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The Alberta Games began in 1974 to promote amateur sport and provide opportunities for young Alberta athletes to develop their athletic skills and attain their maximum potential. Since its establishment, thousands of athletes have competed in biannual Summer or Winter Games across the province.
The goals of the Alberta Games are to:
The Games provide many benefits to both the host community and to thousands of young athletes who compete at local, zone and provincial levels.
In January 1988, the Alberta Sport Council announced the City of Camrose as the host of the 8th Alberta Winter Games, to be held February 22-25, 1990.
The Camrose Games Society was established and began two years of planning, preparation and promotion. Leadership positions were as follows:
Chair - Dale Toogood
Co-Chair - Bill Fowler
Secretary/Treasurer - Linda Mazurenko
City of Camrose Liaison - Chris Clarkson
Administration - Dana Andreassen
Food & Accommodation - Bernie Boser
Protocol - Fran Bowlan
Culture - Don Hutchinson
Civic Pride & Signage - Dennis Johnson
Registration - Roly Melin
Sports - Errol Moen
Safety & Communications - Terry Offrim
Promotions - Al Rostad
Facilities - Grant Skippen
Transportation - Marian Williams
Friends of the Games - Greg Scott
Games Manager - Cheryl Stewart
Winter Games leadership team – photo by Jun Mah
The initial budget of approximately $700,000 increased to about $1 million by the Games' start. Although a large portion of the costs was paid by Alberta Sports Council, the City and community supplied significant funds to the project. The Friends of the Games acted as a fundraising arm of the Society, soliciting corporate and community donations as well as sponsoring events such as golf and bowling tournaments, and selling branded merchandise and souvenirs.
A significant portion of the budget was allocated to equipment and infrastructure improvements which remained in Camrose for future recreational use. Shared by the Games Society and the Camrose Ski Club, a $500,000 investment in the ski area included construction of a 30 metre ski jump as well as luge and bobsled runs, snow-making equipment and improvements to existing cross-country trails and the biathlon range. An outdoor speed skating oval was constructed at the Camrose Composite High School.
The Games Society was supported by more than 2000 volunteers who worked to raise funds, promote the games, organize and operate sporting events, and to feed/accommodate/transport/register participants, coaches and officials.
Local artist Jim Brager designed the Games medals and logo as well as the mascot, Ole Uffda, who represented the community’s Scandinavian history and culture. The mascot toured the province and promoted the Games in the months leading up to the start date. Ole was much loved by young and old and continued as a well-loved Camrose mascot many years after the games. Local musicians Judy and Marc Hafso composed the Games anthem.
The Winter Games team including Ole Uffda – photo by Jun Mah
The Opening Ceremonies on February 22 welcomed 2500 athletes from every zone in Alberta, as well as coaches, officials, dignitaries and spectators. Platform guests included the Honourable Don Getty, Premier of Alberta, several Cabinet Ministers and local dignitaries. Torch bearer and local athlete, Lee Niven, lit the Camrose Winter Games torch.
Lieutenant Governor W. Helen Hunley, several Cabinet Ministers and local dignitaries attended the Closing Ceremonies on February 25. It was the largest event hosted by Camrose at that time, and considered a great success.
Game’s opening, athletes’ entry – from the CDCM collection
Alberta Class Sport Events (*also Special Olympic events):
Alpine Skiing - Figure Skating - Ringette - Biathlon - Freestyle Skiing - Ski Jumping & Nordic Combined - Bobsleigh - Gymnastics - Speed Skating* - Bowling* - Hockey - Table Tennis
Boxing - Judo - Team Handball - Cross Country Skiing* - Luge - Wrestling - Curling - Racquetball
Host Class Sport Events:
Alpine Skiing for Physically Disabled
Figure Skating – Precision Team Figure Skating and Pre-Novice Mixed Dance
Cross-Country Skiing – Senior and Physically Disabled
With two exceptions (Rabbit Hill Ski Area and Wetaskiwin Civic Arena), the competition venues were located within the City of Camrose, and included the Camrose Ski Centre and trails, shooting range, local schools, Camrose Lutheran University College, arenas and curling rinks, and other community facilities.
Ski hill venue ready for the ski, ski jump, bobsledder, and luge competitors – CDCM collection
Almost 20 cultural events complemented the athletic competitions. Visual arts were featured through banners, murals, ice sculptures, and shows of arts, crafts and photography. Literary arts involved writing workshops and readings by Alberta authors such as W.O. Mitchell and Rudy Wiebe. Theatre sports, concerts and film and one-act play festivals highlighted performing arts. The community showcased its Scandinavian roots at a Sons of Norway coffee house featuring music, dancing, crafts and foods.
Zone 4 Team Parkland (Red Deer, Wetaskiwin, Camrose and Coronation) fielded the largest number of athletes, including 45 from the Camrose area. Zone 4 was third in the medal standing with 22 gold, 36 silver and 19 bronze medals.
Camrose and area athletes were well represented on the medals podium. Those who won medals included:
Bobsled – CDCM collection