Attention amateur athletes: State games coming soon to Daleville and surrounding areas
BY Jan Murray firstname.lastname@example.org
In June, thousands of athletes will converge on the Wiregrass area and at least part of them and spectators will make their way to Daleville and Fort Rucker to participate in the Alabama State Games. The games are touted as the state’s largest annual multi-sport athletic event.Like last year, certain portions of the games will be held at Daleville High School and on the Army post. Since Daleville High School’s JROTC program has an indoor air rifle range the State Games will hold its air rifle and BB competitions in those facilities. Daleville will host the “Three-position Air Rifle” competition, the “International Air Rifle (40-shot)” contest and the “BB Gun” competitions. Fort Rucker will host the shotgun competitions for “Skeet” and “Trap” shooting as well as the 2D archery competition.DHS JROTC Senior Army Instructor Chris Miller is the tournament director for three contests being held in his JROTC facilities.Miller said, “We are blessed to have had founding (JROTC) instructors—the late retired Lt. Col. John Anderson and the late retired 1st Sgt. Francis M. Fairchild—who had the foresight to install a then state-of-the-art rifle range in our JROTC building in the mid-1970s. As such, we have a responsibility to maintain it and make it available for community events as much as is feasible.“The Alabama State Games provides us an opportunity to support our state while bringing awareness to our Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program, to Daleville High School and our city. Last year, we had many Cadets volunteer their summertime hours to help host these events. There were over 100 competitors in our three shooting events…We look forward to hosting more competitors this year and welcome all spectators to our facilities during the matches.”Daleville Mayor Claudia Wigglesworth said, “(It’s) great that the Wiregrass is again hosting the Alabama State Games. Collectively, we have a lot to offer for sports venues and these games provide the opportunity to showcase them. (I’m) proud that Daleville is able to host one event (Shooting sports/multiple contests) for the games. I look forward to finding opportunities for Daleville to host other athletic events for future State Games.”The 2016 games will include 24 different sports, including archery, baseball, Miracle League baseball, basketball (open and AAU), basketball (AISA), BMX racing, bowling, disc golf, flag football, golf, gymnastics, team handball, mountain biking, rugby, shooting sports, slow pitch softball, soccer, swimming, table tennis, Taekwondo, tennis, track and field, triathlon and ultimate Frisbee, according to alagames.net.The games will be held June 10 – 12 with opening ceremonies to be held at the National Peanut Festival Fairgrounds in Dothan. Opening ceremonies will be free and open to the public.The festival website states the “ceremony celebration will feature the Alabama State Games Fan Fair—fun outdoor festivities, face painting, food vendors, music, sports challenges and more…(the) opening ceremony at 7 p.m., which will be televised live across the state, with the ‘Parade of Athletes,’ the ‘lighting of the Olympic Flame,’ a huge fireworks show and more. Every registered athlete participating in the Opening Ceremony and the Parade of Athletes will receive a free commemorative opening ceremonies ‘Parade of Athletes’ T-shirt and will be eligible to win college scholarships.”The gate will open June 10 at 3 p.m. in the festival amphitheater with limited seating. Lawn chairs and blankets will be allowed.According to games website, “All Alabama residents, college students and military personnel who’ve lived in Alabama for at least 30 days prior to the day of competition and meet the specific requirements for their specific sport of interest, can compete. Alabama residents attending college or serving in the military in another state are also eligible to compete. Athletes residing in a state adjacent to Alabama who belong to a club based in Alabama and regularly train/compete in Alabama are eligible.“Plus, designated individual or team sports may be eligible to compete, along with those who compete in developing state games sports. Participants in sports (including formats/age groups of sports) not offered in other state games programs, residing close to a neighboring state line, may be eligible to compete.”Many events will be held in Dothan, Ozark and throughout Dale and Houston Counties. Registration began April 1. Those wishing to participate can register to do so online or by mail.The first Alabama State Games was held in 1983 in Auburn. The Games are part of a nationwide network to get more athletes involved and aware of Olympic sports and to encourage them to possibly pursue participation in the Olympic Games.More information is available on the Games’ Facebook page and through YouTube by following this link:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4gOAtnIJps. Information can also be garnered by calling 1-800-467-0422.