DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — The Alabama State Games are right around the corner and the Wiregrass is gearing up for a lot of exciting events this weekend.
Participants from all over the state, as well as surrounding states, will come to the Wiregrass to compete.
Competitions will be held in over 20 sports in Houston, Dale and Coffee Counties.
No matter your age or athletic ability, organizers say you can participate.
“We’re going to have some athletes there that are world class athletes but we’ll have a lot of folks that aren’t,” Alabama State Games Vice President and Executive Director Dean Kelly said. “It’s not where you have to qualify so it’s truly for every Alabamian that wants to be involved there’s something they can do.”
The Alabama State Games were founded in 1982 to get people interested in Olympic type sports.
The first games were held in 1983.
“We’ve had a lot of different faces from all over the state of Alabama such as Harvey Glance, Bo Jackson and Gene Stallings,” Alabama State Games Event and Program Coordinator T’Auntre Spence said. “So it’s a great unique ceremony for a long period of time.”
These games are the second longest running state games.
Organizers believe that’s because of community involvement and people’s love of sports.
“It’s a joy for me to spectate and it’s a joy for them to participate,” Alabama State Games Sports Coordinator Desean Bullock said. “When you have something in common with someone because you play sports that’s big. Just that small connection of wanting to know more about a sport I think that’s what brings the connection to everybody else.”
Winners will have the opportunity to compete at the national level.
In addition, nearly $15,000 in scholarship money will be given to athletes who win drawings.
“Now we have the opportunity to have academics and sports and combine them together to have one big organization that gives back to the community and to the state of Alabama,” Spence said.
The games will begin with an Olympic style opening ceremony Friday night at 7:30 p.m. at the Peanut Festival Fairgrounds in Dothan. Doors open at 3 p.m.