Damien Cachia of Calgary warms up on the rings at the Artistic and Acrobatic Provincial Championships at the Collicutt Centre on Friday. Over 700 athletes from across the province will compete throughout the weekend at the event. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

Red Deer plays host to top artistic and acrobatic gymnasts in Alberta

The Collicutt Centre was filled with future Olympic hopefuls on Friday for one of the biggest gymnastics competitions of the season in Alberta.

Over the weekend, more than 700 athletes from across the province will compete at the Artistic and Acrobatic Provincial Championships.

The event will occupy both indoor soccer fields at the Collicutt Centre and for Exelta Gymnastic Club coach Barb Bilsborrow, who is helping spearhead the competition, it was great to see everything run smoothly Friday.

“It is the provincial championships for levels five to 10 and the trials for the Canadian Championships for level nine and 10,” said Bilsborrow.

“Many, many months of prep and lots of volunteers. Once it all starts, it goes from there.”

On the women’s side, they compete in four events, and the men’s side there are seven. The women compete in Vault, Uneven Bars, Balance Beam and Floor. The men compete in Floor, Pommel Horse, Still Rings, Vault, Parallel Bars, Horizontal Bar and Physical Prep.

The competitors also got a chance to pick the brain of a two-time Olympian at the event, as 24-year-old Brittany Rogers was on hand running the social media for Alberta Gymnastics Federation. Rogers was also just returning from the Commonwealth Games, where she won a medal for Canada.

“It was the best we’ve done in a long time. It was a great opportunity and something I’m very proud of,” Rogers said.

Rogers, who trains in Calgary but was born in New Westminster, B.C., said it was a bit of a turn back the clock moment watching all the young competitors at the championships, but she had some simple advice for many of them.

“It’s amazing seeing how many opportunities these girls get. It takes a lot to get to the Commonwealth Games and you see the best of the best there. Here, there are so many girls fighting to go after the same dream. It’s humbling knowing I’ve come from the same spot and knowing where I am now,” she said.

“You just have to go to the beat of your own drum. Work hard, stay humble and have fun and that’s the most important thing.”

Not only is the event a pinnacle for many of the younger athletes, it is also both Canadian trails and a test event for the 2018 Canada Winter Games.

“This is their Olympics,” Bilsborrow said about the young competitors from levels five to seven.

“They had to try out to get here, on the women’s side.”

Bilsborrow also added it’s the second test event for the Games they’ve hosted at the Collicutt Centre and she said they’ve ironed out many of the logistical issues.

“It’s our second meet in this facility this year. In our invitational, we had 65o athletes, but we only used one side. In the Games we will only use one side,” she said.

“It’s lucky we got to do a couple (tests) in here. (We learned about) technical stuff mostly, the music, the computers and things like that. Placement of equipment.”

For the schedule of events this weekend, head towww.abgym.ab.ca

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Man in huge weapons bust gets prison

Nearly 30 firearms and stolen property seized in November 2017 police search

Municipalities fighting for share of bankrupt oilpatch assets

Lacombe and Clearwater Counties among 11 rural municipalities seeking secured creditor status

Carr downplays tanker traffic risk, says legislation not developed yet

OTTAWA — The federal Liberal government hasn’t yet “landed” on its promised… Continue reading

Broncos hockey player Conner Lukan loved most animals, watched ‘The Bachelor’

SLAVE LAKE, Alta. — He tore around on quads, roughhoused with his… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer’s newest public art unveiled

Red Deer’s latest “ghost” sculpture is a love letter to the game… Continue reading

Rielly helping to lead Leafs pushback against Bruins ahead of crucial Game 4

TORONTO — Morgan Rielly would head back to Vancouver early in his… Continue reading

Police confirm fleeing suspect shot dead by RCMP was Calgary woman’s killer

CALGARY — Police have confirmed that a fleeing suspect who was shot… Continue reading

Red Deerians celebrate 100 years of CNIB

Central Albertans celebrated a century of change for blind and partially sighted… Continue reading

33 abused Chihuahuas found in Maryland SUV

When the animal control investigator first got the call, he didn’t believe… Continue reading

Red Deer man who helped recover more than 400 stolen vehicles suffers heart attack

GoFundMe page has been launched to support him and his family

Melting Arctic sea ice may be behind endless winter: scientists

Scientists are suspecting that not enough winter in the Arctic has led… Continue reading

Canada’s oldest blood donor says busy mind, vitamins helped her give back

VANCOUVER — Beatrice Janyk credits vitamins, 12 hours of sleep a day,… Continue reading

Humboldt Broncos tribute concert aims to bring in 30 NHL players, alumni for event

Organizers behind a Saskatoon tribute concert to honour the Humboldt Broncos say… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month