The Texas Amateur Athletic Federation Games of Texas is the largest youth sporting event in the state, and it’s coming to McAllen July 28th-31st. More than 20,000 people are coming to town, including 8,000 athletes vying for the title of State Champion.
A mind-blowing, 40,000 bottles of water have been donated and semi-truck trailer full of ice is ready for the hottest sports tournament in Texas this Summer. Chew on those numbers for a bit. After you’ve digested that info, you’ll better understand the magnitude of the event.
The Ultimate Guide to the Games of Texas will tell you everything you need to know about this monumental tournament. Business owners, spectators and locals will be impacted over the four-day Olympic-style event, and I’m going to give you the inside information you need to know to so you can cruise the competition like a pro.
Did You Know? Heisman Trophy winner and NFL Quarterback, Robert Griffin III, and USA Track & Field Olympian/NFL Wide Receiver Marquis Goodwin are former Games of Texas athletes.
Event goers will occupy nearly every hotel room in the McAllen metro area, and if you’re staying in a hotel, chances are you’re going out to eat and probably also doing a little shopping. Here are 3 things businesses can do to prepare for the Games of Texas:
1. Staff Accordingly
Make sure you staff accordingly if you are a business that caters to visitors. For example, restaurants, retail stores and hotels, to name a few. The heaviest trafficked areas during the event will be the McAllen Convention Center District, McAllen Sports Park, McAllen Veterans Memorial Stadium and Edinburg Municipal Pool.
Participants will arrive on Thursday, July 28th, with Friday and Saturday being the busiest days.
2. Inform Your Staff
Your employees will come in contact with visitors the most, so make sure they know about the Games of Texas and are ready to showcase the first-class customer service and hospitality we are known for. You might also ask them give themselves extra time on their daily commute to work since traffic will be heavier.
3. Display Signage
Proudly display “Welcome Athletes” poster and decal at the entrance of your business. If you don’t have posters or decals, please stop by the McAllen Chamber of Commerce during business hours to pick them up. In addition, if you have marquees or digital signage, please change them to read “Welcome TAAF Athletes” during the dates of the event.
The Games of Texas will generate an estimated $7-10 million for the local economy
If you’re a McAllen resident, you are going to feel the buzz around town when the streets seem busier than usual, and your favorite low-key lunch spot has a one-hour wait. Not to worry though! Follow these 3 steps and you’ll be standing in the winner’s circle like the champion you are.
1. Negotiate Traffic
McAllen Veterans Memorial Stadium is going to be mayhem. Track & Field has the most athletes participating with more than 4,000, and when you count spectators that number will more than double. Expect delays on Bicentennial Boulevard & 23rd Street between Pecan and Nolana Avenues. Tamarack between Bicentennial and 23rd will be closed to through traffic.
If you live in Edinburg, Canton Road is going to bear the bulk of the load, with Swimming happening at the Edinburg Water Park and Basketball next door at the Edinburg Recreation Center.
2. Observe Peak Times
Most participants will arrive on Thursday, July 28th with the busiest days of events happening on Friday and Saturday. Since most of the participants are traveling from throughout Texas, you can expect the areas near hotels to be congested. Places like the Convention Center District, La Plaza Mall and areas along Expressway 83 will have a higher volume of traffic than normal.
Pro-Tip: Use your local prowess to traverse the back roads like a pro while Siri leads visitors on the more commonly traveled routes.
3. Be Hospitable
If there’s one thing we do well in South Texas, it’s hospitality, and Games of Texas weekend is our opportunity to roll out the red carpet for our guests. Make it a memorable experience for everyone involved so when they leave, they will remember Texas doesn’t end in San Antonio. The unique blend of culture and innovation in the Rio Grande Valley is unmatched, and this is our chance put it on display for our fellow Texans.
If you’re not familiar with the area, you’re going to need some inside info, and I’ve got 3 game-changing tips to take you from spectator status to championship level.
Texas in July is no joke, and staying cool and hydrated is crucial at outdoor events. Temperatures can easily rise into triple digits, so make sure you stay hydrated and avoid excessive exposure to the sun. Major events like Track & Field and Swimming will have first aid stations set up so make note of where they are located and seek them out if you need help.
2. Getting Around
Navigating the streets in McAllen is easy if you know this local tip. In fact, most locals might not know this! Generally speaking, McAllen streets are laid out in a grid pattern. Streets that run north and south are in numerical order, increasing in number east to west. For the directionally challenged, that means numbers decrease going left to right. Streets that run east and west are in alphabetic order and categorized. Furthest south you start with cities in alphabetical order, then trees, plants and birds to the north, in alphabetic order. If someone tells you the best restaurant in town is located on 10th and Dove, you will know it’s on 10th street on the north side of town. There are, however, exceptions to the rule; for example, Bicentennial Boulevard and Broadway don’t follow the rule.
3. Enjoy McAllen
There’s a reason why the Games of Texas are in McAllen, and a lot of has to do with our vibrant culture and first-class amenities. While you’re here, check out the best pizza places in town or hunt down the best burgers when you’re looking for a bite to eat. Looking for a refreshing energy boost? Stop by one of our local juice bars and fuel up with your daily serving of fruits and veggies in liquid form. Explore McAllen while you are here and find out why U.S. News ranks it as the #1 City for Quality of Life in the U.S. or let your inner shopaholic out and see why McAllen is #1 in Texas in retail sales per household.
Pro-tip: Use the official Games of Texas Snapchat Geofilter at Opening Ceremonies, Track & Field and Swimming! Use #GOTMcAllen #TAAFNation and show off your most memorable moments.
The TAAF Games of Texas is a game changer, and if you follow these simple tips and tricks you’ll be taking a victory lap after the action-packed weekend in South Texas.
View the schedule of events and full list of sports here: GOT 2016 Event Schedule
Follow these social media accounts for inside info on hip happenings and local hot spots while you’re in town, and don’t forget to use the event hashtags #GOTMcAllen #TAAFNation.