The dates for Grand Canyon state winter games are rapidly approaching and one local sponsor advises amateur athletes to pick up application forms soon.
Circle K North manager Dale Strothmann says supplies of the 16-page pamphlets are limited and going fast at all three of the Rim country convenience store locations.
Along with Union 76, Circle K is one of the presenting sponsors of the games.
In addition to containing registration forms, the guide features complete listings of all 17 sports to be offered plus locations, times and explanations of all events.
The games will be contested Feb. 19, Feb 25 to 27 and March 3 to 5 at various venues near Flagstaff and in Maricopa County.
In order to create an Olympic village-type atmosphere, GC Games officials have developed a partnership with Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University and the City of Flagstaff to utilize campus facilities.
Although the games tip off a week earlier with fast-pitch softball at Rose Mofford Saguaro Ranch Park in Phoenix, the opening ceremonies will not begin until 6:45 p.m. Feb. 25 at the Jay Lively Ice Arena in Flagstaff.
Organizers are urging all athletes registered for the Winter Games Sports in Flagstaff to attend the ceremonies.
Among the events to be contested that weekend are Alpine skiing on the Agassiz Meadow's and Rattlesnake trails near Snowbowl. Nordic and snowshoe competitions are slated for the Flagstaff Nordic Center.
The courts of the NAU Student Activity Center will serve as the site for indoor volleyball
In the Valley, basketball, billiards, BMX bike racing, cycling, flag football, in-line hockey, lacrosse, tennis, shooting, track and field and wrestling will be held at various parks, firing ranges, high schools and colleges.
In most individual sports, athletes will be grouped into age and sex divisions for the competitions.
Teams sports will carry age and skill-level classifications.
The requirements set forth for age and skill levels have been established by each sport's governing body or commissioner.
The first-place finishers in each division in the Winter Games receive free entry into that sport at the Southern Arizona Tucson competition June 2 and 4. Twelve sports will be part of the Tucson event including basketball, baseball, bowling, racquetball, cycling, wrestling, track and field, softball and others.
The summer games --the largest of the three GC state competitions with 32 offerings -- is June 15 through 18 in Phoenix.
Who can participate?
According to game officials, athletes must be residents of Arizona for at least 30 days prior to the first day of competition. College students and military personnel who usually reside in Arizona or attend an Arizona school just prior to the games are eligible to enter.
Entry fees vary from sport to sport. The most costly are the team events such as 5-on-5 basketball which carries a $175 per team fee. Softball registration is $170 per team.
Slalom skiing events require a $15 lift ticket along with the $6 entry fee.
Most individual events range from $10 to $20 depending on the number entered.
What are the games?
As a multi-sport Olympic Festival for Arizona's amateur athletes, the games provide a year-round and statewide showcase for those who participate.
The games are also intended to provide all athletes the opportunity to use quality sports facilities and also to create a network of volunteers throughout Arizona to further the development of amateur athletic programs.
The games are a project of the Arizona Sports Council and affiliated with 43 other states which conduct similar events.
Former Phoenix Suns star Danny Manning was the long-time executive commissioner of the games. After he was traded away by the NBA team last year, he was replaced by Tom Gugliotta of the Suns and Luis Gonzales of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The two are now serving as co-Executive Commissioners.
For more information on the games, call (480) 517-9700 or see www.gcsg.org.