The City of College Station’s Park and Recreation staff and Texas A&M are gearing up for the Amateur Federation Games of Texas from July 25 to July 29 throughout the Bryan-College Station metroplex.
The games are set for ages five to 18, with events for adults as well, according to the Games of Texas Coordinator Kelly Kelbly.
“[The games] are Olympic-like,” Kelbly said. “This year we are looking at roughly 8,500 athletes, the majority of those are in track and swimming.”
The summer games will begin with an opening ceremony followed by events on the next day. After Monday, the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation will name its annual Male and Female Athlete of the Year.
According to the Federation website, over 140 organizations with 210,000 athletes compete every year in both winter and summer events. However, only a fraction of those make it to the summer games.
Athletes that qualify in their respective sport are invited to compete at the games. After competing in state competitions prior to the summer games, the best athletes in the state will be qualified to compete in College Station.
The summer games will hold events in archery, boxing, five-on-five flag football, golf, judo, lifeguard competition, pickleball, sand volleyball, skateboarding, soccer, swimming, tennis, track and field and ultimate frisbee.
The best athletes and teams at the summer games will qualify for the national games every other year, which are known to host college scouts for the sports played at the NCAA and NAIA levels.
A&M’s contribution to the summer games has been integral, according to Kelbly. The university rents the use of the Natatorium at the Recreational Center as well as the Physical Education Building specifically for the competitions. The Rec Center staff and EMTs are also a very important part to how smooth the events run.
“We also have between 200 and 400 volunteers every year,” Kelbly said. “Primarily they are A&M students and then people throughout the community.”
Athletes come from all over the state to participate in the various athletic events Kelbly said.
“We love to invite people into the community. We like to show them that we have top-notch facilities and a top-notch staff. Hospitality is kinda what we do. The economic impact of this event over the last two years is about $15 million, and that goes directly into this community,” Kelbly said.