Iron Mountain/Kingsford, Mich. (WZMQ) – The Great 8 Winter Games are still on, and according to Julie Wonders, Director of Iron Mountain Community Schools, the committee met yesterday morning. “As of now everything is still a go for Saturday,” Wonders, who is also the Great 8 Games Organizing Committee Member, informed.
Grades 4-8 will be competing in various indoor and outdoor games. Some events will be individual like archery and chess, and some will be team sports like basketball, dodgeball, or volleyball. Winter Sports will include competitions in giant slalom skiing, snowboarding, cross country skiing and even snowshoeing.
The School Principal at North Elementary in Iron Mountain, Andy Mendini will be supervising the gym for the 6th grade girls’ volleyball tournaments. Mendini remembers when his own children competed in the games.
“I have a son and a daughter who through the years had participated in Great 8 Games. We always attended the opening ceremonies and it was an incredible experience. They always had a laser light show, music playing, they bring out the drumline. They usually have a special speaker, I know this year Nick Baumgartner is supposed to be there to speak,” he commented. Mendini says it’s a big event when they play the Olympic music and have the torch-bearer come out, and they light the torch in the center of the gym.
“My daughter played volleyball, my son did archery. Archery is a little more one-on-one, so I remember when my son competed he competed against kids from Kingsford, Florence, and Crystal Falls. So it was neat for them to get introduced to kids from other places too. I think it’s just a fun experience, the kids don’t always get to participate in a big event like that, and it’s their first taste of competition,” Mendini added.
It might be the 28th Great 8 Winter Games, but for the 4th graders at North Elementary, it will be their first time competing. Riley Proudfit is signed up for the bowling tournament, and he is looking forward to his family cheering him on.
“I have a lot of family members going there. I have like six of my grandmas and five of my grandpas. And then my uncles, and then my aunt and my mom and dad,” Riley informed.
Cabela Maddock will be representing North Elementary in the girls’ basketball tournament, and she says her team has been practicing for three years to compete.
“Like we have to practice at first, and then we play the tournament. And we see who wins at the end. We feel good because last time we won first place at Forest Park,” Cabela remarked.
Another 4th grade student at North Elementary has his sights set on a bullseye for the archery competitions. “You have to, like, put the arrow…there’s like a notch on the back, and then you put it on the string. And then there’s something you usually rest the arrow on. And then you pull back, and you let go when you want to shoot the arrow,” Hunter Anderson explained.
The Iron Mountain Police Department’s K9 Handler, Sergeant Adam Ray, who was at North Elementary School today speaking to some classrooms, also commented that he will be coaching dodgeball for Saturday’s Games.
The opening ceremony will begin on Saturday in the Kingsford Middle School Gym, where all 8 of the schools will gather to kick off the games. There will be a torch lighting, a parade of flags, and the Master of Ceremonies is Kingsford High School Principal David Lindbeck. That ceremony begins at 8:30 am, and the participating schools will compete at various locations around the community following the ceremony.
The schools with students participating in the games are Kingsford, Iron Mountain, Norway-Vulcan, North Dickinson, Forest Park, West Iron County, Florence, and Niagara.