Sports and live events have taken a hit due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemonium has put an end to many spring and summer events provincially, nationally, globally, and locally. Organizers in Raymond have recently made the tough decision to cancel the 2020 Southern Alberta Summer Games (SASG).
According to a recent online post on the Town of Raymond's website, the Southern Alberta Recreation Association (SARA), who is the governing body for the Games, announced due to the extenuating factors around COVID-19, the Town of Raymond will not be able to hold the games.
For next year, the Town of Claresholm was officially granted hosting duties for the 2021 Southern Alberta Summer Games.
“The Town of Raymond will be looking to apply for the 2022 Southern Alberta Summer Games,” it was stated in the online post.
Karen Wilde, the Town of Raymond's program events co-ordinator and Summer Games co-ordinator, said the announcement definitely was a dissapointment.
“We had done so much work leading up to this point and preparing for the Games. We were so excited to showcase all of our wonderful facilities in Raymond to the southern Alberta region via the Games. It is dissapointing this came about, but we understand the need for it - the safety of our athletes, our participants, and our businesses, here in town. We had to look out for their needs first and that's why the decision was made to cancel the Games,” Wilde explained.
Wilde said organizers were anticipating approximately 2,500 athletes and with that a draw of close to 5,000 spectators, parents, and participants coming to Raymond and area during the Games over four days.
With everything going on with the COVID-19 pandemic, Wilde said, businesses - except for grocery stores, pharmacies, and gas stations are closed - but they're seeing a reduced number of people. “We just don't feel it's the time for us to host the Games when we would rely on a lot of fundraising dollars from local businesses to put on the Games. To make the Games a success.”
“We didn't want to put that added stress and strain on struggling businesses right now with what they're going through with the pandemic,” Wilde added.
Wilde said the Town of Raymond did feel it was a good idea to cancel the Games.
According to Wilde, the Town of Raymond is going to prepare a bid to submit to the SARA board to possibly host the Games in 2022, after the Games are held next year in Claresholm.
“We are working towards that in a letter sent to the SARA board from the Town of Raymond letting them know it would be a hardship for us to host the Games in the current situation. They did mention, in the letter, we would pursue the bid for the 2022 Games,” said Wilde.
There have been a lot of volunteer hours already put into the Games in preparation to host in July, Wilde noted.
“A lot of our sport chairs have put in so many hours of their own time in preparation. We really appreciate all of the hours already put in by Town of Raymond staff, volunteers, and other people in the area. We just appreciate and acknowledge there was a lot of work that had gone into the Games up to this point and we appreciate members of our community stepping forward and being willing to do the work. It's sad we can't host it, but we're hoping we can all pull together again in 2022,” Wilde said.