2014 TAAF Games of Texas were a rousing success
A few weeks ago, it would have been understandable if you thought Texas A&M’s football season had started a month early. After all, local restaurants and hotels were filled to capacity, and traffic volume was abnormally high for early August.
But the thousands of visitors in town weren’t headed to Kyle Field. They were here for the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation’s Summer Games of Texas, an Olympic-like festival that featured 8,438 athletes from across the state competing in archery, lifeguarding, boxing, golf, skateboarding, soccer, disc golf, swimming, tennis, and track and field.
Only 220 participants were from College Station, which means the rest – along with about 20,000 of their coaches, family members and friends – were visitors who dropped an estimated $6 million into the local economy from July 31-Aug. 4. That’s the early, conservative estimate, anyway.
Thankfully, the weather was ideal with the exception of a single short rain delay. The highest temperature during the event was 88 degrees, well below our seasonal average of 96. Here’s the breakdown of participants by sport and where they competed:
- Archery – 65 (Texas A&M Physical Education Activity Building).
- Boxing – 160 (College Station Hilton).
- Disc Golf – 15 (Texas A&M Research Park).
- Golf – 77 (Texas A&M Golf Course).
- Lifeguard Competition – 72 (Adamson Lagoon).
- Skateboarding – 39 (G. Hysmith Skate Park).
- Soccer – 242 (Veterans Park & Athletic Complex).
- Swimming – 2,946 (Bryan Aquatic Center).
- Tennis – 134 (Texas A&M Mitchell Tennis Center).
- Track & Field – 4,688 (College Station High School).
As you can see, the bulk of the athletes competed in swimming, and track and field. Overall, the competition was at an extremely high level, with 97 Games of Texas records set, including 64 in swimming and 33 in track and field. Medal winners advance to the 2015 State Games of America in Lincoln, Neb.
Here are some other interesting tidbits reported by the College Station Parks and Recreation Department, which partnered with Texas A&M and the City of Bryan to manage the event:
- 40,000 bottles of water were used for participants and volunteers.
- 6,400 pounds of ice were used at College Station High School.
- 1,910 meals were donated by local sponsors for participants and volunteers.
- 3,000 mini ice cream sandwiches were donated by Blue Bell and handed out at opening ceremonies at Blue Bell Park at Olsen Field.
- 70 volunteers were provided by the Texas Army National Guard.
- 154 gold medals were awarded in track and field.
- 55 bouts were conducted in boxing, including five involving girls.
- Boxing saw just 2 knockdowns and they were in the same girls’ bout.
- The youngest boxer was 11 years old, and the oldest was 27.
If you missed out on all the fun, don’t fret. The Games of Texas returns to Bryan-College Station next year!
Here’s a final look at the spirited competition that took place at the 2014 Games: