Se­niors plan Game Bid

The Drumheller Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Pa­trick Ko­lafa The Drumheller Mail

An Al­berta 55-plus Games Fes­ti­val, high­light­ing games of skill, may be on its way to the Val­ley.

The Big Coun­try Se­nior Sports So­ci­ety (BCSSS) is con­sid­er­ing putting Drumheller’s name in the hat to host an event this fall.

Linda Traquair, vice pres­i­dent of BCSSS, says a num­ber of changes to the 55-Plus Games or­ga­ni­za­tion has made it pos­si­ble for smaller com­mu­ni­ties to take a more ac­tive role in host­ing more events. Rather than sum­mer and win­ter games, they will have com­bined events ev­ery two years, dub­bing th­ese the “ac­tive games,” based on phys­i­cal com­pe­ti­tion. The zones will host smaller events with some of the games geared more to­wards skill rather than ath­letic abil­ity, such as cards.

Later this month there will be a meet­ing where Traquair said the BCSSS is plan­ning to bid for an event in the fall of 2016. The event, ten­ta­tively slated for Septem­ber 30 to Oc­to­ber 2 could at­tract from 400 to over 500 com­peti­tors. They are look­ing at need­ing pos­si­bly 200 vol­un­teers for the games.

“Zone Two, which Drumheller is a mem­ber, thought right away of Drumheller be­cause of our fa­cil­ity,” she said, adding it could be a boost for the econ­omy dur­ing this slow pe­riod.

“Look at what it could do for ho­tels and restau­rants,” she said.

While Drumheller has never hosted an of­fi­cial event, it has held tour­na­ments and qual­i­fy­ing events in pre­vi­ous years. It had 10 par­tic­i­pants at­tend the 2015 Win­ter Games in Leth­bridge, and 12 par­tic­i­pants at­tend the 2015 Sum­mer games in Strath­more.

One change for the games is that th­ese “fes­ti­val events”

would now be un­der a user pay model, mean­ing that the com­peti­tors would be re­spon­si­ble for their own travel, meals and lodg­ing.

“By split­ting the game up this way, smaller com­mu­ni­ties can ac­tu­ally host it,” she said.

A ten­ta­tive sched­ule would have reg­is­tra­tion and pos­si­bly open­ing cer­e­monies on Thurs­day, with com­pe­ti­tion run­ning Fri­day, Satur­day and pos­si­bly Sun­day. They would host a ban­quet on the Fri­day evening.

She said she is talk­ing to Drumheller’s very ac­tive pickle ball play­ers with the aim of host­ing pickle ball as a demon­stra­tion event. She says it could be good for the games.

“It (pickle ball) is a good spec­ta­tor sport and a good way to bring­ing the younger 55-plus par­tic­i­pants. The card play­ers do tend to be some of the older peo­ple. We need to get more of the young se­niors in­volved for the sur­vival of the games,” she said.

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