McALLEN – For the second consecutive year more than 10,000 athletes will GATHERAROUND for the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation (TAAF) Summer Games of Texas.

The games will begin Thursday July 27 and conclude Sunday July 30. There will be 15 sporting events including archery, baseball, basketball, boxing, golf, pickleball, skateboarding and golf to name a few.

Friday July 28 will be the opening ceremonies at the McAllen Convention Center. The ceremony will feature the parade of athletes, similar to the Olympics. The Games of Texas will be competed not only throughout McAllen but also partnering cities Brownsville, Edinburg, Harlingen, Mission and Pharr.

Last year was the first time the Games of Texas was held this far south and also the first year it was an international event.

“The Games of Texas allows us to showcase everything the City of McAllen has to offer,” Parks and Recreation Director Mike Hernandez said. “I think it's something we've been investing in facilities like the convention center, our ball fields and a lot of parks.”

Hernandez said that locals see the Rio Grande Valley grow slowly but for someone that has not been to the region in 10 years or more it is an eyeopener.

Safety was a large part for the Games of Texas and Hernandez admits sometimes national media gives the region a negative label.

“Everybody who came here (last year) had a great time, they enjoyed the hospitality,” Hernandez said. “Everyone rolled out the red carpet for our athletes.”

Last summer 17 regions throughout the state competed in 16 different sports, a total of 69 cities, 7,316 athletes and more than 21,000 spectators. Forty-eight percent of visitors for the games stayed in hotels with the city limits.

To compete in the TAAF Games of Texas visit www.taaf.com for registration. Volunteers for the event can register at www.volunteersotx.org.