Games History

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What began as an informal get-together once or twice a year to further recreational opportunities in southern Alberta, has led to the formation of what is now the largest annual sporting event run consecutively for over 25 years in Western Canada. The Southern Alberta Recreation Association (SARA) organized the first Southern Alberta Summer Games in Pincher Creek in 1970 with approximately 1,200 competitors participating, ranging in age from 6 to 80 years. The games have run every consecutive year since then and the Town of Pincher Creek will host the 50th annual games.

The Games were created to provide a vehicle by which all communities, whatever their size, have the opportunity to become involved in a meaningful sports program and for the greatest number of people possible to participate in an enjoyable grass roots festival. With a focus on getting as many people participants involved as possible, promoting physical and social involvement, and fair play, the games encourage anyone and everyone to participate, no matter what their age, sex, or ability. Each year, 13 teams or “regions” from across southern Alberta compete:

  1. MD of Cardston
  2. Municipality of Crowsnest Pass
  3. County of Forty Mile
  4. City of Lethbridge
  5. County of Lethbridge
  6. City of Medicine Hat
  7. County of Newell
  8. MD of Pincher Creek
  9. MD of Taber
  10. County of Vulcan
  11. County of Warner
  12. MD of Willow Creek
  13. Cypress County/Redcliff

Over the years, the games have evolved. In 1979, a Cultural component was added and is now a key part of the Games.  This year the cultural component will be represented in the Photography event.  Other activities such as arts and craft displays or competitions, music concerts, and social events are integral components to the four fun-filled days. And in 1986, a partnership between the Host Community, Southern Alberta Recreation Association and the Alberta Sport Council saw the Southern Alberta Summer Games become the playoff venue for the Alberta Games in some sports and selected age groups. This partnership continues every second year, still providing a grass roots competition and yet providing a vehicle for elite athletes to move on to a higher level of competition.