Restoration of the People’s Games– sometimes called everyone’s games – probably could not have happened at a better time.
Announcing the Rocky Mountain State Games would be restored to Colorado Springs and many other parts of the states, Colorado Springs Sports Corporation president and chief executive officer Dave Ogrean said the games held at the Air Force Academy are obviously “without peer.” The games were last held in 1999, and then fizzled out completely. That makes the Rocky Mountain State Games such an enterprising project.
Colorado’s games take place Aug. 2 to 4 and could attract 3,000 athletes. There are 15 sports, ranging from archery to wrestling. The games are modeled according to games in the 39 states. All but martial arts, softball and inline hockey will be hosted away from the Academy.
“We want people to know there’s a connection between competing in this and doing it in the backyard of the Olympic movement,” Ogrean said.
The Rocky Mountain State Games organized in 1988 with flash and fury, but faded out with tries in Denver and Fort Collins before ceasing operation.
Organizers want the new games to be more inclusive. Everyone participating receives a shirt and medal, and the top three finishers in each category may go on to compete in state games’ championships.
Organization is a key to making the games a success. With 50,000 fans regularly turning out for Academy football games, the Academy has the necessary experience to make things happen smoothly.
A report recently released by the Commonwealth Games of Virginia for 2000 to 2001 shows athletic participation at an all-time high of 10,170 participants.
The state games concept was developed in New York in 1978 with the Empire State Games. Last year more than 500,000 athletes competed in state games in 39 states across the nation.
“This is a national institution and we look forward to hosting this event,” said Air Force Academy athletic director Col. Randy Spetman.
A better location is unlikely, said Jim Page, managing director of the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Sport Performance division. “The state games movement is one of the most interesting and vibrant movements in sports today,” Page said.
The Colorado Springs Sports Corporation is a non-profit dedicated to advancing sports for the economic and social benefit of Colorado Springs residents. Colorado Springs is home to 45 national and international sports organizations, including groups such as the U.S. Olympic Committee, the U.S. Paralympic Corporation, as well as dozens of governing boards such as the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
The sports industry provides an estimated 1,500 jobs and annually contributes more than $150 million to the local economy.
El Pomar Foundation is the founding partner of the Rocky Mountain State Games, but many other groups and organizations are also sponsoring the events. Gold-Level sponsors include the Phil Long Community Fund, AT&T Wireless, The Gazette, Outback Steakhouse and Carrabba’s Italian Grill.
Entry fees are $25 and up for adults, $10 and up for youths. Teams will pay from $45 to $250. Registration may be via the Internet at www.thesportscorp.org and sportsnuts.com, or at phillong.com. Registration booklets may be picked up at Phil Long dealerships, AT&T Wireless stores, Wells Fargo banks and Wendy’s.
For information, call the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation at 719/634-7333.