Ontario Lands 2011 Western Police & Fire Games Worth $10 Million in Economic Impact
Returning the popular event to Ontario required the collaborative efforts of city officials, the Ontario Convention and Visitors Bureau, local police and, fire departments and organizations.
“Without the help of the mayor and city council, the games might have gone to another city,” said Bob Brown, Ontario Convention and Visitors Bureau President and CEO. “Their efforts and Director of Sales Amita Patel’s commitment and determination over two years attracted this substantial event to the city of Ontario.”
Bureau representatives, Mayor pro-Tem Jim Bowman and Council Member Alan Wapner presented the bid proposal for 2011 at the 2009 WSPFG in Santa Clarita, which was key to landing the contract, Brown said.
A total of sixty-four competitions, including boxing, karate, archery, bicycle races, and more, will take place during the nine-day event. The Ontario Convention Center will become an Olympic-style village. Officials estimate 6,000 competitors will flock to the city of Ontario for the games. A new component to the event is the Scott’s Firefighter Combat Challenge--touted as the “toughest two minutes in sports.” The games are open to the public and will feature street fairs, vendors and exhibitors.
“The first games were held in Ontario in 2000 and it was the largest and most successful of all,” said Mike Graham, Director of the California Police Athletic Federation, parent organization of the games. “We know Ontario officials, police and fire organizations are committed to making the games a success.”
Closing ceremonies of the Western States Police & Fire Games will kick off a coast-to-coast marathon commemorating the 10-year anniversary of September 11. The race will end at Yankee Stadium in New York City.
Mayor Leon and Council Member Sheila Mautz, along with Bureau representatives laid out the foundation for securing the bid in March 2009, after spending two days showing CPAF representatives the city’s amenities and sports venues.
Upland Fire Chief Mike Antonucci initiated the effort to bring the games to Ontario. Ontario Fire Department Captain Art Andres will assist with organizing the games. Their involvement in the two-year long campaign to return the games to Ontario was critical, Patel said.
Ontario Professional Firefighters Association President Ryan Lewis set up a nonprofit organization that advanced the $20,000 fee to bring the Police & Fire Games to Ontario. “Without that support, we would not have this event,” Patel said.
In 2000, the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department hosted the Western States Police & Fire Games at the Ontario Convention Center. The City of Ontario, the Ontario Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Ontario Fire and Police Departments will host the Western States Police & Fire Games in 2011.
“The team effort and collaboration by the mayor, council members and mayor pro tem along with the help, support and guidance of Amita Patel, Art Andres, Ryan Lewis and Chief Antonucci brought this event back to Ontario,” Brown said. “I am honored and proud to know that the city has such a dedicated team.”
About the Ontario Convention Center
The contemporary Ontario Convention Center boasts over 225,000 total square feet of exhibit, meeting and function space. An ideal Southern California venue for conventions, tradeshows, exhibits and meetings, the Convention Center provides a full range of technology services, including Wi-Fi, Internet, DS3 and video-conferencing capabilities. For more information about the Ontario Convention Center, visit www.ontariocc.com or call (909) 937-3000.
Headquartered in Philadelphia, SMG provides facility services to more than 300 venues in 41 states, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Asia, Canada and Europe, controls over 1.5 million entertainment seats worldwide and manages more than 10 million feet of exhibition space.