Southern Alberta Recreation Association requested back in September 2012 if Taber and the M.D. would host the Games in 2013 because they had received no official bids.
Hosting the Games for the third time since 2005, Taber and area proved once again its solid commitment to the Games.
The Games featured 20 different events including photography, although archery was canceled due to conditions after an extreme hail storm.
“There were other events going on in town at the same time like the rodeo and the parade where there was some discussion what type of impact it would have, but probably the biggest impact was on the volunteers. That’s where we really noticed the crunch,” said Aline Holmen, leisure services manager for the Town of Taber at the recreation board’s November meeting last Thursday. “From a participant standpoint, Taber did really, really well. We had 2113 athletes and 153 coaches registered between the regions. Of those, 479 were our own athletes from our region and we had 33 coaches which was phenomenal.”
The numbers were lower than they were in 2005 and 2008 when Taber and area hosted, but still above the number of athletes held at Games in other years.
The purse strings for the Games were very tight as organizers stretched its dollars efficiently thanks to fundraising and donations in kind, borrowed equipment, no payment for beach volleyball and the utilization of existing resources and social media.
“We used a lot of social media so our advertising budget was down a lot. We did a lot more promotional things like Facebook and Twitter and videos on You Tube. I think we were the first community to utilize that type of promotion (videos) and I think you will see a lot more of it because the result was so favourable,” said Holmen. “In the end, our original budget was $94,000 and we came in at $55,038.32. From a volunteer standpoint, I must say I was very, very fortunate that with all our sports chairs, 90 per cent of them were chaired in 2005 and 2008 so we had repeat people.”
“They may not have done the same sport, but being a sports chair previously, that made things so much easier. They got it, they understood what the Games were about.”
“They are phenomenal people, to do it three Games in a row is unheard of for the most part. Sponsors donated $27,375 in cash and approximately $26,900 of in kind services for the Games not including the use of equipment from other organizations.”
The M.D. of Taber earned 373 medals during the Games which included 150 gold, 122 silver and 101 bronze. Pure participation in the Games showed the M.D. of Taber earning top marks with 1199.5 aggregate points.
“We are a very family-orientated area which is why our numbers were so high.”