All good things come to an end, and on Saturday, July 26 the sun set one last time on Team Colorado’s time in Regina, Saskatchewan.
The closing ceremonies of the 2014 North American Indigenous Games took place at the First Nations University. The ceremonies included both traditional and contemporary celebrations and grew national attention in Canada, being broadcast live on national Canadian television.
The closing ceremonies weren’t as formal as the opening ceremonies, teams were not individually introduced and there was no clear distinction between NAIG athletes and the general public.
Everywhere you looked there was a kid exchanging his or her jacket for an opposite teams jacket. Not that one was particularly better, but more as a parting gesture with those they competed with all week.
Though Team Colorado was a small team, compared to their Candian counterparts, Colorado still managed to grab four medals. Three in swimming and one in archery, Kevin Winkler, recreation manager said.
“The games were very exciting for our very small team, we got to participate on a high level against some high caliber teams like New York, Manitoba and [British Columbia].”
Along with the medals won in swimming and archery, the under 19 girl’s basketball and the under 14 boy’s basketball also made it to the medal rounds.
“Our small team made it to the medal rounds and that was awesome to see.”
Colorado’s team was smaller than previous years and that may have been for a number of reasons, but Winkler was glad to have taken such a dedicated bunch.
“It was awesome to take so many kids that wanted to play,” he said. “We raised the bar, and these are the kids that were willing to meet that bar, on all levels.”
Winkler was very proud of the fact that Colorado was the only team in the four corners to have a team compete in the games and that Team Colorado represented all three Ute tribes, having one volleyball player from Northern Ute.
Where to next?
According to Winkler, the future of NAIG is undetermined.
“As of now there is no new location, and if the games do happen again they will be held in the states,” he said.
The lone swimmer of Team Colorado made a big splash in Canada. Tifiny Mills won three medals during her time abroad. Bringing home one gold, one silver and a bronze. The bronze medal was won in relay when she teamed up with a member of Team New Brunswick.
Archery came to an end hours before closing ceremonies. Archer, Kursh Cotonuts, ended his time in Canada on the podium receiving the silver medal in the U19 Compound division. Cotonuts finished with a combined score of 987 just edging in front of Mitchell Washington, Team Wisconsin, by two points to claim silver.
The U19 girl’s volleyball finished up their time at NAIG on Friday, July 25. The girls did not make it to the medal rounds but did compete with some high caliber teams. Defeating British Columbia – gold medal winner – in the second set of the match forcing a third set be played.
The golf team finished their 54-hole tournament at Tor Hills golf course Friday, July 25. No one from the golf team medaled, but they all had their own personal victories. All golfers beat their previous day’s score at least once through out the tournament, some by more than ten strokes, according to Rocky Cundiff, golf coach.
Team Colorado jackets on sale for NAIG participants only
If you were a member of Team Colorado and wish to buy another team jacket, you can now purchase one at SunUte Community Center. Jackets are only available for NAIG participants, and are available until Monday, Aug. 18. Jackets will cost you $70. If you have any questions feel free to contact SunUte at (970) 563-0214.