is held in a different southern Alberta community each year — features about 20 sporting events along with several cultural events such as cribbage, quilting and photography. The formula allows for participation from all ages, as evidenced by the 1970 Games when there were participants ranging from age 6 to 80.
In 1976, a Games mascot was introduced — Gusty Gopher, whose name origins are no mystery to those familiar with the area’s famed winds. A few years ago, Gusty was joined by a mascot partner, Breezy.
Registration is open for those keen to take part in this year’s 50th anniversary Games. City of Lethbridge SASG officials have put out the call for participants of all ages and levels to represent the city in Pincher Creek, whether they are seasoned athletes or are competing in a sport for the first time. It’s all about participation because the SASG is an inclusive family-orientated grassroots sporting event emphasizing physical and social involvement for everyone.
Team Lethbridge organizers are hoping to build on the momentum from hosting the Games in 2016 and two strong second overall finishes in 2017 and 2018 to bring 500-plus participants to the 2019 Games.
The registration fee for local athletes will be $35, allowing athletes to participate in up to three different sports and/or activities. The fee also includes a competitor T-shirt. Deadline for registration is June 11 at 5 p.m. To register for the 2019 SASG, fill out the online registration form at https://lethbridgesportcouncil.ca/sasg or contact Jordan Calladine at email@example.com or 403-320-9371.
For more information aboutn the events, visit http://www.southernalberta
• 3/5/10 KM Run
• 3 on 3 Basketball
• 5 Pin Bowling
• Ball Hockey
• Beach Volleyball
• Mini Soccer
• Obstacle Course Race
• Small bore
• Strength and Conditioning (CrossFit)
• Track and Field (Athletics)